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Animation (MA)

Yaya (丫丫 wang)

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.

Tofu dived into the hot-pot and invited their demon sitting for tea.

Beyond explorations of the gender binary I’ve been interested in challenging the dual oppositions in many other aspect of my work: the in-betweenness created by my mixed-culture, how I identify myself when having to chose between being either a technical animator or an experimental one. I’ve been recently working on a project about grief and the multidimensionality of it. In my film I wrote “grief is not of one color but all of them”. In mandarin, which I’m not completely fluent in, I could only translate "grief" into “悲悼” which is the mourning felt after the loss of a loved one (through death),or “悲伤” meaning sorrow. Grief is to me made of such a multitude of feelings that i realized it didn’t make sense to oppose it to joy by making it only about feeling sorrow. They do not interrupt each other’s cycle, just like they do not need to conceal each other in order to both be part of grieving. Just like how my more masculine side and my feminine side can both be written all over me and weave me into a network of honesty with my whole being.

As a produce of immigration, I connect back to my very early education that there is a very strong force of preservation rooted in me, and too often it is contradicting my very nature of wanting to extend and express myself to the fullest. A significant part of my practice and inspirations comes from translating texts and words between Mandarin, French and English. In my translating process with Mandarin I've come to witness that this culture and its language places significant importance on notions of shame versus success, and that there might be a lack of specific words or expressions that directly address healing internally, especially regarding shame and guild. You hardly ever recover from failure or a shameful event, from a perspective of language sometimes. The fear of failure coupled with the education of a second-generation of immigrant, there is a lot that brings us to shrink down, like Ocean Vuong said, to work and fade away and just put a meal on the table.

I relearned two years ago how to draw when I started learning how to dance, shamelessly and with no knowledge of how I am supposed to dance. This has reconnected with the feeling of guts that is very much why I started appreciating drawing in the first place. There is a tenderness in the will to create that I seek to protect and explore, and there may not be a better way to do something and fill ourselves with agency than to become an artist.

'Multidisciplinary' in my artistic practice has allowed me to outgrow many patterns and the cycle of burnouts I was trapped in for many years. I am now not only drawing taking with me on my journey but letting it weave into the network of many more diverse creative projects to come.

In the near future I would like to explore being a dancer and performer, as well as write more.

Into the next tide (trailer)A castaway, Tofu, is found on the shore by a group of musician that comes in to play everyday. They greet the newcomer to join their band. Meanwhile, at the other side of sea, something is calling Tofu in reminiscence of a past storm.
soapclayinkpebblesmade with soap mixed with ink and seasalt clay animation + animated pebbles 2D on tvpaint


2D (digital), clay dolls animation, soap/ink, things I've gathered on the shore
Birth of a happy dancing dog watercolors, inks, on 60X29 sheets of rice paper
making them feels like dumplings
clay dolls
clay dolls
clay animation making process
clay creatures
sea things
pastels, sea glass, pebbles and weaving
dumplings dolls
tofu clay
clay background
clay dumplings
I want the sea to wash away 'all of my grief'


Airdrying clay
Grief in Tofu's eyes: meeting again with a missing part of them
Research drawing for "Into the next tide"'I tolerated the freezing of springs in June tolerated the immortality of life tolerated my hesitation towards the world I did not tolerate missing you I forgot I am on a despairing island, deserted forgot tears only cure in vain forgot the silent slogans of a hundred years I did not forget you I want a rounder and better moon want unknown adventures want to sing my own praise I want you'
river meeting sea in Manorbier
river meeting sea
collecting pebbles
collecting pebbles
a hug in the plumerias - inks on rice paper
thank you!