You have self-described your art as “a ticket to the absurd circus of innocence, where the jugglers futilely attempt to jungle the torches of reason, and acrobats fail in their abilities of logical reasoning. My characters and stories embody childrens’ dreams and hopes, while our world looks down on them, laughs, and says, ‘What nonsense!’”
This tension between placing innocence and naivety in opposition to the everyday, rational world: how did you decide that this is the theme that you wanted your work to encompass? Does it come from personal experience? What kind of encouragement do you hope your art can give?
There is a feeling that the world of innocence and beauty (partly childlike and partly elegant) may seem somewhat foolish. However, it represents a contrast to the adult world where endless crises, conflicts, and wars take place. Perhaps it's self-deception, but lately, I have a strong desire to hide, to escape to a blanket fort where I can comfortably and securely continue to be silly. And, it seems, I want to keep playing games as well.
Engaging in art is my way of escaping seriousness and a harsh reality. It's a form of meditation for me. Art seems to transport me back to childhood when the world was simple and vibrant, more friendly than hostile.
I don't know what kind of support my art can provide to people; I can only hope that my paintings can give someone a reason to smile.
Many of your human figures possess exaggerated limbs and body features. How do you use this stylistic choice to express a universal grace as well as feelings of naivety?
I think the exaggerated body parts of my characters are, of course, a stylistic nod to the cartoons of the 1950-70s.
In principle, yes! I find this style to be quite graceful, fluid, and, at the same time, with a good sense of humor. I've always been attracted to the grace of the human body, but apparently, I can't do without a touch of grotesque interpretation. I don't know why, but there's always a desire to add a pinch of humor. You can't walk around with a serious face all the time.
Whether it’s the blush on cheeks, painted fingernails, or collars on animals, pops of red feature prominently on a majority of your artworks. Does the color red have any particular significance or meaning to you?
The red color expresses a zest for life, love, sensuality, and joy.
How has your past roles as a painting restorer, graphic designer, and illustrator impact your art practice? You’ve decided to become a full-time artist in 2017. After many years of playing different roles within the art field, what was the deciding factor for this ultimate career change?
I guess my past work as a restorer and illustrator significantly influences my current creative endeavors. At some point, I had the desire to immerse myself in the process of pure creativity, where I could express myself without any limitations. It just seems hard to work within a set framework, and I prefer to fully escape into my own imaginative world. Perhaps my entire creative journey is a struggle against routine.
Last great piece of media (show/book/movie/music/etc.)?
I found Yuval Noah Harari and his anthropological research, along with his speculative visions of humanity's future, very intriguing. Anything related to the study of humanity and the development of philosophical thought as a shared human consciousness is fascinating. It's always interesting to explore ourselves as a species.
But I also enjoy watching cartoons with quirky humor. For instance, I remain a loyal fan of "Futurama" and always look forward to new seasons.
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Yana’s Instagram: @yana.medow
Interview by Tiffany Kang.