Toronto based visual artist and designer Kendra Yee graduated from OCADU with a Bachelor of Design specializing in illustration. She works with a variety of mediums and format including mixed-media paintings, ceramic sculptures, installation, comics and narrative works. She recreates the speculative worlds that exist within her head, combining artifacts found wandering through Toronto’s neighborhoods. She is premiering her exhibition Eight Point Five, November 17th from 6 PM at The Letter Bet.
Kendra says: This exhibition plays with space and media uses, showcased are; ceramics, paintings, digital works, and laser cutouts, all connected through similar characters but, presented contrasting formats. She spoke to us about her path into illustration, her favorite podcasts and how she manages her Instagram account.
Kendra Yee est une artiste visuel et designer de Toronto. Elle a complété un baccalauréat en design spécialisé en illustration. Elle travaille avec différents formats et médiums incluant la peinture, la céramique, les installations et la bande- dessinée. Elle recrée les mondes spéculatifs issus de son imagination,en combinant différents artefacts qu’elle trouve dans les quartiers de Toronto. Elle présente en première son exposition Eight Point Five, le 17 novembre à 18h à The Letter Bet.
Kendra dit : Pour cette exposition, j’ai joué avec l’espace et l’utilisation de différents médiums dont : des sculptures en céramique, des peintures, des œuvres digitales et des découpes laser. Les personnages représentés sont similaires, mais contrastent par leurs différents formats. Elle nous a parlé à propos de son parcours en illustration, ses podcasts préférés et la manière dont elle gère son compte Instagram.
Can you tell us about yourself and what you do as an artist?
My name is Kendra Yee and I practice out of Toronto. I do a little bit of everything from; sculpture/ installation, painting, ceramics, graphic design, illustration, and programming/ curation. I usually have an idea in my head, then let the idea dictate the media of the final outcome.
Art has always been apart of my life. From a very young age my parents blasted music throughout the house, and the living room table would be covered in markers, paper, and glitter glue. It has helped me heal and create stories, ones that can't be expressed through words and images were the only suitable option. It helps me connect to others and form communities, reaching to new audiences that I didn't think was possible.
Haha, it's so whacky! I was just talking to my sister the other day how Instagram wasn't a thing in high school, I think I got my first phone with a data plan in grade 12. The main thing is not to get too caught up in social media, but do take it seriously as a business tool. This is a easy and accessible platform to showcase your creativity / curatorial skills as an emerging artist and connect to other people who are interested in the same medias. Also don't be afraid to restart! Digital platforms are only temporary and it's important to keep evolving in the URL and IRL spaces.
Radiolab is my ultimate fave, Love + Radio (checkout The Living Room episode!!!! literally one of my biggest obsessions), and a good one for illustrators is Your Dreams, My Nightmares.
Ebay is a whole new heaven, there are so many beautiful ceramic pieces which I sometimes incorporate back into my own works. I'm also really fond of the free section in craigslist. Another place that's fun to go to is taking random images off the web and using google images and click on the "similar" images. These spaces are these weird, algorithmic feeds, that also just have the most amazing curation. I'm still an avid user of tumblr, as I find it's a better platform for creating mood boards and documenting iphone pictures. If there's a photo I really like while cruising the web, I'll upload it there to keep track of the information about the picture.
Just try an be yourself as much as possible (easier said then done, and I'm still learning to work through this as well). When you have a creative block, tight deadline, or worried about how a piece will turn out, it's usually the result of not trusting your gut. If you trust in yourself, the project will get done no matter what. Even though it might not be up to your expectations, take from that and learn to grow for the next piece of work. Learn from others and never stop learning about yourself.
Good question, let me know if any of you have the answer, haha. I think through independent projects such as; DIY shows, self organized shoots, online shops, are a great way to create currency that goes back into the artists pocket. It's also really important for others to attend these events. Even if you are not able to purchase anything, just showing up to the shows is making an effort.
Constantly changing! I'm obsessed with forming narratives, developing stories for these characters that I reproduce over and over again. I'm currently in the process of figuring out why they mean so much to me, and why do I continue to draw similar shapes and forms. It's an ever changing process, which is scary but exciting to see what comes with moving forward.
The title of the exhibition is Eight Point Five, which leads to two meanings; one being the size of paper I usually start off with for all my drawings, the other being my shoe size (but I never wear the right sized shoes, usually they are larger or smaller). The two concepts connects to the fact that we are always trying to fit into these spaces, documenting and categorizing our interactions to preserve a certain "size." This exhibition plays with space and media uses, showcased are; ceramics, paintings, digital works, and laser cutouts, all connected through similar characters but, presented contrasting formats. Although they started on one size of paper, they've turned into radically different works. Each of the characters serves as strangers, wearing different shoe sizes, but they've all walked on a similar path.