Q: Where are you from, and how did you get here?
A: I am from China. I got here by airplane.
Q: Do you have any siblings? How does your family feel about you going to art school?
A: I have no sibling. Indeed, My name ‘Weiyi’ means ‘the only girl’ in Chinese. Almost all my family members agree with my choice EXCEPT my father. He considers artists to be poor craftsmen.
We argued about this issue before I went to Shanghai to begin my undergraduate year as a graphic design student. I won.
Q: What cartoons did you watch growing up?
A: Lots of Japanese cartoons. I am a Manga fan; I am fascinated by Taiyo Matsumoto’s work especially.
Q: What music do you listen to when making work?
A: Some pieces from Chinese Kung-fu movies, Sakamoto Ryuichi and Biork!
Q: What are some of your indulgences?
A: Doing something meaningless.
Q: What are you trying to do with your art now?
A: I am always trying to add some fantasy into super normal things.
Q: You make some of your work entirely using tools that come with Mac’s iLife, like Photo Booth and Garage Band, but then manipulate the output until it is as nuanced as something from a more sophisticated application. Is this intentional?
A: I hate Adobe! But I have to work with Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, and Aftereffects. These design software applications are always trying to take control of a designer’s mind, because they are ‘convenient.’ I use something like iLife because it is simple. I am not good at computer software. But I don’t mind. It is more difficult for a designer to be a software idiot than a soft ware expert today.
Q: What shapes get you most excited?
A: I love very tiny things.
Q: Your videos and illustrations often feature handcrafts, like sewn felt or little paper objects. What is the intention behind putting handworks in digitally dominated forms?
A: My favorite animation master is Jan Svankmajer. There are some extraordinarily astonishing handcrafts in his movies. I love handcrafts because it is something super normal, something daily. The most normal things always have the strongest power.
Q: Your choice of themes, from turning a friend into a paper doll to photographing a tiny plastic deer, are awfully cute. Can you comment on cuteness?
A: Cuteness is a part of my work. Cuteness is powerful when used for presenting some awful things.
Q: How does being Asian, or female and Asian, effect your work? Do you experience the anxiety of influence?
A: As a Chinese, I consider my family one of the most important parts of my life. And as a female, I always pay close attention to those tiny, subtle, unattractive things and try to find beauty in them.