Scrolling through Yanni's Instagram feed, it's easy to marvel at the beautiful collage artworks he has created. Among them is Structural Anxieties, a response to Wee Kong Chai's Working Class Family (1963) that was featured as part of National Gallery Singapore's Gallery Light Up. Curious to find out what he is doing after graduating from SOTA and his artistic inspirations, we caught up with our Class of 2014 Visual Arts alumnus over email.
What did you pursue after SOTA? What motivated you to pursue this pathway?
SOTA left me with the impression that I didn't have to box myself up so early. I allowed myself to explore what I was interested in, with the hopes of eventually homing in on something I could see myself pursuing for some time. Going to Yale-NUS was a natural choice, as I was very intrigued by the idea of studying the liberal arts and the international college experience right at home in Singapore.
Having explored majoring in Psychology, Math and Computer Science, and Anthropology, I eventually decided to pursue the one thing that made me enrol in SOTA - Art. To this day, I feel I made the right choice studying a broad range of courses that gave me a strong foundation to pursue art. My parents have always been supportive of my endeavours; they believe that success usually comes to those who follow their heart. I guess one challenge in pursuing this path would be to ignore the naysayers and remember that it is your life to live.
Tell us a little about your artworks. What inspires you?
The collage work you see on Instagram is inspired by the surrealist movement that founded its practice on Freud's psychoanalysis - particularly, the concept of automatism, where the individual is guided by the subconscious as opposed to the conscious mind. I found that idea really interesting and decided to challenge myself to create a collage every day for a few months. Each time I would simply look at different images and see if there was a way to combine them in an interesting way without thinking too much (hence the subconscious bit). It was a daily ritual that allowed me a fixed routine of thinking creatively while improving my photo editing skills. Poetry seems to inspire me a lot nowadays.
What are your plans for the future?
I feel very fortunate to be able to work with clients, from Grammy-winning musicians to a major gaming company. I am excited to take my art further to explore what other forms it can take. I hope to be able to work with fashion labels and sportswear companies someday too. In general, I aim to improve my skills and knowledge about the medium and be open to the many possibilities there are.
Do you have any advice for your juniors at SOTA?
Get into the habit of taking risks and learning from failure. Be unapologetically you, there's enough of 'everybody else' out there already.
Did you know?
Yanni is a visual artist with a huge love for music! "I love to listen to all types of music while making my stuff and belt out all the lyrics unapologetically. It's a crucial part of my creative process."
Check out Yanni's works on Instagram @yawnyvisuals! Yanni was also featured on Time Out Singapore. Read it HERE.
Photos courtesy of Yanni Chia