There may be many Pablos, but only one can be Picasso.

The same goes for New York by way of Taiwan artist John Yuyi, whose Instagram is like an art gallery. If you look carefully at her feed, you can see why she's dubbed as the "Willy Wonka of the Art World".

No other artist out there can reproduce Yuyi's style of portraiture, which features temporary tattoos of social media logos. Not a single soul (except for Yuyi herself) can rock faux piercings made out of dry noodles. The magic of Yuyi's deft artistry pushes the definition of art to the very edge of the envelope where searching for the meaning of art is an obsolete task.

Here, Yuyi and I discuss social media, beauty standards, and why there is no such thing as trying or losing.

Mountain View

You started out as an artist, where you focused on drawing, then you jumped into the fashion industry by interning at Jason Wu and working as a Vogue assistant. Along the way, you launched a clothing and swimwear line. Later, you returned to art. What made you change your focus from fashion to art?

Actually, I started out as a fashion design student and graduated from Fashion Design University in Taiwan, then I had an accidental opportunity with Jason Wu, and worked as an assistant in Vogue Taiwan. And then I started my swimsuit collection and it was kind of the start for me to be involved in the art field.

Since I was a child, I loved to draw and do something interesting. It's all a sudden thought. I did my clay photography swimsuit collection and it was just simply because I have an anxiety problem all the time. It's to ease my anxiety. After that, I had this tattoo idea - 'cause right after I graduated, I drew some illustrations for temporary tattoos and decided to sell it. I got a working artist visa for USA, so I went back to NYC and then, I shot the face post for fun with my friend. It kind of went viral on social media. So, I think maybe I can do that as a long term project.

As an artist, you specialize in drawing and photography. Who/what motivated you to pursue both mediums?

I don't specialize with drawing. Well, I don't think anyone motivated me to pursue any mediums. As I said, it's all come quite sudden. I love to observe either real life or online media. So, my ideas all come from the observation of my daily life.

I've seen that you are well-known for combining photographs within photographs as seen on the Skin on Skin project. For instance, you plastered photos of yourself on slabs of meat, then you photographed it. How did you develop this concept and what was the process like?

Ok, this is also a sudden idea that came to my mind. I was in the studio in NYC where me and my art partners were brainstorming and I suddenly came up with this idea: "WHY SHOULDN'T I PUT MYSELF ON A MEAT[?]!!!!!!" and all my Face Post projects are all related to the model themselves or related to me. I love the skin and I love the concept that my idea on their body is a cycle such as the Face Post. We post our Face Photo all the time on social media and then we shot the photography that the model got the post on their face, and after we've done the shoot, they will post the shooting photo on social media again. It's a cycle - so as the "Skin on Skin' project. It's a "skin" on "skin".

You continue the drawings on skin concept by turning Facebook pages, Instagram feeds and Snapchat profiles into temporary tattoos that were plastered on the models' faces. Considering that you comment on social media, I recall that so many millennials in Taiwan consume it. Although mass media depicts the excessive use of social media as a negative thing, did you intend to present your artwork as a correlation to public opinion?

I never think too much like about politics or the big meaning of my work. I think I just reflect what is going on in youth culture.

Considering that social media perpetuates and responds beauty standards, I've seen that you did an anime-inspired photo series where you illustrate cartoon eyes, contact lenses and kanji script on the model's face. Like social media, anime also peddles a beauty standard on the appearance of female characters. Why have you chosen to specifically focus on anime for your photo series?

That shoot is a collab with artist and singer Rina Sawayama; we decided to do a collab which brought up the issue around Asian beauty standards. In Asia, we consider whiter skin tones, bigger eyes, long eyelashes, double eyelids, etc. are the mainstream beauty standard. We have makeup tutorials that teach us how to get guys and to do makeup that looks like mixed girls, etc. so we try to bring out this culture by the image we put on the face. Anime eyes are quite symbolic for Asian beauty standards 'cause a lot of girls try to have those bling-bling big eyes.

You once said in an interview that you want do not want young Taiwanese youth to be afraid of trying or losing. What were you specifically referring to? Why do you think that they should not be afraid of trying or losing?

I think it's because our education has a very serious problem. They don't educate us to think what we really want in the future after we've graduated or even when we are in school. I always think that if you already know what you're gonna do in the future, you even don't need to finish uni. All we know is we need to go to a fine high school and then go to a good uni. You get the degree and also our market in this field is small. Very small. So if you don't have skills to earn the money, it's difficult to support your creative work. That's because the environment is not friendly for young people to do what they wanna do - maybe it's the parents' expectation. So a lot of reasons cause this problem. But, I feel that more and more young people are willing to try even though the whole industry is not good enough. But, we've still got talented young people here.

Mountain View

You can view more of Yuyi's work by heading here.