New York has become an oasis for the most interesting artists. They make the experience of living in this city special because of how we come to perceive the world around us. It is incredibly important to know about these artists and New York Art Life is committed to introducing you to the greatest artists in our time, creating in this city. Today, we want our readers to learn about how some artists combine different mediums to create exceptional work We are so excited to speak to Yan Wang, printmaker and animator based in Brooklyn, New York.
NY Art Life: Hi! We are so delighted that you’re here and that you will be sharing your experiences with us.
Yan Wang: Thank you so much, I’m so excited as well. It’s always great to share my work with others and tell them about how these things happen.
NY Art Life: Yes. Definitely! To begin, I wanted to congratulate you on your amazing work. I was stunned by your animated short film, The Girls. It is so special and thought-provoking. It’s incredible to see the way you have brought one medium next to another and created something so profound. How hard was it to use your prints as frames for an animation?
Yan Wang: You’re so kind! That animation means a lot to me. It wasn’t easy to do, I’ll be honest. But it was worth every second of the way. Composing animated work with still prints on paper asked for exceptional patience, a thinking process that touches on both mediums I used, and allows me to stay open throughout the process. It has also opened up the narrations I’ve been craving to discuss, which is related to the female identity and my mother culture. I’m sure this process will influence my practice in the future. The post-production for me is also an opportunity to learn skills I was not trained for.
NY Art life: That is amazing, I love the way you reflected on your own work. You go through many lengths to create these beautiful pieces. What was an important lesson you’ve learned while practicing?
Yan Wang: When I was working on a piece for my thesis, I had screen-printed on a big piece of mirror which was almost two meters tall. This would be put into my solo show, and I was so excited and thrilled about it, but it was accidentally broken by my roommate just a week before the big event. It was bitter, to see it happen. But artworks, in the end, can only be recycled sometimes.
NY Art Life: Wow, that must have been so harsh to you.
Yan Wang: It was! It made me hold on to my work differently and more carefully.
NY Art Life: But speaking of shows and exhibitions, you’ve been part of so many amazing things here in New York and in other states as well. How does it feel to have so much success in the arts?
Yan Wang: Thank you, it means a lot. It’s unbelievable how much can change when you have faith in your work and you continue to do it every day. When my work was included in the May Salon Show at Greenpoint Gallery, I remember taking a moment and feeling grateful for all the times I believed in myself and did not give up. I imagined that is what my fellow artists from the group exhibition must have felt too.
NY Art Life: That is truly beautiful. I loved many of your shows; Abstract is Abstract, Pin-up at :iidrr, and Brilliance by Art Fluent. These are all amazing exhibitions. Amazing work. Which one of these exhibitions stood out to you the most?
Yan Wang: I’m so grateful for your support. I must say, each opening was close to my heart, I can’t decide just one. Collectively, all of my work that was showcased in Brooklyn and Manhattan was special and unbelievable. I was also in love with my solo exhibitions, On Being Woman, which was showcased and screened at Fox building gallery space, as well as A Lump of the Earth, which was exhibited at Meyerhoff Piano Gallery. Both solo exhibitions were in Baltimore, Maryland.
NY Art Life: Yes, those shows were exceptional and had an amazing turnout. Truly, congratulations!
Yan Wang: Thank you, thank you!
NY Art Life: I would love to know about something most people don’t know about your practice.
Yan Wang: Oh yes, there is something I’d love to share. There was a gap year that I took in 2021, moving back to Shanghai and trying to settle into a printmaking facility. That was something I really wanted to do back then. I was working in two different presses and learning to tattoo as well. It was intense. Then I was preparing to move to New York City after college, again, trying to find a place to print and make physical bodies of work. It was really difficult, and I know many artists go through the same thing. Shifting through studio spaces is a constant and difficult episode in craft-based artists’ lives that is rarely discussed.
NY Art Life: Wow. That is very hard to deal with. I do agree, I think more people should be talking about this. But you’ve become an integral part of New York City. What you create and give to New Yorkers has become a constant stream of inspiration and many people look up to you now.
Yan Wang: Thank you so much, I am truly grateful for it. Their support helps me continue and look up for more ideas, more things that need to be said through the power of printmaking.
NY Art Life: Lovely, I love how you put that into words. I would like to end this interview with you sharing how you feel about New York City, and what your experience has been living and creating here.
Yan Wang: It has been something I’ve never experienced before. I’m eternally grateful. I believe that carrying down the street voice in my art, New York has whispered to me: Here, you can be heard.