Chris Yee, the artist.
We worked with Chris on one of our commercial projects in Sydney. His work was so full of stories, colour and heritage, he was the perfect choice for Multiples.
Chris is a brilliant artist, so interested and interesting, so creative and expressive. We are delighted to launch Chris Yee for Red T Multiples both through our website and as our first NFT artist.
The Multiples concept has always been about delivering increased value to artists and art buyers. We take this to the NFT space in the form of fractions from an art work, available as single editions. Together the fractions make up the original image but apart, they are unique sections from the whole. This concept is true to a core value of ours, that the full picture is made up of so many unique details. We want our NFT presence to be about bringing people together around a common interest, image or mission and expressing that through ownership of a unique part of a whole.
To set us off, we wanted to indulge in Chris’ story to share more about the man behind the art. To paint the full picture. Enjoy.
I grew up in the suburbs of Ryde, Sydney Australia with my Twin brother Andrew and older brother Michael. We grew up in a single parent household so we were left to our own devices, which is how we began our journeys into a creative career drawing out of hobby and interest. We spent a lot of time in our teenage years in Eastwood and Epping, suburbs within the city of Ryde, with a massive 2nd gen Chinese and Korean Community. We really found ourselves relating to others from similar cultural backgrounds as well as family and household situations compared to the rest of Australia.
You describe yourself as a ‘proud member of the evolving Asian-Australian Creative identity’. What does that mean for you?
It means being proud of representing my friends and family and the unique story that we share of our families migrating and us growing up in this massive dry island rock of Australia. I think there is something extremely unique and new about the Australian-Asian diaspora that is oddly specific to the rest of the world as our migrating generations are relatively new compared to other Western countries. There is also a sprinkle of Aussie culture that influences the lives of everyone I knew growing up. At the same time, there is an underlying social layer that we can relate to other cultural communities around the world. I like the idea of global exchange of experience and information and am proud to tell my unique story and world view growing up in Sydney as a creative.
When did you know you were creative?
No matter what I do creatively, illustration is my foundation. As a kid it was simply an exercise for me to spend time after school with my brothers, drawing as we waited for our Mum to come home from work and cook dinner like hungry dogs, haha. But also being brothers it was oddly sort of competitive, we’d draw to show off to each other and gently try and ‘one up’ each other with goofy ideas. It became addictive and to this day I still work with my twin brother on animation and other creative pursuits. Like most of our lives so far, nothing was really planned, but as things come and go – creatively actively stayed.
What/who were early inspirations for you?
Like most kids in my generation I loved the lowbrow- anime, comics and tattoo art. As I grew older I began to appreciate traditional woodblock prints and Chinese paintings and textiles. It’s funny how even though the context is completely different, there is clear influence and breadcrumbs in line work and super flat line style of all these works and mediums. It made me realise I’m inspired by the storytelling aspects in these works and the power of the drawn line.
You’re a storyteller though your work. How do you start the process of developing an art work?
Much like my early influences, for me personally everything begins with a some form of drawing. Whether it’s an installation, animation, live action or textile – composition, colour and line work is extremely important. Much like having differing perspectives, no two lines are the same. It’s amazing how the difference in line weights, pen pressure and thickness of line can tell a completely different story and trigger emotion. I believe sketching and putting rough pen to paper helps me solve how to tell a specific concept or story.
Where does your interest in textiles come from?
Growing up being purely interested in illustration, I loved how with textile design I could incorporate colour and negative space to tell a story. Textile design is far more a battle of placing composition and has such a rich history in cultural context. With my personal view on art, It leaves me a lot of room to take these strong traditions and reinterpret them to tell my version of a complex woven story.
What’s one of the best jobs you’ve done, commercial or personal?
I love the Tumbalong Heritage Artwork in Haymarket, Chinatown Sydney I made. Growing up as an Asian Australian in Ryde, there wasn’t many, if any creatives from our area. It means a lot to me that I was able to tell my story as well as serve the traditional Aboriginal community of the area in a place as public as Sydney City. I also learnt a lot about construction, engineering and installation for the first time – something I could never have dreamed of attempting drawing Spiderman with my brothers as kids.
Art has the power to enlighten, what do you hope people see or feel when they look at your work?
I hope they feel represented. Growing up in Australia and pursing the creative, it was so hard to find creatives or people working In high creative positions that looked like me or understood my perspective. Whether that is generational, socially or family driven – as time has passed, it is great to see more Asian-Australians confidently pursue an artistic field. I hope they feel the freedom to tell their own personal stories, as someone active in the community, I love to hear and see other perspectives.
We are delighted to have you join our Red T family. What’s one of the things you like about Red T Multiples?