yen linh thai: VISUAL ARTIST
PIease introduce yourself:
Hi! My name is Yen Linh Thai, you can call me Linh (she/her). I am a visual artist, illustrator and muralist. I like animals, going on adventures and eating good food.
What do you make?
I make whimsical artwork largely inspired by stories and storytelling. My medium varies depending on the project. It has ranged from projection and installation to paper cuts and animation. However, I consider drawing the foundation of my art practice.
Tell us about the last thing you made and why you made it.
The last big thing I made was a stop motion animation called Oh Deer. All the components were digitally illustrated, printed and then assembled to form translucent 2D puppets and backgrounds. I used an overhead projector and a tiered glass set up to project the images and film a story following a pair of siblings and a doe and fawn who cross paths in a bizarre and eerie adventure.
This is a project that has been brewing since I made my first stop motion project in 2017. I wanted to create a story that was an amalgamation of dreams, experiences and stories I heard while I was working on the 2017 film at Spark Box in Picton. With my current abilities, I felt it was the right time to execute it and it aligned with a micro-residency opportunity with TAIS so it worked out great.
The last non-art related thing I made was some spicy udon with tofu. That’s been my go-to meal lately!
What's your dream project?
Dream project! That’s a big question, I don’t think I’ve ever considered what could be done without any limits. I would say the current top items are:
A large-scale immersive installation using a combination of acrylic cut like papercuts, combined with projected video or animation work
A huge, up the side of a building hand-painted mural
Writing and Illustrating a children’s storybook
An experimental animation inspired by my parents’ food-related stories
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
That’s a tough question. I’m not sure about best but the advice I hear most often and is most applicable to me are all along the same lines of “just go for it,” “be fearless,” “don’t overthink it” hahaha. I can’t remember the words verbatim, they were more eloquently spoken but I was once told by a mentor that the process of creating and thinking are often separate and that resonated with me. Of course I plan and think things through but at some point you just have to give it a go (whether it’s writing a proposal or making the artwork) and see what happens before (re)evaluating.
Where do you see Peel Region’s Art and Culture in the future?
A vibrant, close-knit collaborative community with an innovative arts scene that reaches beyond what is typically considered within the “arts and culture” domain. I would love to see more artworks brightening up our public spaces! Interactive and creative playgrounds, art integrated into our green spaces and so on. I think it is heading that way already, especially since social-distancing puts limitations on our indoor art spaces.
What is one question you wish you were asked more often?
I enjoy seeing the behind the scenes from other artists; their studio spaces, preferred tools and programs, sketchbooks and so on, so perhaps a question relating to my process or what my dream studio looks like? The answer is I want a sunroom studio! If it is in a city I would want the first floor to be a plant-filled shop/exhibition space where I can display my artwork and curate small shows. The upper floor would be my private studio with big windows and lots of natural light. If I lived further out from the city, I would love to have a big sunroom looking out into the backyard, where I would work and eat lots of brunch foods.