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Rising Stars: Meet Yuan Tang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yuan Tang.

Hi Yuan, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I found my passion for art since I was a little kid, but growing up in China with very traditional Asian parents that my dream to become an artist seems a different journey. Luckily, after years of effort of communication and passion for art, I’m finally landed in the US attended a photo & media program at MICA. After I received my MFA I started making visual art at the same time became a professional photographer and photo editor. My artworks are focus on the female perspective, self-identity, and sexual psychology. Those topics are still very taboo in China, especially people who would freak out if an Asian woman starts to share her sexual option publicly. I hope my ongoing works bring challenges to some stereotype thoughts. On another hand, I also specialize in portrait, food, architect, fashion, and e-commerce photography. My commercial style is clean, edge, and elegant. I was able to travel between LA and NYC for works and projects. Currently, I am based in New York City mainly because of the pandemic. I cannot wait to back to Westcoast for more exciting new adventures soon!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all. My art journey was not been support by my family at the beginning. We have been through a lot of conflicts, arguments, and understandings. However, I’m deeply grateful for my parents nowadays. If it were not for their challenges at the time, I might not be who I am now, nor would I stick to my ideals to live in another country. Now they are very supportive of my interests and career. But as foreign workers, we have to face the challenges of visas, language and cultural barriers, and all kinds of discrimination. I still remember my first part-time photographer job, and the client inadvertently expressed doubts about my communication skills during the interview. So everyone has different challenges. I am very happy that I have overcome many difficulties today and become a more professional and confident self.

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?
Most of my artworks revolve around female themes, ranging from women’s depression, their own hair, external anxiety, and social cognition. I’m currently working on a photography project called “Vague”. I use a medium format camera twin lens to capture her idea. Each photo is produced like a small intimate ceremony. I interviewed other young Chinese women when I engaged in New York City. Those wonderful women are all foreigners to this country, also far away from their homeland and families who must face isolation, homesickness, language barrels and face the culture shock of a chaotic in an unrelated city, among many other challenges. Asian women have been loved, fascinated, judged, labeled, discriminated against, misunderstand, and underestimated… Nevertheless, they still making voices in different areas want to be discovered. They choose to be temporarily or permanently separated from their native place so that they can entirely accept themselves and comply with their urges and needs. There are also a series of food receipt videos with the women’s emotion context I’m currently working on.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
My favorite childhood memory was my dad taught me how to swim in a river near my childhood hometown, and my mom would get ice cream waited for us nearby the shore. Nowadays, the river has almost gone because of pollution and construction, and the city already changed a lot that I barely can recognize anymore.

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