The Role of a Student Artist with Julia Yi

Written by Ndemazea Fonkem, Ry Lei

May 18, 2018

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On any given day, Julia Yi must ask herself a question, and it’s a question we all have a rough time answering. She wonders what her role is, what role she’s playing that day, and then she goes about the rest of her day.


If life as a student and as an artist is a balancing act, then Yi has mastered it.


“It makes you wonder where your priorities lie and how will you juggle between these two roles,” said Yi. “My balance comes from my understanding of the value in going at my own pace.” She describes that being an artist can mean that she has to leave her student persona behind and vice versa. This can sometimes have the negative consequence of stress, but in the past year Yi has gotten better at the balance between both personas.


In scrolling down our feeds, it is easy to see multiple people with the same style. They dress the same way, edit their photos the same way, or even draw in the same style. “In middle school I thought I needed a distinct style in order to make it as an artist. Through a lot of sifting through different approaches and the works of others, I started being content with my own system of working and less fixated on the styles of others.” Yi’s style is uniquely her own. The way she captures the human form is beautiful and unlike most seen in the mainstream because she realized early on that her art didn’t need to look like anyone else’s in order to be good. It’s a lesson most artists never learn, and Yi did it at the beginning of her career.


When asked about her creative regrets, Yi said her only regret is not taking initiative sooner. She wishes she could go back in time to step out of her comfort zone and to start taking artistic risks as early as possible, but this wish doesn’t keep her up at night. Yi would rather look toward the future and focus on what’s next.


“I’d rather work harder to catch up than look back at a past that I can’t change.”

To read the rest of our exclusive interview with Julia, get your copy of issue two today!


See the rest of the articles from issue two here

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