Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Berlin based, Kicki is a third-culture kid, having grown up in Shanghai until she was five before her family returned to Germany. As a creative, Kicki uses her face as a blank canvas to create artwork that challenges gender norms, societal expectations and politics. Showcasing her artistic vision through her Instagram channel she's the latest Gen Z creator to be pushing traditional creative boundaries.
As part of the Polaroid Now+ project, Kicki Yang Zhang, has worked with the infamous instant analogue camera brand Polaroid to launch its most creative camera yet which boasts several new and enhanced features such as tripod mode, aperture priority and an updated manual mode from the previous OneStep+ model.
We spoke to Kicki about her collaboration with Polaroid and why photography is important in her every day life.
What is special about the new Polaroid Now+?
I really love the concept of combining old and new. Instant film is a technology which has been around for waaaay longer than phones, and still Polaroid managed to bring these two together. Also the quality of the photos are great. When we were shooting I was surprised by the details on the photos.
Why have you decided to collaborate with Polaroid?
I have always loved Polaroid. I really love film photography in general. We take so many digital photos every day and we rarely appreciate them the way we should, whereas film makes the photos much more unique and special. I also love scrapbooking and bullet journals and Polaroid pictures are an amazing addition for that.
You're a beauty content creator, how important is photography in your everyday job?
Makeup looks that I do are only temporary. At the end of the day I have to wash my face. But the photo of it stays forever. So for me doing makeup and photography are in perfect harmony with each other.
You're a great designer, how did it all start?
I think I was lucky to discover my natural interest, which is drawing, at a very young age. I would have never thought I would do it as a job one day, but I never stopped practicing my craft. The medium on which I draw and design might change but the passion for it itself was always there.
Where do you find inspiration?
A lot in my culture but also in everyday things and conversations. Also a lot of times in my dreams. I dream very intensely and the wildest stuff happens and it is great material for creative work.
What is it like to be an artist in a cosmopolitan city like Berlin?
I think Berlin is very affordable in comparison to other cosmopolitan cities, this is why it leaves artists here a lot more freedom to create without the constant pressure of getting by financially. Also I really like that it’s a melting pot of a lot of different people and in comparison to the rest of Germany it feels very international. I love to meet other artists from around the world.
What is next for you now?
All the plans I ever made for the future never went the way I had planned it, but the funny thing is all of these “failures” of my plans ended in something even better than what I have planned. I guess the only certainty I have is that the future is uncertain, so I will continue to work hard on my craft and the attraction of great things will happen.
Words by Sal F.