We had the good fortune of connecting with Qianwen Yu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Qianwen, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I see risk in my life as an inspiration to my art works. ‘The Symphony Behind the Fabric’ is a work I started during quarantine in early 2020. As a weaver who needs a loom a weave, I have lost access to a lot of essential weaving equipment at school during the months of quarantine. Given the limitations on weaving facilities and current situation of having to deal with computer and mobile devices, I began to reconsider the interaction of humans and technology and the relationship between weaving and digital technology. Is it possible to integrate digital technology into traditional crafts? Is it feasible to weave without a loom? What is the relationship between hand and screen? I was inspired during the pandemic to replace the loom with my computer. The sound has become the weaving thread and shuttle, and the video has turned into the “woven cloth.” This arrangement brought out the connection between sound and weaving.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work on many different mediums, like animation, weaving, drawing, and designing. Combining traditional techniques, such as weaving and hand-drawing with modern ones, I take experiments from 20th century Modernism in animation, weaving, sound, and architecture and reimagines them in the contemporary moving-image arena. My artwork combines different human sensory dimensions, such as touch, vision, and acoustics, and try to blur the boundaries between different fields of weaving art, animation, film, sound, and space.
I have been drawing since I was really young, and I always have a strong curiosity about the unknown. I like to explore new areas of art and new cities. I went to different cities and countries for my high school, college and graduate study. My dad is an architect who influenced me a lot when I was pretty young, I studied in Environmental Design and Architecture design in my college, but the study of architectural design did not meet my expectations, that there are too many rules and restrictions in urban architectural design in reality. Gradually, I began to consider turning to more creative illustrations and short animations. So I went to School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study animation and art and see what is art looks like in another country. I spent my first year in SAIC to explore what I am really interested in, and I made so many experiments with different art disciplinary in this two-year study, and finally found out something which I really into. In my opinion, countless experiments have brought more possibilities and fun to my work, which motivated my continuous exploration.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I personally like the city a lot. It is not as rushed and crowded as New York. People can struggle and enjoy life here. The city is also a great city for art and music, it has many great galleries and museums where you could spend your weekends, If I have friends come visit I would definitely want to show them around these areas. I went to college in Shanghai for four years. Some parts of the city are very similar to Shanghai. They are both suitable for the fast-paced life of young people and the leisure life of the elderly. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I feel so grateful to my family for their support of my artistic career. My parents have been always supportive of my decision to be an artist or animator or illustrator, although my father always hoping that I could become an architect like he did, but he chose to encourage me to do the thing that I love in the end. I also have a twin sister who is an amazing animator and illustrator, and some friends who are in the art field that we always support each other.
I also really appreciate some of the professors in my grad school, Nelly Agassi, John Paul, Chris Sullivan, Peter Burr, Frederic Moffet, and Bruce Jenkins, they are all great artists and educators and I will never forget the time spent in SAIC
BW one image credit: Sage Mtahtah