Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.
For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions.
We are proud to introduce the next Leading Lady for March 2017: Yun Bai
Where do you work and what do you do?
It’s been an adventure, being a visual artist. I create flower collage paintings using porn magazines as an expression of human rights to inspire hope and healing. Sharing my art, life experiences, and perspectives have allowed me to engage in speaking, panel discussions, consulting, various collaborations, leadership opportunities, etc. I’m passionate about diversity and women’s rights, especially when it pertains to our willingness in having those difficult, vulnerable, uncomfortable conversations.
When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I remember embracing art as a small child, but didn’t realize my connection to it until I was fourteen during a high school art class. We were instructed to do self-portraits, and our teacher introduced us to Prismacolor color pencils. I remember being so happy in those art classes. Ever since then, it’s been a necessary part of my life. Professionally I started in 2003, after studying art in college.
What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. There isn’t anything else I’d rather be. I was set on it even though my parents wanted me to be a lawyer, doctor, or accountant. When I was younger I thought about being a fashion designer, though part of me thinks being a florist would be fun too.
If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
The Chinese empress Wu Zetian, from the Tang Dynasty. She was the only woman to officially lead China. I would ask her how she was able to access her leadership, what regrets she had, what she would do differently. I would ask how she influenced men to be more supportive and respectful of women during her time, and what insights she would give women of the world today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Zetian
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
There’s so many people that inspire me, but I would have to say my high school art teacher Debi Barrett-Hayes (Florida State University School, Tallahassee, FL). I learned of my love for art through her. It was her belief and investment in me doing well as a student that paved a career commitment to art. She is an amazing teacher who really impact her students.
How is art a passion for you?
Art has become a necessity for joy. Making it, being around it, expressing ourselves through it, being inspired by others’ expressions, all joyful things. Art has many roles – documentarian, speaker, healer, muse. Art is a voice, a observer of the times, comforting inspiration. Sometimes it really is the colorful air I need to breathe.
What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
We need more of it (in other industries as well). It’s important to make sure women have platforms where perspectives are heard and respected, so our contributions can flourish. Women bring ideas, connections, resources, labor to endeavors yet often are not given the platform to fully speak, nor participate. We also need more women to sit on the boards of organizations.
What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
How passionate, committed, and knowledgeable our community is. How fast we are growing. How our city government listens and supports us.
What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I am passionate about cultivating art collectors and patrons, and hope to collaborate with other members of our community to welcome new collectors into our city’s vibrant art eco-system. Recently I shared an idea with the community that has received positive feedback on how we can go about it, https://youtu.be/dMM4DIbr6aE. It’s always exciting to welcome those unfamiliar with art into our fascinating art world – it would be cool to co-create something as a community that can celebrate each of our perspectives.
Experimentation and taking risks are important to me, both artistically and business-wise. Creating something that never existed before and trying out new ways of doings, it all fascinates me. It’s also part of evolving. I look forward to sharing these ideas and experiments with the community, as we continue to inspire one another through innovation and servitude.
Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?