Liu Yi-Qing, who also goes by the name Turquoise-Headed One, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University. She is a photographer, illustrator, multimedia artist, video director and VJ, and her primary subject matter is Shanghai’s vibrant youth culture.
Jam Can you describe yourself?
Liu Yi-qing Hmm… extremely shy. Not very conscienscious, because I am lazy and forget things easily. Also, really sensitive – I don’t like to speak up. I get very enthusiastic about new things, but if I go too far in the wrong direction, I give up. It’s kind of a man’s style of thinking.
J Do you find everyday life difficult?
LY [sighs] I don’t know. I actually think I... I am kind of fine, except that I stammer. I have some listening trouble, I get out of breath when I talk... Sometimes I am too lazy to talk at all. It’s really tiring. I don’t actually think it is so bad of me, but it does seems to bother others – if so, I am really sorry. You know, when I talk, I will, “Uh... Uh...” If I don’t know you, this is the only word I say, and then dot dot dot.
J When did you start to stammer?
LY I’m not sure, but by the time I started to read. My father stammers too, and one of my cousins and his father. They are all quite scientific: my father is an inventor and my cousin’s father is a university maths professor. When my father gets excited, he stammers, and if he can’t speak properly to somebody, he lashes out. When I speak Shanghainese I don’t stammer, but I do stammer quite a lot in Mandarin. And my cousin, he does it because he used to imitate me all the time! Haha! Talk about annoying. I never feel ashamed about myself, because my father has the same problem. But I really hate it when people ask me not to stammer – I wish they’d end up like my cousin! Anyway, to stop myself from stammering, I try to slow myself down. When I went to university, I spoke super slow, like an old lady. I rarely talked with my classmates – I felt like they wouldn’t understand me anyway. But I realised later that it was nothing to do with my stammer. It’s because when I talk, my mind is jumping. I thought that they could jump with me, but actually it’s all Greek to them.
J Do you think becoming a photographer has anything to do with your stammer?
LY Hmm… maybe. I don’t like to talk much. And after a while, it’s like I don’t know how to talk. Maybe it’s to do with my ears – I just don’t want to offend or irritate others. It makes me quite tense. But actually, my “problem” helps me shut out the outside world, and I have my own little world that is much better. §
Text and images courtesy Art World