A Surreal Journey from Taipei to Berlin with Denny Yang: Layer by Layer

As a migrant artist, can you explain how migrating from Taipei to Berlin affected your art? What kind of struggles construct your artistic identity in Berlin?

My artwork has evolved along with my personal growth, Taipei has given me enough comfort to ground me, and the diversity of Berlin has inspired me to take a more intense stylistic journey.

What were the emotions and feelings that initially encouraged you to practice your art? Why did you choose drawing as the medium? How do you feel while drawing? How do you reflect this in your art?

I was not very good at socializing when I was a child. I always drew quietly somewhere alone. By drawing, I created stories in the imaginary world and presented them on paper. It made my young mind calm, joyful, and not alone.

As for why I chose drawing as the medium, I think it feels very steady and stable… I always describe my creative process as weaving, stacking lines layer by layer, which gives me a lot of sense of security.

One thing I find very interesting is that I often meditate during the drawing process, as if my physical body is working, but my consciousness is traveling in different dimensions. I visualize the messages I received, then sketch them down, so each piece of work is a small journey for me.

How do you describe the aesthetic relationship between Berlin, drawing, and yourself?

Berlin has given me a broader vision, taking my wild and unconstrained creations further, to messier places. At the same time, I am constantly discovering a new, different self.

Which artists did play essential roles in the formation of your artist identity? Which art movements did have a significant impact on your art?

I’m honestly very bad at remembering names… and I haven’t had any courses on fine art concepts or even art history.

If I had to say… I think surrealism influenced me the most, I love Dali’s pencil sketches and I’m also a big fan of Japanese manga artist Q Hayashida.

Can you tell us what inspires and drives you to do your art?

I feel that language is what limits each other’s ability to communicate, believe me, my Sun and Mercury are both in Libra, so communication is very important to me…but language creates many distinctions and all kinds of misunderstandings. I think that images are a gentle way of communication. Works can be appreciated, understood, shared, and discussed, and even stimulate imagination. This is the main force that drives me to continue drawing.

Denny Yang


Interview: Tevfik Hürkan Urhan