Perhaps best known for her viral memes commissioned by Gucci, for which she used her signature transfer stickers, this New York-based visual artist uses her fascination with skin to create art work that highlights how technology has replaced bodily interaction–becoming the interface upon which we view social reality.
As a viral image-maker, Yuyi John takes and transposes, destroys and creates anew, only to reconvene fragments of signs and symbols within a whole new meaning. This approach is particularly visible in a photographic series in which she affixed Twitter handles and Facebook posts to the human body in the form of temporary tattoos, literally depicting the traces of digital media on our physique.
Would you say your work is related to body politics?
I wouldn’t say it’s related to politics; I just love skin and bodies.
Do you see your work as a form of protest?
Well no, it’s a reflection of our life.
What impact do you think social media have on shaping our ideals of beauty?
The impact is quite big. We are all living behind a platform we create. We present what we want to present.
Do you believe your body limits you in any way? If so, (how) do you try to overcome this?
Yes, lately I really wish I had a penis so I could photograph a penis.
Where do you get your body confidence? Do you think it is possible to be 100% confident in your own body?
I wouldn’t describe myself as confident. But I just don’t feel anything weird when I’m naked; I’m basically just comfortable with it.
What advice would you give to your younger self, regarding body positivity?
Think beyond the rules!