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Conversations with Joey Ye

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joey Ye.

Hi Joey, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
It was ten years ago I started my life as an artist trying to escape from the mundanity of my high school life in China which was so suppressive and competitive for me. My art practice was the only way to express my frustration coming from being forced to conform to strict orders of the institution. Then I majored in painting in my undergrad school experimenting with classicism, expressionism, and contemporary art style following the art historical lineage, which made me wonder what will be the next form of artistic media and style. After graduation, I went to Tokyo to study textile design seeking for expanding my pool of art practice. Through the two years in Japan, I found myself trying to explore more about experimental media for my works, so I am now pursuing my master’s degree in fine arts at the California Institute of the Arts.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Whether to continue making art or not has always been a difficult question for me. I often encounter my fantasy collides with reality such as commercial works coming before my fine art practice for making my living. Every time I feel that moment, I persuade myself that I have to keep making art that resonates with my artistic theme.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Most of my work concerns the relationship between one’s self-consciousness and society’s collective consciousness. I am exploring the potential for combining contemporary art with technology, psychology, and sociology to analyze people’s cognitive states under the collective unconsciousness. I am currently working with filmmaking, depicting my own experience regarding the cultural dilemma of Asian women. I am writing a synopsis based on personal thoughts, confusion, and frustration I experienced in China, Japan, and even here in the US with surreal visuals, which I would call “My Quarter-life Dictionary” reflecting my past 25 years. I think my artistic strength comes from my personal experience in diverse cultures, which is personal at the beginning but turns to be political as a result, even though I didn’t mean to.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Most of my previous works were done by myself, but I am now really open to collaborating with other fellow artists from diverse backgrounds, sharing fresh perspectives and ideas. Especially being influenced by the collaborative vibe of Calarts, I’m now collaborating with choreographers and dancers with a performance show as a costume designer, making costumes with interesting patterns produced by machine learning algorithms which is a new technique I learned in this creative art Institution. Both at work and in daily life, I am always strongly supported by my partner Junha, an artist with a strong will and talent who always encourage me to make art.

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