The power of imagery: An interview with berlin based make-up artist KICKI YANG-ZHANG

vor 3 years

“And the beautiful thing is even after 100 (+more) years someone can still see your memory even tho you’re not here anymore.”

There are many ways to instrumentalize and live out your own creativity. For Kicki Yang-Zhang, make-up artist from Berlin, who is starring the new Polaroid Now + campaign, she herself is the best canvas. We had a little talk with her about her path to art, the integration of one’s own culture and why a real image still (or again) has more value than a digital one.

How do you relate to art and how did it come about?
I had a really hard time as a teenager, and whenever I come back from a terrible school day art was my escape. Art for me is my personal safe space.

You are using your face and your identity as a canvas. How did this transference arise or the desire to integrate oneself into your own art?
The reason why I chose make up as a medium was more because I love the temporary-ness of it. That I wash my face in the evening and can start again. For me as the artist the creation process itself is more important than end result. In the end your own art should be for yourself. If other people think it’s great that’s beautiful and appreciated, but only you as the artist knows how you felt when you created it.

Your art here is predominantly based on your Chinese origin. Why do you think it so important to integrate your cultural heritage into your identity?
I believe my cultural heritage is a big part of me, and understanding my culture is also understanding me, how I grew up and what values are important to me in life. As someone who for the most part didn’t grow up in the country my parents are from, it’s such a beautiful thing to learn about your culture and where you’re from, and it’s something that connects me to them.

What do you associate with it? What are the main elements?
Colors, culture, organic shapes.

Photography is a way of capturing moments and thus keeping a piece of them. What makes a good picture for you?
For me personally good pictures are memories. And the beautiful thing is even after 100 (+more) years someone can still see your memory even tho you’re not here anymore.

Now you had the honor to be the face of the new Polaroid Now+ Campaign. What makes Polaroid special for you in general, being an iconic product that has been around for decades?
I think nowadays we take a lot of photos with our phones but don’t really cherish them, because they only exist in the digital realm. Polaroid cameras give you the physical photo in an instant, and it becomes a real world item. To me a real world item has more value than a digital photo.

How would you describe the Now + campaign in your own words?
Old meets new, retro futuristic.

Why do you think classic Polaroid photography has not lost its value or maybe even gained use again?
I think my answer is almost the same as the previous one. I think in a digital age we’re looking for “real” things and Polaroid is offering exactly that.

The Polaroid Now + was specially designed for creative people, giving them more options for their interpretation. With numerous different functions and lenses, the Now + is a comparatively futuristic & innovative version of what we already know from the past. To what extent does this make your work easier or inspiring to you?
For me personally it’s really cool that I can take photos myself of for example my make up looks, where was usually I have to ask someone to help me take the photos. I think it gives me more freedom in my own creative direction. Also my favorite feature are the lenses. I have so many ideas how to include them in my photos and it motivates me to take more!

Interview by Carolin Desiree Becker

All pictures: Courtesy of Polaroid

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