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Photography - Jacob Yeung

Artist: Jacob Yeung, 39

Chicago, IL

Ethnicity: Chinese

1. "Wisdom comes from nothingness" is a single image taken from a collection of surrealistic photographic self-portraits titled Jacob’s Ladder, taken inside my living room throughout the Covid-19 pandemic (2020-2021).


2. Creating these images helped to manage the effects of isolation, such as loneliness, despair, and cognitive decline. The nightly ritual of preparing the lighting set-up, conceptualizing, and experimenting through much trial and error was also a retreat from the troubling social discourse and anxieties of the time. As a regular practice, I meditate and use my art to turn inward and explore my reality within. This project’s focus is to correspond those abstract ideas about the self, to myself and others through photographic storytelling. "Wisdom comes from nothingness" represents the power of intuitive insight as the two figures are one with no clear boundary.


3. These highly symbolic images represent my interests in philosophies and spiritual beliefs, channeling ideas taken from tarot, astrology, and kabbalah. Using light painting and other special effects, each image documents both technical performance and theatrical performance in self-portraiture.


4. This series really helped me get lost in new processes, find a novel passion for art-making, and finally conceptualizing ideas related to personal growth and development in a fun and abstract way. I believe there are psychological benefits of exploring the psyche through symbolic visual art and performance. By stirring the soul, it makes the unconscious conscious, enabling growth when confronted with whatever arises. Putting this together has been a meditation on the grander scheme of life which gives me a fuller realization of self and confidence.


5. Treating art with the respect of religious practice is a powerful thing to discover. I hope to inspire others to experiment with unorthodox ideas and to lose themselves in art, meditation, philosophy, and spirituality, for inner fortitude and development.

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