Artist Interview: I Chin Lin Location: Brooklyn, New York.
Sum up your creative process in one word/phrase, and explain why!
My name is I Chin Lin, and I go by Chin. I like taking pictures. I believe creative processes transform us into “superheroes” if you will, which might sound cliché. But I do feel like all artists are superheroes in the sense that we take a small amount of natural talent and transform it into beauty and wonder that’s greater than ourselves. We create tangible things with our choice of weapon (for me it’s a camera and my imagination) and with these creations we try to make the world a better place.
Were you always an artist, even as a child? What was your path to becoming an artist?
I didn’t always consider myself as an artist, to be honest.
I’m originally from Taiwan, and even in this already considerately open-minded country, we tend to be too pragmatic, especially when it comes to our children’s dreams. The culture remains reality-driven, meaning that parents will go crazy if you dare to tell them you were going to be an artist instead of a doctor. I’ve always enjoyed coloring and can spend hours staring out the window, observing things that might become the subjects of my art. This observation time is important—even though it might not look like artists are doing much, often we are actively creating out of that stillness. I graduated with a degree in Graphic Communication and Digital Publishing in 2008, and which included an emphasis on photography. I shot with a Canon EOS Rebel XSi for quite a long time.
I spent three years doing graphic design in retail, which was a bit closer to my passion for photography and material design. Later on, in 2015, I stubbornly decided to venture to New York on my own to complete a master degree in Packaging Design, and coming here encouraged me to embrace myself as a photographer, and start to believe that maybe my daydreaming creative WAS my superhero power, rather than a frivolous hobby.
What is your medium of choice and what drew you to this particular medium?
I’m currently using a Mark iii. I love shooting portraits, or any projects related to people.
I spent most of my career as a graphic designer, and I would say my style of photography is between fine art and commercial. I treat every frame as a graphic element and try to create a cohesive design aesthetic behind it.
I consider myself kind of a loner, but through photography, I feel less shy and more curious to engage with people and try to capture and the beauty inside each one of us. I think people living their everyday lives resonate with others more than overworked models because we are looking for someone who can understand us.
Is there any particular experience, person, place or thing that inspires you to create? Tell us about that.
I would say it’s love, the love I have for humanity or just the idea of people.
Unfortunately, I’m sure we can all relate with how ugly people can be, how disappointing it feels to be let down and to struggle in life. But when I take pictures, I’m inspired to reveal the greatness in people they might not know exists: the inner beauty that may be covered or hidden due to the everyday disappointments from life that they’ve experienced. I feel like I get to have a little bit of control to turn things into something better. I guess sometimes you have to go for it you know.
What is it like showing your work to people and what do you hope people take away from it?
It’s a pretty straightforward idea. I want to show people how I feel. I 100% love all of the frames I choose for each show. Each frame gives me so much joy, and I just hope that translates to the viewer.
One of the series I showcased at the New York Conception art show was called “Us Trace”. It brought me great joy when so many people related to it and actually said they could almost feel and smell the concept behind it.
Contact information: www.iclinphoto.com Instagram: @iclinphoto