"When people ask me how long did it take you to paint the show, I reply 20 years, because capturing a moment in 15 min time is only achieved by 20 years of painting."
- YVAN DENG
Yvan Deng has been the only live artist ever invited to Shanghai Fashion Week to expand on the mere runway reality through live illustrations.
His work includes backstage, beauty, atmosphere, and runway. Yvan pioneered the first collaboration between fashion Designers and live emotional speed painting at the shows by capturing the ambiance and designs onto paper, in less than twenty minutes. With each of these paintings, Yvan never sketched anything out beforehand, and never returned to alter them in hindsight. Each piece was completed entirely in the moment, on the catwalk. It’s a matter of stylish savoir-faire, one might say.
During the years since starting Shanghai Fashion Week, Yvan Deng has been shifting between major shows. While the media, fashionistas, bloggers, stylists, editors, buyers, and celebrities line up to get a FROW spot and catch a glimpse of the next in-vogue trend, Yvan is often found sitting right at the end of all the action. Paper and various painting tools, including mediums ranging from liquid foundation to spray paint, scatter around him. To see a show through Yvan’s eyes makes for a wholly different artistic and fashionable education. In fact, this is one thing people have come to love about what Yvan adds to a fashion event: an entirely new art form, one that offers a point of view from the experience of the show, as seen through the eyes of a creator whose works strut off the beaten path. After all, on the runway, art is in motion. And so is Yvan.
On the runway, art is in motion. The colors, the shapes, the fabrics, the atmosphere. Everything works together as the inspiration for how I bring the canvas to life in a manner of minutes.
The lights dim and everyone is silent. As the music begins, everyone in the room is watching for the opening look. Those in the audience will analyze this important moment, taking in details, feeling the pulse and ambiance while forming an impression about the direction for what is coming. All eyes are glued on the show. Then, in the sea of people, one set of eyes looks down.
Head down. Images of his time backstage fill Yvan’s senses as he makes his first strokes. Then, he clears his mind. Yvan raises his head briefly as the first model comes closer, taking in her shape, the textures, the colors, the lines. Head down. He is thinking and feeling and painting all at the same time. Ink, paint, eyeshadow. Feel the music, sense atmosphere. Head up. Rhythm, presence. Fabrics. Head down. He lets the brush tell the story of the energy in the room. Head up. Style, facial expressions. Evolution of design. Head down. Shapes. Outlines. Brushes. Draw. Next model. Head up. The design, the look. Movement. Head down. Paint. Angles. Foundation. Emotion. Themes. Head up. He soaks in the feelings of the overall collection. Head down. Layer the story and messages through it all. Detail. Broad strokes. Ink. Brush. Grand finale. Head up. Perspective. Persona. Collection. Season. Head down. Crescendo. Applause. Last stroke.
Yvan Deng, exhausted, collects his things.
The music, the movement, the models, all combine in Yvan Deng’s mind, creating a backdrop for his vision of fashion and art.
Yvan is the only live illustrator at Shanghai Fashion Week. In the busiest time, this can mean capturing twenty shows, creating twenty improvisational artworks from scratch, in just a few days. This breakneck pace of work can leave him utterly exhausted, at times collapsed on the floor by the end of the day.
While there is much excitement and success, there are still times that his work is rejected, times he is not accepted or included in the industry. His Partner and Manager, Rodrigo, continues to hustle and support them. Together they kept pushing, imagining, working hard day by day at getting Yvan’s work seen and recognized.
Texts are abstracted from Yvan Deng: Dissociative Identity by Kelsey Heeringa, All Rights Reserved by YVAN DENG STUDIO © -2021