hello I'm Yaya!
I am a genderfluid and nonbinary French multidisciplinary artist of Chinese descendancy, and am currently residing in London.
My artistic journey began with a focus on animation (2D, stop motion) where storytelling played a central role in the films I made. However, over the past two years, I have been exploring more non-narrative methods of conveying my ideas, and in my creative process have embraced a more improvisational and intuition-led approach. My primary aim today is to find playful ways to outgrow the limitations imposed by my conventional artistic education, and to outgrow and heal from the self-diminishing tendencies often experienced by children of immigrant backgrounds. As I'm writing this I am very well aware that I'm only at the beginning of my wholehearted artistic journey of pursuing how I want to make films, and beyond!
I work with a full-on rainbowy palette of different mediums, mainly water based paints that I like to mix around with inks, resins, soap, glues and pencil, on various type of textured paper (mostly rice papers). This year I have been also playing a ton with clay, and made series of dolls meant to be used in a replacement animation kind of stop-motion. I love the materiality of clay that gives it a memory quality, very much like seashells and pebbles found on seaside. My work is a lot about memories and longing which is why I love working with a lot of textures and handmade things.
Another medium I found myself having a lot of affinity with is writing, and the use of verbal language in my work. Especially when working with longing, researching first its representation through language made me uncover the different temporalities in which longing can be found. In every project I've done I've always liked to find ways to cover all present, past and future, and playing with words is often a first step in guiding me into that.
My graduation project is an animated film about a castaway being washed ashore, getting in a rock band, while also being called by something left upon the sea. It is a film about both grieving and moving on, and was born from the idea of making a musical about queerness and being nonbinary. It is the first film I've ever made without following a proper storyboard, and its 2D animation is the fruit of pure improvisation and playing in straight ahead animating. The making of this film to takes part in a year of endless notes and thoughts about grief and the difficulty of making new connections, when being held back by the past. The straight-ahead animating for me was a way to step-by-step line-by-line move on and go forward through my journey of connecting again.