Student Conversation - Chenyi Ye

"One of the reasons I came to NCAD was to experience all aspects of art and design."

On her fear of design

One of the reasons I came to NCAD was to experience all aspects of art and design. Before I came here, I thought I was more suited to fine art than design. I’m actually quite scared of going into design because I always considered myself as a fine artist, but it’s quite flexible in design as well.
At the moment I’m looking at architecture and buildings. I’m looking at lines, construction, connections and flow. I’m from China and I’m looking in particular at Chinese pavilions and western churches. What are the common elements in both places and what are the differences? For example the colour in Chinese Pavilions would be vibrant, normally red and sometimes green. Whereas in western churches, it’s actually quite cold, there isn’t much warmth. The garment I’m making might not be commercial or even wearable. It’s very early in the process, I’m still sketching, photographing, sampling and playing with materials.

On a conceptual approach

My last project began by looking at rocking chairs and the elimination of movement. From looking at the semi-circle shape of the rocker I made circular wooden rings. Each ring symbolised the rocking chair, the movement and the globe. When worn it deliberately limits your movements. For me, at the moment, I’m more focused on the concept, the experience and the making.

On her cultural influences

My cultural background definitely influences the way I’m thinking. I was actually raised in a village, not a big city, a bit like Ireland. No matter where you are in the world, you live in a small space. It’s all about personal space. So, for me, I like simplicity more than really complex things. I like the idea of creating wearable sculptures and using organic materials like wood, which is actually quite personal to me. But it’s not just about the fabrics and the materials, it’s about something else as well. It’s the concept. If I ask two models to wear the same piece, they will act differently. You discover they treat it differently and have different actions and movements. It’s quite interesting really.