And Everything Changes
My work examines the relationships within my family and how they affect my ability to adapt in other areas of my life. For example, the discovery of my two half sisters fractures and shifts my family dynamic and causes a change in my living environment. This makes the structure that was once so stable, fragile and uncertain. In this way, my desire to adapt to changes in family structure and environment results in the rapid dismantling of a carefully ordered space. This is the central theme present in my artwork.
When an individual’s exterior world is turned upside down, their interior world tends to follow suit. Psychological perspectives on the way families function therefore have become essential to my work. Through extensive research, I am able to understand various physiological and biological processes that fuel cognitive functions and behaviors from a scientific standpoint. A theory postulated by psychologist Murray Bowen states that “families so profoundly affect their members’ thoughts, feelings, and actions that it often seems as if people are living under the same ‘emotional skin.’” My work explores this ‘emotional skin’ and translates my family’s separation and relocation into quantifiable “data” and facts. This allows me to counterbalance my emotional processes and form an awareness of changes in self-perception. The component of an independent and dependent variable is crucial to my work as the events that my art discusses influences and impacts one another.
Drawing influence also from Harlow’s theory of contact comfort - which can be defined as the innate pleasure derived from close physical contact used to provide psychological comfort in unusual or uni ue situations–I work in a variety of disciplines that either require physical contact in order to be manipulated, or methodical and laborious processes. In my work, the idea behind a piece dictates the medium, but throughout my entire body of work I seek external solutions to internal problems. For example, in my use of line, each mark influences and interacts with the forms that surround it in a way that mirrors the impacts family members have on one another. I work meticulously to ensure that each line is straight and does not smudge as a means of simulating control. Processes such as this allow me to grapple with painful themes and ultimately help me attain a sense of security and comfort. The element of time in my work allows me to observe and track both physical and emotional changes (for example, “Communication Series: +852 9739 8820 / +852 9878 0992”) that can help strengthen the understanding of fluctuations within my family dynamic.
Through my art, I seek to make sense of the disorder that is presented through a new family structure and environment.The search for control in my artwork presents itself as the need for or lack of resolution. The ability to reach a conclusion provides me with a sense of control, and being unable to do so creates an internal environment of chaos and imbalance.
ELAINA YIP is a third-year senior at Interlochen Arts Academy and is originally from Hong Kong, but has since relocated to New York City in July 2017. Elaina’s work examines the relationships within her family and how they affect her ability to adapt in other areas of her life. Through carefully organizing experiences and conversations in her artwork coupled with a strong influence in psychology, Elaina is able to make sense of the disorder that is presented through a new family structure and environment. Using art as a means of grappling with these issues, she is able to come to terms with a new family dynamic, ground herself, and work through emotionally precarious situations. Elaina has received an Honorable Mention Award in the 2018 YoungArts competition and a National Silver Medal for her piece "Communication Series: +852 9739 8820 / +852 9878 0992" in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Next year she will be attending Parsons School of Design to pursue her dream of becoming an art therapist.