Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Artist of The Week

Lawrence Yang

The concept that the mind at times is chaotic can be difficult to admit to or understand. Many people like to feel as though they control their thoughts and actions, but in reality the mind ultimately decides what we create and when. Simple tasks are easy to control, but stand in front of a blank canvas or stare at an empty word document and that control shifts. Your minds races, or possibly stands completely still. It is this randomness or chaos that the artist must rein in and transfer to the canvas, or as Chicago native and San Francisco resident Lawrence Yang puts it, "creating order out of chaos".

Lawrence Yang is relatively new to the scene, but has already created many beautiful pieces. He has participated in two exhibits and is a special contributor with the Robots and Monsters charitable Menagerie. His work combines themes from both Asian culture and graffiti art, and the results are incredible.
Recently, Lawrence took some time out to answer a few of our questions.

Orange Alert (OA): How did your time in Chicago affect you as artist? What were you able to take away from your time there?
Lawrence Yang (LY): I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago -- not really the most inspirational of places for an artist. But that in itself was a mixed blessing, as it gave me more time inside my head to come up with crazy ideas and things to try out. I would say that the midwest is where I laid the foundation for my style, but most of my artistic growth happened once I moved here to San Francisco.

OA: You define your style as containing "graffiti and Asian influences". How did these two typically separate genres come together as your influences? When you say your artwork is "concerned with creating order out of chaos" does graffiti represent the chaos?
LY: The Asian influences come directly from my heritage -- I have gone back to Taiwan and China every year or every other year all my life, and the exposure to Chinese culture has definitely influenced my artwork. The graffiti influence comes out of my own interest in the urban art scene -- I don't tag myself, but one can't walk around the city (whether it's Chicago or San Francisco) without being exposed to it. Taken together, one finds certain overlaps in the two styles, and when spun a certain way, they don't seem that different at all. "Creating order out of chaos" refers more to my state of mind while I am creating art -- sometimes it feels like I'm sweeping my skull out and figuring out what patterns can be created with the resulting mess.

OA: I have come to notice a few reoccurring colors (pink, purple, mint green) in your work. Do you work with a set color palette?
LY: Hmm. . . I don't usually come to a piece with a set color in mind -- but I would say there are colors that i gravitate towards. Again, it mostly has to do with my mood and the idea I have.

OA: The cover of Departure looks great, how did you choose which pieces would be included the finished product?
LY: The pieces I included in Departure are predominantly the ones I include in my "zen-scape" series. Mostly watercolor, marker and ink pieces that incorporate my little characters. There's a small sampling of some of my digital work interspersed throughout the book as well -- where it makes sense.

OA: I really like the two shirts that you have created, What is your opinion of artists that manufacture art on magnets, laptop cover, shirts, shoes, etc? Does this lessen the quality of the original work or does it make it more lasting?
LY: Thanks! I'm glad you like the shirts -- I'll probably be adding some more designs to choose from very soon. As far as how I view artists that manufacture art on shirts, mugs, magnets, etc. . . it's really up to the artists themselves, right? If their chosen media is a shirt as opposed to a canvas, then that's cool. If it's a question about the sacredness of fine art compared to the commercialization of design. . . it's the same answer. The artist chooses whether they want to use their art as a vehicle for self expression, or a method for making money. I don't know if there's a right answer, but I will say this: There is something undeniably gratifying about creating a piece of art that is an expression of myself, and finding that other people enjoy it so much that they would like a copy for themselves.

OA: What's next for Lawrence Yang?
LY: Lots! As I said before, I'll be adding more shirt designs to my site. People have been asking for prints, so those will be added soon as well (I'm still testing out different printers to see what works the best). I'm also involved in a charity art project at Otherwise, just creating more art every day =).

Bonus Questions:
Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?LY: Ha, definitely yes for coffee. I am partial to soy lattes -- being one of those unfortunate people who cannot handle too much dairy. Don't really have a favorite spot though. As long as there's a good friend or a good book to keep me company, I'm fine.

OA: What type of music do you enjoy listening to and who are some of your favorites?
LY: Trip hop, rock, classical, jazz -- it really depends on my mood. Some favorites would be Zero 7, Ringside, Flaming lips, The Killers, Rachmaninoff, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner.

For more information on Lawrence Yang, please visit his website or check out his blog.


sweet b said...

so when can we start buying your weevils? :) keep it up Lar, can't wait to see more of your stuff! heart,bridge.

Kitty Kitty said...

Awesome. Really fantastic work! :) Keep it up!!