With a passion for print and textile experimentation, Central Saint Martins' graduate Yushan Li produced his MA collection with an emphasis on handcrafted textures manipulated into strong menswear silhouettes. The pieces referenced New Zealand-born visual artist Francis Upritchard’s ‘voodoo’ sculptures, but without the Bride of Chucky sinisterness. In part two of a two-part series, Li speaks with Jamal George-Sharpe about Upritchard, his MA collection and finding his place in the industry.
Jamal George-Sharpe: What inspires your work? What are the points of reference that you always turn to in your designs?
Yushan Li: The instinctive feeling of life and surroundings. Something you are not expecting, but it happened in the end and inspired you suddenly.
JGS: Turning to the images you shot for PETRIe, what was the inspiration behind your MA graduate collection?
YL: Francis Upritchard’s sculpture works. Her works create a very subtle mysterious atmosphere and a cheerful yet instant feeling.
JGS: How did you first discover Upritchard’s work?
YL: I saw her works at a small gallery in East London two years ago. My eyes couldn’t get away from the little sculptures the first time I saw them. It feels mysterious, also very intriguing to me. Then I thought maybe I could do something out of the atmosphere her work conveys to me.
JGS: What processes did you use in the collection for PETRIe?
YL: The starting point is handcrafted textiles created by myself – hand painted and washed duck canvas, fluffy stripy shirting fabric, then a work-wear/menswear collection.
JGS: What are you working on now?
YL: Organising my portfolios and cleaning my room.
JGS: What will be your focus for the rest of 2015?
YL: Trying to really figure out what I want.
JGS: You have said that you want to be more of a textile artist than a designer, when did you come to this realisation?
YL: I don’t really know to be honest. But I’ve always believed that once you plant the little seed in your heart, it will grow big one day.
JGS: What are you hopes for the future?
YL: To live life peacefully, anywhere in the world. Places that would make me feel calm and easy, like Paris or Shanghai.
Words: Jamal George-Sharpe