Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Conversation with Yijun (Pixy) Liao

Yijun (Pixy) Liao, originally from Shanghai, China, chose fine art photography for its freedom from commercial obligations of working previously as a graphic designer. Her "Experimental Relationship" series focuses on the performative tension of ethnic and age differences between herself and her boyfriend, Moro, a Japanese student five years younger than Pixy. The stereotypical roles placed on heterosexual couples are a conflict for this series and confront such issues.

Relationships work best when each partner knows their proper place, © Yijun (Pixy) Liao

As a woman, I used to think I can only fall in love with someone that I adore, who is maturer than me, older than me, a protector, a mentor. Then I met my boyfriend, Moro, who is 5 years younger than me. I felt the whole relationship changed all the way around. I become the person who had more authority and power. When I told my male friend about my new relationship, he said, "How could you choose a boyfriend the way we choose a girlfriend?!" I thought "Damn right. That's exactly what I'm doing, but why not?!"

Nymphoto: Tell us a little about yourself.

Yijun (Pixy) Liao: I grew up in Shanghai, China. I have a bachelor degree in educational technology which I had no interest in at all. So I spent most of my time playing around with Photoshop. After graduation, I became a graphic designer. After 3 years of freelance work, I was so fed up with my clients & decided to go abroad & study some other major that I'm truly interested in. I applied for graphic design & photography at the same time. University of Memphis photo program accepted me. So here I am, 3 years later, finishing up my MFA in photography.

Your lover should always be your best supporter, © Yijun (Pixy) Liao
I have always doubted the stereotype of a man-woman relationship. Why should a couple be a man and a woman? Why does man have to be a certain way? Why should woman be a certain way? I feel relationships are far more complicated and always changing, and it has lots of possibilities. So I began to think about the meaning of this relationship and experimented with it.

NP: How did you discover photography?

YPL: When I was a graphic designer, I watched a movie called "Blow-up". It's a story about a photographer's involvement with a murder case. I said to myself, "That's the job I want. It has so much more freedom than being a graphic designer." (The photographer in the movie simply walked out his studio in the middle of the shoot, because he's bored with the models.)

Intimacy will improve your relationship, © Yijun (Pixy) Liao
I also express my frustrations in a relationship, like the impossibility to find a soul-mate, the feeling of isolation and disconnection; because my boyfriend is Japanese, and I am Chinese. The project sometimes also describes a love and hate relationship.

This project is an experiment to me, not a real document of our real relationship.

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

YPL: I guess from everything I experience in daily life and I mix them up in my daydreams.
Before I fall asleep, I lie on my bed, half-asleep, half-awake, and all my ideas will come to me at that time.

NP: How did this project come about?

YPL: Moro, my boyfriend, is my muse for this project.
The project began after I dated him for one year. I met Moro in Memphis. He is Japanese and 5 years younger than me. The experience of culture shock and age difference within this relationship inspired me.

How to build a relationship with layered meanings, © Yijun (Pixy) Liao

NP: What difficulties did you encounter while working on this series?

YPL: Sometimes, Moro is not willing to work with me. He'll pull a long face & complain about being used. But I'll manage to take the pictures anyway.

Food and nature are two secrets to a successful relationship, © Yijun (Pixy) Liao

NP: What's next?

YPL: I just moved to Brooklyn & reunited with my boyfriend. (He graduated & moved half year before me.) I’m excited about continuing with this project and adding my new insights about relationship.

NP: Thank you, Pixy!

Yijun (Pixy) Liao is currently a Hey, Hot Shot! for the Fall 2008 edition. Her other series, "Stills from Unseen Films," will be presented in a group show at Jen Bekman Gallery starting January 30, 2009.

Also, happy holidays from all of us at Nymphoto!


nina corvallo said...

Thank you so much Jane & Pixy!

Mel Spillman artwork said...

Your photos are excellent and the descriptions are very interesting.

Anonymous said...


Iglu Cilutung, between Volcanos said...

You made me smile and smile. I do indeed like your sensibility. The photo of the two of you like a ham sandwich is so delightful, naked 2-D figures you want to peeeeel away. Very best to you and stay warm up where you are. Send me that Chinese boy you don't need any more and I'll take care of him. Send you a pikky too, ha ha ha.

Iglu Cilutung, between Volcanos said...

Sorry, what I meant by "Chinese Boy" was the cute one with the hard dick back in the Central Kingdom. You got yourself a nice Nipponeezer to click up against - I'd like a nice Chineezer to do the same to, hmmm.

sexy said...
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