On Picking the Artists for the Share:
Upon being prompted to provide us with further insight on how he came to choose the selected artists for the 2018 Share, Yu-Kai explained to us that he based his decisions off of many of the same criteria that he uses when selecting pieces for his gallery.
As someone who works a job where he is constantly bombarded with images and ideas, “pieces that catch my eye”, he says, are “fully realized, complete thoughts… refined, defined. There’s nothing left to do; it’s a completed idea.” He also says he can appreciate imperfections for what they are, touches of the human hand and reflections of our imperfections.
In terms of coming across art that is controversial or taboo, Yu-Kai reflected before stating, “It’s a disservice to stifle things we feel and want to talk about… pieces of substance…” He continued, “but the best art is ambiguous; even if it sends a message, it leaves viewers to relate and reflect through their own experiences.”
On Being A Business Owner:
When asked about being a business owner, Yu-Kai was incredibly candid about the work and difficulties that come on the road to success. He stated, “nothing is stable… we are in a time of great change, but with change comes transformation… you can start something new, and that can be amazing”. As far as him and his four fellow employees at YU KAI LIN Art, they seem to be taking it one step at a time, as Lin said, “it’s about faith to trust in the process. Go with your gut, and let the pieces fall where they may.”
Graduate student and 2018 Spring share artist, Conor Alwood, asked Yu-Kai how he best stays update on trends in the art community. Lin responded by saying in terms of following the trends, “it’s better to be the trend”. Yu-Kai reminded us the labels can be limitations, “art is organic; don’t define yourself in a way that will limit who you can be”. He went on to add that artists should seek to make “art that speaks to the culture of the market its in. If you make something that speaks to you or others, that’s all you can ask for”.
Lin also advised us in our student and career paths alike to “leave no stoned unturned…. And return to those stones”. Yu-Kai emphasized the value of making real connections, and returning to those connections through your life as you expand and grow. He stated, “You want to be a memorable person, in every path you cross you should seek to make an impact”.
On Art Degrees…
Savannah Wood, CSArt team member, seeks to be an art teacher. Upon sharing on her experiences and prompting a conversation on the unspoken connotations of the words “art major”, Savannah asked Yu-Kai: Did you always intend to open up an art gallery?
Yu-Kai, a Georgia Native, shared with us where his path first began at Emory University in Atlanta as a premed student. A path very much so encouraged by his parents, it wasn’t until he interned at a hospital in college that he realized he didn’t have a passion for the path he was on. It wasn’t long after that he took his first art history class, focused on art of the early Italian Renaissance.
Lin graduated from Emory with a Bachelor of Art in Music, and taught piano for three years after college. He then spent several years doing corporate travel work involving interior design. Lin worked at a handful of galleries before open KAI LIN ART in the 2008. Today, Lin still owns his gallery in Buckhead, as well as teaching art and piano several days each week.
In regards to the different paths our lives may take us on, Lin emphasized the importance of being open-minded, “people who are different challenge us to grow”, he reminds us. He shared that while his corporate travel work wasn’t the path for him, it brought him a new, more worldly perspective and the importance of being able to communicate with many different kinds of people.
Still, he encouraged us to take our degrees and “find people who inspire you, challenge you, to find a path you’re passionate about…”. As he put it, #BeYourOwnBeyonce
On what the future holds:
As for what’s next for Lin, he smiles before saying “I feel truly honored and rewarded with my accomplishments and what I have built”. Lin is excited but unsure what the future holds for him, although he hints he may have a big move in store for the future, or new career possibilities further down the road.
Wherever you’re headed next, we will be cheering you on, Yu-Kai!
Stay posted for more updates as we prepare in the final days before the Spring 2018 CSArt share.
Hannah Ghafary and the Clemson CSArt Spring 2018 Team
For more background on Yu-Kai Lin and his story, read about him on our Meet Our Juror page or at KAILINART.com