Yuxi Li

Illustrator Yuxi Li has made a study of how contemporary illustration can represent architectural spaces. Here, we discover how her manipulation of analogue and digital methods results in a fresh perspective on the theme. 

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Basking no. 4 by Yuxi Li

Please tell us about the space you work in...
My favourite working space is a corner of the library in London College of Communication, I name it “first class” where there is a big white table with tiny scratches, surrounded by windows, books and the sounds of typing and turning pages. I feel connected, inspired, and concentrated in that vigorous space.

What are your favourite tools, materials or bits of kit for creating work?
I have a special interest in the power of combining different visual media. Pencils and pens always impress me with the initial beauty and potential of drawings. Digital media like C4D, After Effect, and Photoshop are frequently experimented with to explore the combination of the three-dimensional and two-dimensional worlds. I try to improve by practicing, but not be limited to certain materials or tools. Acrylic, charcoal, watercolour and so on, they all have particular textures. I am very excited to see their potential in the digital world.

What role does digital media play in your work?
Digital is not better than analogue, but different. It is one of my working media, offering a sense of future, something vigorous, fresh and unknown. It is also a tool that makes my work effective and flexible, which means I can do plenty of changes within a relatively short period. Also, I treat the digital media and the way it combines analogue as a way of thinking about image making. What is its power? How can media co-exist? I think it is a process of failing, learning, thinking, experimenting and enjoying.

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Experiment no. 1 by Yuxi Li

Your final MA project explored ways of representing architectural spaces in contemporary illustration – what excites you about that field and what innovations can we look out for?
I like travelling and am always attracted by architecture as an art form to tell stories, to interact with people and its surroundings. It is not only a physical form but also related to space. In the context of contemporary illustration, I am interested in how architecture could interact with the image-maker and, indeed, what can be within the power of illustration to represent?

Compared to photography, representing in the context of illustration is kind of subjective, but I need to be critical in the process in order to convince the audience. It could get tricky if I want to show the key characteristics of architecture and also show a new perspective. But I am quite excited about the challenges.

For my final project, I choose to represent Antoni Gaudí’s architecture by combining drawings with digital media, mainly C4D. The drawings are about his architecture, and the elements in the 3D spaces indicates that he gets inspiration from nature. The project consists of six images, in which I created three main spaces, and three views from different angles, because the way we look at architecture is various. Representing Gaudí’s architecture by combing analogue with digital media shows my perspective. In a wider sense, it could have applications in other fields, for instance, to promote goods, to combine the real and surreal, and to encourage experimentation to explore the potential of using digital media to create visual languages. 

Who are your heroes in illustration and design?
Andy Rementer for his using of colour and arranging of elements in space; Maiko Gubler and Anny Wang’s application of different textures by digital modelling; Camille Walala; Ben Branagan, I like his creative use of material in design; Lizzie Finn for her stitched collages with mixed techniques.

You just graduated from LCC – what's next for you?
I will continue learning skills and creating illustrations about spaces in both still and moving form, and I plan to make some real stuff based on my illustrations. Illustrating and crafting are always my loves. Hope that I can share what I have learned to people. I am not good at planning the future, but I really hope to have my own studio, sharing, drawing, making and enjoying.