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OPEN DOOR CONVERSATION WITH JOSEPHINE YEH

interview by Agnieszka Wisniewska 

photos from Josephine Yeh

“When I draw someone, I’m very involved with them – it’s almost like falling in love with that person for a brief moment”.

“I do what I feel like doing, and I think my work so far has been very detailed – in East Asia you see a lot of simple works, black-and-white, lots of blank spaces. I think that’s completely opposite to what I’ve been doing. I don’t try to deliberately avoid it, but it’s just not my style. I don’t think I was tied to any location, or any culture. I don’t know where my style came from; I would like to know that too”.

“When I started studying psychology my main goal was to understand more about mental illnesses and try to portray them in a more mainstream, more light-hearted way. I feel that a lot of people still see it as a taboo, something to avoid.

However, my study is not all about these disorders; when I graduate, I want to do more research on the topic and meet people who could describe their experiences to me. I would like to help them put it on paper. It’d still be my interpretation, but I feel that starting and having a conversation is important”.

“I think I’ve always been interested in art, the different forms of art. It’s a nice skill to develop. I was doodling a lot as a kid, although that was not very serious. I get inspired a lot by artists online – I saw their illustrations and designs, and I wanted to do something similar. I started to draw people since they are the hardest to draw; if I could do that, I should be alright with other stuff. I’m naturally very attracted to human features as well”.

“I did a self portrait once or twice; I regretted it. You have to like yourself a lot, and when I draw myself, I see all the details of my face that I don’t like. People have been telling me about it, but I don’t think I’m comfortable with it now. When I draw someone, I’m very involved with them – it’s almost like falling in love with that person for a brief moment. In a self-portrait, it feels kind of awkward. Everyone has things they’re not comfortable sharing. Maybe I’ll try it when I’m older”.

“I used to (and still do) draw a lot of women. I like to look at and play around people’s features. When I see someone pretty or interesting I feel that I want to put them on paper. I’ve been trying different themes lately, notably nature – I draw more plants and animals. I’ve tried to combine nature and humans. Eventually, I would also like to draw more daily-life settings and scenes, at home, in the kitchen and so on. I would like to move forward from more still life, environmental stuff and do more scenes. That’s my long-term goal, but for now I’m concentrating on objects”.

“For the past three years I’ve been tracking my progress very closely. When I went to university, I told myself that if I want to dive into art I need to do it seriously. If I could do it together with my studies, I should be able to pull it off afterwards. I started with black-and-white works, and in my second year I took a huge dip into colours. I hated it, but now I’m more at peace with it. I’m looking for different patterns and themes, but it’s another leap out of my comfort zone, and I procrastinate a bit. After I graduate, I would like to do more commissions – it’s a good practice and builds my portfolio. Focus on art much more in the upcoming year and do much more. If nothing works out, I’ll do art therapy. Art helped me search for myself and build confidence; it’s like soul-searching”.

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