FOR ARTISTS WHO KEEP CREATING
Key Elements Studio is a non-profit organization founded by a team of women of color who are dedicated to promoting diversity and creativity in the world of art and publishing. Through online exhibitions, electronic journals, and conversations with established artists, our mission is to provide a platform/community that supports emerging artists, amplifies underrepresented voices, generates new ideas, and fosters critical discourse.
K.E KEYI ZHANG, FOUNDER/CHAIR
K.E Keyi Zhang is an Architect and multimedia Artist, a BFA graduate of the SAIC, Master of Architecture Candidate at Cornell University. Keyi focused on Architecture, Eco Design, Historic Preservation, and Graphic Design during her undergraduate studies. Most of her Architecture designs deal with conflicts and cooperation between historic-cultural context and future development. Her installation proposes and considers time, space, and material flow. Keyi was curation volunteer for Chicago Architecture Biannual and Chicago Open House. Keyi is the main writer and chief editor of ZL Garden. As a Graphic designer, Keyi is excited to be able to communicate design ideas with others with her drawings. She has been instrumental in creating many journeys on NEXT.cc and starting NEXT.cc’s Worksheets series for K12 students.
CHENYU LIN, CO-FOUNDER
ChenYu is a Chicago-based Architect/Animation Artist studying in AIADO/FVNMA department in SAIC. ChenYu is passionate about ancient Chinese Architecture and the inheritance of Chinese Culture, and she is the main writer and main editor in ZL Garden. For every journal in ZL Garden, ChenYu tries to experience those places in person before writing. ChenYu is excited to make animation artworks and video editing as well. ChenYu has great leadership skills as will, and she works in SAIC CSSA to help creating involved community for international students for two years.
VIVI SHEN, CO-FOUNDER
Vivi Shen is a graphic designer studying in VISCOM department in SAIC. Her strength is designing visual elements to express complex information and data set in simple and engaging ways on different kinds of 2D visual media, especially on printed media. Vivi have a good team spirit, so she can quickly integrate into the new team and complete the task together. Vivi is especially passionate about publication design, and controlling the space on 2D surfaces. Vivi also like to research and explore the peaceful relationship between text and imagery. Vivi worked as Assistant Curator at Ningbo Yangfan Art Museum located in Zhejiang.
ASH YUXUAN WEI, CO-FOUNDER
Ash Yuxuan Wei is a graphic designer and book artist based in Chicago and Boston. Through her practice of reconsidering publishing in various metaphors, Ash wishes to explore the value of books and the communities around them. She is passionate about approaching graphic design topics utilizing multidisciplinary art practices. By questioning the boundaries and limitations of traditional books and publishing, Ash seeks to use books as an art form to open up conversations and build connections.
WANTONG YAO, CO-FOUNDER
Wantong Yao is a new media artist from Shenzhen, China. Using 3D, creative coding, and game design, her work focuses on building interconnected systems exposing imbalanced power dynamics and fuzzy boundaries between entanglements. Previously Yao worked collaboratively with NYU art professor Snow Yunxue Fu, developing independent games and VR experiences. Now she works under the Shenzhen-based design collective Creamory as a multimedia designer and curator. She obtained a BFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2021. She is an MFA candidate at the University of California Los Angeles Design Media Arts.
Vesper Jia (b. China, 1999) is an artist and writer who plays with various materials and explores their metaphorical meaning. Inspired by language and literature, she incorporates the essence of imagery and metaphor in her visual art works. Each physical and representational element of her works could be seen as symbols, through which she celebrates as well as challenges the materiality, and generates as well as provokes reflections. Her works draw a shape of the vital, the mortal, the mystic, and the dualistic, as “works made for contemplation.”
Lisha Chen is an artist focusing on digital sociology and biological relationships. Her art practices are mostly conceptual art pieces with interdisciplinary approaches from sculpture, performance, virtual reality, fashion, comics, etc. Her recent practices tended to combine objects with performance, taking the objects to their next level of logical activation. She believes art can help people see the new possibilities of life in the alienated contemporary. Lisha obtained an undergraduate degree in industrial design in China, currently a graduate student in designed objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She had exhibition in World Organization of Video Culture and Development, Power Station of Art (Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art), Chronus Art Center, and PIS Global presents.
Madeleine Aguilar tells stories, builds archives, maps spaces, constructs furniture, records histories, organizes data, catalogs objects, prints publications, creates frameworks, collects imagery, acquires trades, ties knots, repurposes materials, imitates structures, utilizes chance, plays instruments, follows intuition, prompts participation, guides observation, leaves evidence, develops routines, takes walks, breaks habits, and makes lists.
Ning is a multifaceted creative whose interdisciplinary practice spans architecture, performance, film, and wearable art in New York and Chicago. Much of her practice frames human engagement at varying and related scales. This involves critically looking at the way objects, interiors, community, and urbanism take form in our everyday lives. The interdisciplinary nature of learning led her to realize her interests in architecture, fashion, furniture, branding, and photography. Developing experience spans all phases of theoretical architecture concept, practice architecture projects, exhibition planning, and symbolic wearable arts.
