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Conversations with Yueying Wang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yueying Wang.

Hi Yueying, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Born in a traditional Chinese family, I grew up under the family’s expectation to achieve academic success. Back in school, I often admired those problem students who were not concerned with such. I saw a possible better self in them, who can follow the guts and refuse others’ scripts, just like an artist. From age 12 to 18, I am a good student but also a failed rebel.

The circle became smaller after I entered university. I neither met cool people nor did I enjoy Landscape Architecture, the major my mom chose for me—it does not bridge me and nature as it sounds. Once during a class field trip, I borrowed a bike from a villager on a whim and headed into the unknown surroundings alone. I did not know what I was searching for at that moment but I saw red dragonflies over the fields and that scene never left my mind. Later on, I realized my call is to have my own narrative beyond design, weaving my adventurous experience into the landscape I behold—I want to make my own art. Just one year before graduation, I decided to reset my life. Luckily I was accepted by RISD as a transfer to the photography department and it was 2017 that I came to the United States for the first time. The new media helps me rediscover myself and connect me to the new environment and life. At the age of 22, I became someone lost-and-found.

Last year I traveled around the United States on a train for my thesis project On the Edge of Elapsing. Beholding the landscape fleeting by the window, I move across the land from snow-covered mid-west to the sunbathed seashore, just like going through my bittersweet past.

I am learning more about myself by traveling and making new work.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When I decided to pursue art by dropping schoolwork, no one stood by me but my grandmother. Feeling alone goes with most of my life, no matter within or without a group. My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten, which made me feel different from other children for a long time. Before knowing myself and following my passion, it was hard to really enjoy the aloneness.

Also adjusting myself to the new language and culture is not easy, but it pushes me to explore my photographic language to deliver my thoughts and connect to other people.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I chose to pursue my autobiographical reality through the use of photographic techniques and imagery. Absorbing the changing scenery of daily life, I document my artistic rhetoric through a traveler’s lens. With the snapshots of my life, my childhood, and my travels, I share my questions about time, love, and the meaning of life.

I combine the use of technology like drones, scanners, projectors with traditional printmaking techniques into my process, layering manipulated imagery atop traditional photos.

I am proud of my adventurous spirit and my rail journeys around the States.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
People take risks to change the status quo. Every change in life is more or less risk-taking, depending on the individual’s ability and resources. However, it always involves a positive attitude or an experimental spirit towards the unknown, in opposition to staying in one’s comfort zone.

Good artists always challenge themselves to be creative, which also can be understood as taking risks. For a painter, color choosing might be risk-taking. For me as a photographer, timing is the most risk-taking part. I can lose an excellent photograph because of picking up the camera at the wrong moment, but I can also get a surprising one that I never expected for the same reason.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

All photos by Yueying Erin Wang

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