Creative A little bit of everything (illustration, fine arts, installation, creative direction)
Sign Capricorn (Sagittarius rising and Aries Moon).
My name is Kendra Yee and I’m an artist with a studio at 401 Richmond in Toronto. I graduated from OCAD U specializing in illustration. Since then, I’ve enjoyed doing pretty much anything related to the creative fields including; editorial illustration, branding, art direction, solo shows, workshop programing and site specific installations. I love working with all sorts of mediums, allowing the process to develop the concepts within my practice. My birthday is December 29th, making my star sign a Capricorn. Half goat, half fish; roaming about on the Earth and in the Sea. We are known as the “achievers and builders,” with a planet ruling in Saturn. Always go getting at some opportunity but staying true to traditions.
What are your star sign's strengths and weaknesses? Do you see similarities within yourself? Strength: Ambitious, wise, intense, loyal, self-motivated. Weaknesses: Detached, stubborn, pessimistic, unsatisfied, unforgiving, uncreative.
I think I relate more to the strengths rather than the weaknesses, but who doesn’t? My name means wise woman/ knowledge, so that’s a strange coincidence! I’ve always been a “do-er,” letting my current project dictate all areas of thinking. If I don’t have something on the go, I get into a slump. There’s a lot of relief found through building new things. As for the weaknesses, I think the most relatable would be detachment, I find it hard to become emotionally involved in situations.
What traits most resonate with you? My default mode is usually rationality balanced with creativity. Rationality is a big trait for Capricorns, and I use it to find ideas through facts and the tangible world, then combine it with internal perspectives. Another supposed trait, is liking family traditions and craftsmanship. Finding rituals within found family is really important, unspoken connections that values these friendships. Also in terms of craftsmanship, I interpret that as anyone who cares about what they’ve produced. I love listening into conversations about people discussing their passions, even if I have no idea what their field of study is about.
Have you always been interested in your star sign? Sort of, I’ve dabbled with interest in astrology, so I’m always curious to know what people connect to through their star signs (or how they connect to Capricorns). I’m obsessed with archetypes and connecting overlaps between (seemingly) entirely different groups of people. Star signs are just another exploration of that, you pick and choose which traits of your sign most represent you, then seek out others to reinforce or polarize these constructs.
What is your ruling sing? What does this element mean to you? The ruling sign for Capricorn is Earth. For me, this is about being connected to past, present and future. The shifts of time are connected to the Earth and things of matter, they leave traces of history and clues to the future. We can learn from all things around us, so long as we are open to listening to what they have to say. No matter how many things one can imagine within their head, the Earth will always be the main source of inspiration. There’s so much creativity, concepts, and stories that are circulating all around.
Can you see characteristics of your star sign within your occupation and work? I think it shows through with having motivation to finish projects. I’m not so worried about what the final product looks like, just concerned with the process and the completion of the task at hand. I experiment with a lot of different mediums and processes, so you have to be open to things heading in directions that may not be where you wanted to go. Sometimes, there are these accidental moments that you could not have created through trained technique, and those rare incidences leads you to new ways of thinking.
Your 'monsters' symbolise personal imaginary coming into real world existence. How do you think your monsters came about and what do you think fuelled their abstract nature? These “monster” figures are all reflections of the world around me. I process interactions through these characters, they act as masks that I can put on to engage with situations directly while also maintain at a distance. Parts of these figures are abstracted elements of conversations, feelings and processed facts that I hear on a day to day bases. These gathered thoughts represented as characters are malleable with ever changing souls, just like the topics of discussion.
You have said there has been a recurring theme of interest about the internet when being asked about your work. Do you think social media presence has shifted the way you view your own work? But more importantly, do you think it has shifted the way we view art itself? I’m bored of the conversation that social media is destroying us! Yes, I think too much of one thing is not good, and we could all switch our phones off. But, with having access to the web, you are able to be in control of your profile, who you want to contact, and what image you’d like to curate. As long as there is this acknowledgement of curation, there is this neat ability to represent yourself however you want. You are not the product of social media and the individual will always possess cultural currency, and it’s about using these platforms as a starting place but reconnecting to physical communities. The ways of viewing art keep shapeshifting, it’s super exciting to be involved with this renaissance of tech. Having said that, there’s a reason we can still find beauty within paint, and I don’t think that intuition is going to die out anytime soon.
How has gender played a role in your artwork? My character worlds are completed through the commentary of others. They expand through new conversations and alter depending on what the viewers see. Gender is something that is fluid, and morph with the perceptions of others. I see my characters as forms, and people place identities on to them.
What characteristics of yourself communicate through your work? I see some aspects of myself within my works, but I think other people point out how my characters are connected to me. I more relate to elements of the backgrounds, rather than the characters themselves. For creating the environments, I know what aspects are referenced in order to form the new worlds. They act as more physical representations of memories that I have. Sometimes, when I view work of the past, I remember what I was feeling at the time of creation (rather than knowing what I was making in the moment). With some distance, you are able to revisit older projects with new eyes, and you are able to discover previously unknown thoughts.
What's a piece of advice you want to give your future self? Remember that you are never restarting, rather focusing on something new and setting off another journey. Things are never set in stone, and that’s incredibly terrifying but it also allows for further progression. People want to help, but it’s up to you to approach them. Questions are endless and so are answers, so ask as many as you can while you can. Comfy clothes can be your second home.