Romon Yang

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Tell us about yourself!

A design student majoring in graphics and object, with a high passion for photography

What drew you to these practices: 

My interest in artistic practices since a young age, especially from painting and illustrating, led to design and photography now.

Do you think it is the creative practitioners responsibility to be conscious of ethical art making?:

Firstly, I think it is very crucial for artists and designers to approach their practice with a strong sense of moral or ethics. Personally, within design, I aim to ensure that my works not only show my sense of aesthetic, but also be informative and provocative however restrained to a point where there isn’t a sense of prejudice or discrimination. Within photography is a different story, as for me delving into portraiture, I must establish a boundary between me and the model and make sure that both parties are on the same page when it comes down to what is required for the current shoot. It all falls to common sense and the understanding of what I am able to ask of the models versus what breaches barriers and the models sense of security.

Within the design field, it is said that changing more than 10% of someone else’s work can technically be considered your own and as disgusting as that sounds, it is the harsh reality within the creative field that all practitioners must accept. I think the practitioners individually play a huge role in ethical art making as we need to be conscious of environmental, cultural and sexual standards of the time, but most importantly being very mindful of precedents and ensuring that the work/s that one practitioner is making does not coincide with another pre-existing concept or work.

What are tips that you have for other artists / creative for ethical art-making:

The best tip I can possibly give is one that I have received from a current objects practitioner named Julia Charlies, who told me that ‘In order to avoid copyright or other ethical breaching practices, you must remember to keep on creating, keep making, keep generating new ideas’. This really resonated with me and I believe is such a great foundation to creative individuals because if you are able to develop original ideas first, it would be harder for other practitioners to either borrow, appropriate, or even steal your ideas. To reinforce and add onto this, I personally believe one needs to find their own sense of aesthetic that represents who they are as a creative, but then also to have a high sense of ethical behaviours, and to be respectful of others ideas and aesthetics.

How does culture interplay into your practice? 

I’m going to take the path that defines culture as the behaviour of a group of people, particularly creative practitioners who are in similar fields to my own. In this case, the creative culture plays a huge part in the formulation of my ideas. The ever-growing web of social media (particularly instagram) allows our generation to be consistently inspired by more than just modern or contemporary ideas. These ‘new’ ideas repetitively push me to create something better than the previous and to follow a path of consistent self-reflection, and as a result, self-improvement.

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Do you actively aim to avoid cultural appropriation in your work? 

Yes. Retaining the same definition for ‘culture’ as the above statement, I try my best to avoid cultural appropriation as I believe thieving of other practitioners’ ideas is the worst thing you can do. In this creative field, especially, where a huge amount time is spent on experimenting, producing, refining the presentation of ideas, cultural appropriation seems almost inappropriate. This is not to say that appropriation is not a crime, as long as it is referenced properly. I believe appropriation is a great way of being inspired in the initial stages of creation. However, if the final outcome of a work is simply an appropriation of another work, then it displays two things; One has no strong sense of ethical conduct when it comes to respecting others’ creative practices, and the other being that one has no real sense of originality.

For me personally, I conjure as many key words that describe my aspired work as I can and do a very extensive Google image search to limit my chances of duplicating or appropriating someone else’s work. I encourage others to do this too as it not only ensures that your work has a high percentage of originality, but it should provide a sense of closure that the time spent on generating your ideas was not a waste. 

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What are your thoughts on cultural appropriation in creative fields?  

I think cultural appropriation, however you take the definition of ‘cultural’, is an inevitable act that will have no end. And it is important that us as creative practitioners come to an understanding that this is just the way it is. However, I also believe that if a greater number of people are educated on ethical practices and appropriation, it would not only provide greater security for intellectual property, but also have the potential to instigate a more understanding community.

Check out more of Romon’s work here: @roms.jpgromsdzine.com

Join the pledge for creative sensitivity here

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