Q & A (LL: Luchia Lee-Howell YHL: Yen-Hua Lee)
LL: The concept of ocean and boat for you-is it related to the elements used in your works? Why is the family so strong in this series?
YHL: What is life? What are we pursuing? What is home? What is memory? I illuminate these concepts though artistic dialogues. Through the process of creation, I gradually understand more. The great mysteries of birth and death are located at home as well as growth and well-being. Home has a physical manifestation, but its mental and emotional dimension is what I try to address in my art.
[Image above: Flowing river, ballpoint pen ink on book page,
7 1/2 x 10 in, 2014~2019, Courtesy of the artist ]
I experience the ocean as a kind of homesickness and longing for my hometown, because Taiwan is an island. I visit other countries to make art, and find myself also facing the sea. The movement of ships - their coming and goings, the ups and downs of the ocean - reminds me of distance and makes home all the more precious.
LL: Which historical masterpiece or genre and time have had the greatest influence on you?
YHL: I am deeply influenced by both the East and the West. Since I was young, I have studied Eastern culture, especially Chinese literature, calligraphy and painting. I love Zen painting. I use simple forms to talk to nature in my life, and use artistic language to express nature to people’s hearts. As to artists from
the West, I especially study Matisse, how to maximize the power of the image to show the shape and maximize the energy of the image. I also like the Surreal school. I often rely on my subconscious mind and creative techniques in my works
LL.Have black images, paper-cutting, or primitive art affected you?
YHL: I have loved Chinese calligraphy since I was young, and I like to use original mural totems to explore aboriginal culture.
Chinese calligraphy has enlightened me as to how to abstract text. When I create, I use the precepts of calligraphy in my study of how to express my views on people and things in my life.
When I was studying in Taiwan, I often went to aboriginal tribes all over Taiwan to explore culture and rituals. I was very interested in native totems. Inspired by their culture, I used simplified totems to describe my unique culture.
(To read the Chinese version click here)