Taiwanese-born, NYC-based artist John Yuyi is revolutionising the way we use everyday items by turning Reebok shoelaces into iPhone chargers and instant noodles into nose rings
Instant noodles as face jewellery, Reebok shoelaces as Apple iPhone chargers and temporary Twitter face tattoos are just some of the manifestations of Taiwanese-born, NYC-based artist John Yuyi’s imagination. Citing the internet as her biggest inspiration, she explains, “I always get ideas about objects in daily life... I don't sit down and choose the ideas, they all just come up in my head.”
After studying Fashion Design in Taipei, Yuyi left her home country for NYC, and a three month spell in the city began with an internship at Jason Wu before evolving into a permanent move when she styled for Vogue and exhibited at the Bowery’s Open Gallery Space, and is now planning a show curated by Art Baby’s Grace Miceli in Alt Space called Why Didn’t You Like My Pic?
“I think there’s no young art culture (in Taipei),” she tells us. “If there is, it must be very small and not very international, but there are still a lot of talented people and people I admire in Taiwan. The thing is, they’re not constantly doing new work or not highly exposed on the internet. Also, the environment is not very friendly to young people as our salary is low so some young people want to do creative stuff but they don’t have money to live.”
Thanks to the ease of online communication, we’re not limited to merely collaborating with those around us anymore – something Yuyi has picked up on. FACE POST is the artist’s three-part series and a nod to social media via her aforementioned, now-signature transfer stickers. The stickers are reminiscent of the superhero tattoos you’d get in those packets of “cigarette” sweets, applied with a modest dunk of water but maintained the staying power of super-glue – it’s this use of familiar objects in a witty way that gives her work its relatability.
It’s an intersection between fashion and art where Yuyi feels most comfortable. Her well-received swimwear collection saw her series of surreal clay-made models printed on lycra – it was a Tumblr dream that turned into an IRL success. She reveals, “I feel quite happy that I can combine artwork with clothing because clothing is what I learned from the past and artwork is what I’m focusing on right now.” However, her personal favourite of her projects is SKIN ON SKIN – a literal interpretation of the phrase that sees a naked body transferred onto a slab of meat, and also available in t-shirt form if you fancy it.