Xintong is a multi-talented, instinctive yet playful creator mainly diving into photography, visual art(both digital and freehand), and interior architecture. With a mingle background of 2D and 3D practicing, she is always on her way to seek more collaborations of mediums in any art interventions. Not only she projects her instinct and enlightenment on art and design, but also on life, as a reflection of now and a trigger for the future. To celebrate her ego-growth as a human being, she decided not just to be the agent of art, but she will cast her style with the stereoscopic concept of 2D installation in the next decade.
Hi, I’am Hurrot. I created a name for me Hurrot, Hu+Carrot.
Currently working as a product designer on Yahoo Mail. I am exploring infinite possibilities of interaction between human and computer programming by collaborating with diverse professionals around the globe. My enthusiasm in UI/UX motivates me to break through constraints and unleash the willpower of societal advancement. Before being a product designer, I was a motion, visual, and graphic designer.
Milly Huang is a BFA from SAIC and a fashion designer. When practicing Fashion Design, she usually explores and discusses the issues and relationships between different people, individuals, and society. Then she incorporates them into the design, like various silhouettes and color usage in the garments, to evoke people to think about them.
Kai Hough is a British-American contemporary cinema-photographer, filmmaker and travel research-based artist. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2021) with a merit scholarship, specialising in Photography and Film. His work is rooted in his passion and research in filmmaking and advertisement and combining the relationship between cinematography and photography into an intertwined system that's shown within his body of work that challenges the difficulties of love, technology and the representation of self and belonging.
WOO YEON KIM
Hi! My name is Woo yeon Kim but most people call me Woo. I am a new media artist residing in Chicago. A lot of my work has to do with examining post-humanism, for instance, my individual art collective in my ancestral history, and combining it with other disciplines to engage with the complexities of our realities and our perceptions. Therefore, my work mostly ends up having to do with dreams, sensory experiences, emotions, and how they all interact with each other to highlight the complex. It’s all about us trying to digest physical and digital realities.
My work involves painting and printmaking, pursuing an approach to storytelling based on my personal experience. They are images of intimate spaces: a dim corner of the bathroom, a passage in the desert, or a scale in the men's room. These tend to be fleeting moments with places of passage and places of maintenance rather than destinations. Oil painting is an extension of the world of etching. They are explorations of formal and informal aspects of images such as perspective, reflection, drama, and more. While the process of making an etching is my meditation for embracing everyday scenes, it is inevitable when the desire to reach a destination starts to creep in. As such, the paintings transcend the ambiguity, emptiness, and symbolism of images to become fleeting moments of contentment.
Mavis Zhao obtained BFA in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a candidate for the Master of Architecture at UCLA. As an architect, I am deeply inspired by the possibilities of design and the impact it can have on the world. I design serious playful spaces, things and stories that evoke emotions, stir the imagination, and bring joy. Architecture for me is positioned as an active character in the world, enacting a future full of wonder, humor, color, and delight.
Bella Chen's design philosophy is to regard clothing as an important way to express one's inner world and values, but it is more about making people think rather than trying to change people's thinking. She focus on women's dressing. While exploring women's identities and roles in different social and cultural environments, She try to use silhouettes to express stories and convey different emotions and images. Her design works are derived and continuously developed and interrelated. Each work has its own story and theme, but they are all dedicated to exploring women's identity and values, and at the same time thinking about the place of men in a patriarchal society. The resulting female self-loathing and gynogenesis toward other females. She combine shapes, materials and colors to create unique clothing styles that lead people to explore their inner and outer worlds.
Doyeon Kim is a current MFA student at the University of California, Los Angeles Design Media Arts Department. His work primarily focuses on experimenting with 3D computer graphic software, aiming to divert its industrial methodology and challenge its dominant influences on our world. Many of his works are inspired by his experience of onboarding on a naval warship for two years, which he always references fluidity for visual language. Tides and waves are significant themes in his works, in which he uses them as tropes for incorporating discourses intertwined through digital culture. As a Seoul and Los Angeles resident, Doyeon Kim has two primary agendas guiding his work in each location. In Seoul, he contemplates urban life under constant consumeristic stimulation from ubiquitous digital signage walls. In Los Angeles, one of the most diverse cities in the world where harmony and tension coexist, he grapples with questions about self-identity amid colliding understandings, cultures, and languages. He seeks to stipulate the dominance and dynamics of overflowing digital culture through his work.
Xiner Lan (b. 2000) is a multi-media artist whose work spans video, performance, poetry, and installation. Merging game design and theater disciplines, she invents executable “scripts” in a polysemous language and enacts the text into scenes. Her works explore the complexity of reality through storytelling in virtual worlds entangled with loops, contradiction, and incompletion. Xiner received her B.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design and is currently an M.F.A. student at UCLA Design Media Arts.
Qianyue Chen (b. Guangdong, China) is a Boston-based artist and designer. She focuses on the ubiquitous but invisible individuals in social life, dedicates herself to shedding light on the neglected ones through her works, illuminating an intimate space for their implicit but dazzling self-manifestation.