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Work / Film

Yale grad Qiong Li takes us behind the W+K NY Instagram

We’ve had one eye on Yale grad Qiong Li for a while now so when the Chinese-born, New York-based creative got in touch, we jumped at the opportunity to find out a bit more about her often cryptic work.

“I have always been interested in graphic design, which maybe started the day when I doodled all over the freshly painted wall of our house when I was a kid, which made my mum really mad,” Qiong began. After studying industrial design at Zhejiang University “where I got lots of chances to have workshops with teachers from different countries” Qiong was able to “see the possibilities in design and the designers.”

“I didn’t really know what graphic design was until I became friends with some designers,” Qiong admits. “After seeing their projects and their perspectives, I got into graphic design. I wanted to learn more about it, so I went to a studio in China after graduation. After working for a while, doing client work and improving my skills, I realised that client work could not really fulfil me and I wanted to have a period time that I could really explore the things that I’m interested in and develop my own body of work.”

To that ends, Qiong applied to the graphic design school of the moment, Yale. “With having a vague idea of developing my own visual methodology, I applied to Yale and got accepted then I came to the US. I graduated last year in 2016, after that, I spent the summer meeting different studios and people with very few feeling right to me until I met with Richard Turley. I felt he might be the right person to work with – the energy, the playfulness and the humour – so I ended up working at Wieden+Kennedy for six months doing lots of videos.”

Wieden+Kennedy New York’s experimental website and Instagram page WKTV describes itself as “content-free content for post-truth survivalists”. WKTV brings together internet art with physical pranks and “Monday mood” memes with office LOLs. Among the videos is Qiong’s avatar, named W+K bad girl. “The video you see is a combination of all the scattered videos – I think there are eight so far – on the internet like those fragmented voices exist on the internet,” Qiong explains. “Bad girl is a collective voice to represent voices from office life, kinda to give you a peep of how the office lives and how people might live at Wieden+Kennedy. It is self-reflective.”

While at Wieden+Kennedy, Qiong also worked on a Times Square billboard project, “for which I wrote some very intimate sentences in multiple languages – it was up there for a month”. As for the near future, Qiong tells us “I plan to teach this summer in New York and after that, of course, gonna spend some time to do some personal projects, and then we’ll see…”

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Qiong Li

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Qiong Li

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Qiong Li

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Qiong Li

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Qiong Li