Making the Abstract Accessible / Artwork by Yami International
Few are as accomplished at twenty-four as French artist Yami International; the full-time Obstetrics and Gynaecology student is also a fashion designer, social network CEO, photographer, film-maker and abstract artist. A firm believer in equal accessibility to abstract art, it is her goal to 'democratize' the art world and make it as popular to the general public as cinema or music. In this exclusive interview with Femini, she reflects on her journey as an artist, her relentless optimism, and why she doesn’t show her artwork in galleries. Here is Yami International in her own words:
'I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been into Abstract Art. In art class, when I was a kid, I wouldn’t draw normal stuff like other kids, but abstract or surrealism paintings like “The Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali.
I didn’t take my art skills seriously, until I realized people liked my work. I used to hang my paintings on the walls of my house and every time people would come over, they would always stop to admire them. Most of my friends and family thought I bought them from an artist. They were always surprised and impressed to discover they were actually mine and would confess how surprisingly my work resembled Pollock's. Honestly, I didn’t know who Pollock at that time was, because I came from a very scientific background. I study gynecology and obstetrics, even though I consider Art as my passion and I couldn't live without it!'
'I feel like at some points in my life, Art was a form of therapy to me. I was bullied by the staff at the university hospital for three years and my Art was the only place I had where I could express how I felt.
Art also helped me discover parts of my personality I didn’t know about; I realized I was a pretty optimistic person. As you may know, most of my paintings, if not all of them, are extremely colorful, but what many people don’t know is that I painted them in the darkest time of my life; in a time that I was feeling hopeless. My colourful, vibrant art shows for me represents a fearless optimism, even when life around me seems dark.'
'Once I felt I was ready as an artist and with enough support from the people behind me, I figured I would share my art with the world. At first, I created a Tumblr to post my photographs and my paintings which grew into a website. I wanted it to be easy for people to follow me on my artistic journey, so I focused on creating a strong social media presence. One day, a follower of mine sent me a tweet, saying she voted for me in the Shorty Awards, as the best artist on social media. At this moment, I really realized people weren’t lying when they claimed I was talented at creating art.
I was incredibly humbled when more people voted for me and I was a finalist. At that time, I was also exposing my art in galleries around the world, like in Melbourne Australia, the Czech Republic, Moscow and Ireland, but I wasn’t feeling proud nor satisfied.
I wasn’t satisfied because I wanted everybody to connect with my art not only people who were already familiar with it, like art collectors, curators, or gallerists.'
'I decided to stop exposing my art in these kinds of galleries and I chose instead to expose my work in public spaces. I put my art on billboards in Paraguay and California, in the subway in San Francisco and many such places around the world. This was such a pleasant experience to me because I knew that there were some people on their way back home who were absolutely not familiar with Art, who could finally taste and discover it through my work. Doing something like this was so meaningful to me!
Today, I post some of my paintings on my social media, but I prefer posting all my photography on my website. My photographs are also Abstract and reflect Minimalism, a style I love to incorporate, not only in my art, but also in my life.
I know what my goals are as an artist. I want to make Abstract Art more popular. This is the inspiration behind the art book series that I am currently working on. To me, books are the best medium to share a message. Issue N°1 is named YAMI INTERNATIONAL: My rawest thoughts. It features my recent paintings and photographs, and also "rawest thoughts” on random topics; I’m already working on Issue N°2.
My dream is to be the most popular abstract artist of my generation: I want to be known as the female combination of Jackson Pollock and Andreas Gursky.'
Visit Yami International at: https://yamiinternational.com/
Buy Issue N°1 of her art book here.
All artwork by Yami International
Edited by Hannah Crosbie