A rondezvous with sassy model turned artist – Yilin Hsu
(By Blythe Liu)
AF: Could you provide us some of your background information? And how you entered the world of modeling, and have now become an artist?
YH: When I was young, I was discovered by a teen magazine for a photo shoot, and was signed by a local modeling agency. At first, my mother disagreed with me, since she wanted me to focus on my studies at the time. But it was my enthusiasm and passion that eventually persuaded her. As for me, I like traveling. I am truly inspired when I am traveling around the world, meeting different people and experiencing different cultures. ‘Keep learning,’ is my motto. Living in New York City will give you no excuse to stop learning. You will find it hard to catch other people’s pace once you stop. I feel pleased and grateful to be able to learn something new almost every day.
Apart from modeling, I like art. I have designed many of my own clothes, jewelry, and bags. When I went through the chock point of my modeling career, I switched to painting; it was natural for me.
AF: Can you tell us about your work? How could you come up with the idea of using the cassettes and CDs?
YH: To be honest, I’m quite good at combining different colors together. Upon my third move about two years ago, I went through all the cassettes and CDs that I had, and suddenly an idea popped up in my head. Instead of throwing them all away, how about making them into works of art? So I collected all the cassettes and CDs from my relatives and neighbors and I set forth to produce a series of whimsical mixed media paintings. After my first painting sold, my friends told me that my works were quite unique and they have never seen anything like it before using such mixed media. It gave me great encouragement and confidence to have my first art show, which was at Serge Strosberg Gallery on Easter Sunday 2011. The concept of this art show was to bring back the old memories of the people, and not to give up those previously cherished objects no matter what the world had developed into.
AF: This art show was a success. Will you consider having other shows in the future?
YH: Yes, I’d love to have a photography exhibition in April/May this year in Chelsea. Actually, I want to do something special this time. I may invite my other artistic friends, like jewelry designers, and hair stylists to have a multi-media art show together. I think that would be fun.
AF: What is your favourite kind of art?
YH: I like contemporary pop art because it is vivid, colorful and humorous with a strong color contrast. I’m not a fan of the dim light, mono-color tone art. As you can see from my art, I use bright color and round shapes to create a harmony and peaceful atmosphere.
AF: Which do you like better, modeling or painting?
YH: Well, it’s hard to say which one I like better. As it’s seen by most people, modeling is a fancy job where you can wear beautiful clothes and pretty make-up. The highlight of my modeling career was making $25,000 per day doing a photo shoot on a Mexican island. I have had the incredible opportunity of doing a lot of modeling jobs for some of the greatest publications, including W Magazine, Cosmopolitan, YRB magazine, Lucky Magazine, 5th Ave Magazine, and Zink Magazine. However, a modeling career can only last a short period of time, and at the same time it is quite competitive, and stressful.
Right now, I’m enjoying being a mentor coaching models on their walks and facial expressions. I really like to help others and see all my friends improving together. Also, I want to focus more on my painting at the moment.
AF: Who is your favorite designer?
YH: Betsey Johnson. If you had the chance to go through my closet, you’ll see 70% of my dresses are Betsey Johnson’s cocktail dresses. I really love her dress style.
AF: How do you define fashion?
YH: Fashion is not about following the trend. You should find the oct suitable clothes to match your own style, and feel. I should know, I have more than 500 pairs of shoes at my apartment!
AF: Do you have any suggestions for those who want to come to NY to pursue their dreams?
YH: You have to have strong connections here. Try to attend more events to get to meet people. I have met some great people, and I love that they offer me great opportunities to continues to learn and grow.