Meet Our Muse: Yan
You were among the first wave bloggers that started on Tumblr, did that platform or community shape your creativity in any way?
I was undeniably insecure at the time... like any 15 year old would be, 15 is a weird age to be, I think at that time as well, social media and technology only just had a bit of an impact on our everyday life. Instagram hadn’t yet existed, blogs were becoming a thing over in Europe and The States, not so much in Australia yet, and Tumblr had its only community of young creatives, mostly who were still in high school and needed an escape from mean girls and school... life in general. I think it definitely gave me the confidence in believing in my own work, even if no one paid attention. It was just comforting at the time to be able to create a mini portfolio in an online community with other people who had similar interests.
Watching your growth over the past few years from Tumblr days to your recent collaborations with Uniqlo and Louis Vuitton, it's clear you’re always experimenting in your work and in the way you style yourself. What is the best advice for someone trying to find the courage to try new things?
I’m a big believer of... JUST DOING IT. You have nothing to lose when it comes to new opportunities, especially when it comes to trying new things. I love being kept on my toes, and I think being out of your comfort zone brings positive experiences, and the best ones that allow you to grow... and if for some reason they bring negative ones, it becomes just becomes a lesson which, people should be open to with open arms.
You often shoot personal photo diaries on film of you and your friends. How did this come about?
It’s something that I’ve always loved doing. Photo diaries are a big component of what my blog consists of, and what it started off as. I’m a pretty nostalgic person, I like capturing memories, and being reminded of the past.
Do you find the pressure to produce a series that’s more personal?
The starting of my blog was always for my love of creating & experimenting, it’s always been very personal. I always refer to my blog, as a ‘photo journal’, and that’s what I want it to be. I want it to be a portfolio or eventually an archive of some sort, of all the work that I’ve done, and all the adventures I’ve been on. I want to be able to look back on my website in 5 years time, and feel nothing short of happiness from what I’ve created in the last few years, good or bad. I’m sentimental, and I feel like majority of the work I’ve produced have always been with friends and have linked to the concepts of rawness, realness, nostalgia.. and just being ‘me’. I think that’s why I’ve worked with the brands I have, they resonate with my work because it is personal, I rarely ever work with a big team, everything is a collaborative project between close friends, I don’t have hair and make up or a stylist. I like keeping things natural and intimate.. and even when things are still slightly more curated, it’s all still authentic to my ethos.
Are there specific parts of your identity that you like to include in your work?
I feel like I’ve been pretty open about myself online in a positive light, I don’t really have anything to hide.
Bloggers and influencers today are sharing more visual work than written work, putting more focus on being seen. Do you ever struggle with being heard?
Part of the work I’ve created the past year has really allowed me to portray what I want to say in a public space. I feel super lucky with those opportunities. I did some work with G-Star x Leica on an small exhibition series on the theme of “RAW”, which allowed me to create a body of work that was completely stripped back and inspired by the 90’s film works of Annie Leibovitz. I also did a mini solo exhibition in collaboration with Broadway Shopping centre with a similar concept, having imagery I had taken from all my travels that were based off the actual lines and texture of the images, rather than the actual subject. I guess I like to embrace images that are imperfect, and I like sharing that with my audience, that’s why I’m so drawn to film.
A picture can tell a thousand words, and thank you for that because I’m not that good with expressing myself through words sometimes.
Has there been a point in your life, so far, where you thought about transitioning out of blogging?
Yes and no, I like to constantly re-create myself and my work and when I say re-create I guess, I mean to grow and to eventually transition into something else... so, a ‘next chapter’. I like self-improving. I don’t know what that next chapter is yet. To be honest, I think going with the flow is the best way to do it. It’s always brought me to the best of places.
When do you feel most empowered?
Making things in the office, cooking dinner on a weeknight, on the dance floor on a Friday, or on the couch on a Sunday.. with my friends. Creating and sharing, give me light!
Which of your physical attributes do you love the most?
Maybe my hands, because I can do so much with them.
Photography by Marielle Sales