Lana Yuan x 401 Richmond: Local Artist on the Rise

Every year since 2000, 401 Richmond has given out a prize to an emerging Toronto visual artist, to celebrate their work and propel their career to new heights. As 401’s official Community Connectivity Partner, Beanfield is always excited to see who their next celebrated artist will be. The most recent recipient of the 401 Career Launcher Prize is Lana Yuan, an artist partial to sculpture and found object work, often incorporating technology and industrial components into her art. 

“Observing everyday life through the eyes of a kid is something I would like to do. By creating art that evokes childhood nostalgia, I encourage people to break down social barriers and establish new relationships with their surrounding environments” said Yuan, when asked at what age she began her interest in the creative world. 

Her interest in found object art began at a young age, scavenging the recycling for new and interesting materials she could use in her art. “Growing up, I had a few outlets for creating art. Drawing, painting and paper folding were the main activities I regularly did. As for other materials, I always used found objects that could be recycled or repurposed to make toys.” Her choice in materials was always creative, even using discarded cigarette packets as a medium. “One summer in primary school, at around 10 or 11, my friends and I picked up more than 200 cigarette packets. We tore off the lids of the packets, took them apart, and folded them again to turn them into game cards with beautiful illustrations.” 

Lana’s work evolved over time, keeping its roots in the found object field, but branching out and eventually forming her own distinct style – one that has come to be appreciated by the collective at 401. “We were very excited by Lana Yuan’s ambitious and unusual use of found objects, manufactured components and technology to create evocative mashups that are equally bizarre, humorous and complex. Not only is her practice deserving of this recognition, but we are confident that she will make excellent use of the awarded studio space in the creation of future work that both confounds and amuses.” noted the 401 staff in their article announcing Yuan as the recipient for the 2022 prize. 

Since then, she’s made the most of her time working with 401. “My experience at 401 Richmond has been incredibly rewarding. As an artist, as I am able to collaborate with a wide range of creative people in a building that is full of potential.” 

We were curious to see what role the Internet we provide to 401, and by extension, to Yuan, would play in her work. In an interview, she revealed that the Internet is a large part of her creating and planning process.“By utilizing online platforms such as Artsy, JSTOR, and The New York Times, I can access worldwide knowledge and resources to help inform my art-making process.” 

We can’t wait to see what Lana will do next. If you want to follow her journey, you can connect with her on Instagram @lana_yuan or visit her website to learn more about her work, view her portfolio, and more! 

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