Artist Statement: Lindsey Yankey grew up in rural Kansas playing outside, painting, drawing, and playing sports. She studied Illustration at the University of Kansas and is currently living in Lawrence, KS, with her family and their jungle of house plants. She finds inspiration in nature, animals, books, people, and traveling. Her illustrations are made with a variety of materials. She loves the mouthwatering juiciness of oil paint, the independence watercolor, the history of found paper, the simplicity of pencil and pen, and all the rabbit holes that are revealed by carving linoleum block to create pattern and repetition. Making children's books is her way of combining all her loves.
What comes first – the medium or the message? Tell me a little about the work that will be on view.
The message comes first. These illustrations are from three of the picture books I've illustrated: Bluebird, Sun and Moon and My Grandma and Me. This collection of illustrations are from 2011-2017. Within that span of time I've worked in a number of different mediums. Bluebird being the first picture book I made, I worked primarily with oil paint and began dabbling in linoleum cut. With Sun and Moon I began to incorporate mixed media more boldly, combining oil paints, watercolor and linoleum cut. With My Grandma and Me I was primarily using watercolor, gouache, pencil and linoleum cut. In all these materials, I enjoy learning how to make them play well together, to create layering, depth and detail to tell a story with my own voice.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
My most important tool as an artist is my pencil. And any form of color, be it watercolor, paper scraps or colored pencils or pens.
Who do you consider your main artistic influences?
I like so many artists and illustrators. I tend to study them and make mental notes of what it is about their work that appeals to me, and then put it away. I want my influences to inform my work, but not look like someone else's work. I've always loved Matisse and his use of color and shape. I admire Henri Rousseau's paintings that involve jungles. Lately I've spent a lot of time studying the composition and movement of French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue. In terms of modern artists, I love the way that Amy Sherald combines portraiture, pattern and flat color. Children's book illustrator Shaun Tan was a huge early influence for me when I first started making picture books— the way he captures tiny scenes and details in every aspect of his books has always fascinated me. Jessica Love is a children's book illustrator who has remarkable skills at capturing moments and the subtleties of human expression. Julián is a Mermaid is a new all time favorite. Additionally, I'm constantly making mental notes of color combinations that I want to try. Whether it's someone's outfit or a photo from around the world, I'm always looking for color inspiration.
What’s the most challenging thing about your creative process?
Finishing/knowing when something is done. Sometimes that line is hard to cross. I really enjoy the creative process of making pictures, so by the time they are almost done, I feel like I've nearly expended my interest in that particular illustration and I’m ready to move on to the next. Working on multiple illustrations at once helps with this.
Please list 5-10 books, movies and/or music that currently inspire you.
Diary of a Century by Jacques-Henri Lartigue
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty
This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
Du Is Tak by Carson Ellis
The Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson
Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings