Chinese multimedia artist YiZhou was raised in Rome, Italy and studied in Paris and London, earning degrees in political science and economics. She is a polyglot artist whose video works have been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. In 2010, she relocated to China and founded her creative strategy digital production company YiZhou Studio www.yizhoustudio.com in Shanghai and Hong Kong. She founded YiZhou Studio LA as the US branch in 2018. YiZhou is currently developing her first feature film as a writer/director and plans to invest into Hollywood and Chinese co-productions via her new company “Into the Sun Investment.” She is the founder of the new fashion brand Global Intuition that will launch in Fred Segal stores in September 2018.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I went to primary school at the age of four. That was my first disruptive act. I was tired of being in kindergarten and wanted to go to primary school, as I already knew how to write and read Chinese since the age of two or three and was keen to learn more.
I was living with my grandparents then and they requested that I be admitted to the primary class, but the request was rejected by the school’s dean. My grandmother and I decided to go there on a daily basis as a sort of pilgrimage, to convince the dean to admit me.
After one month of insistence, the dean decided to let me in. The admission was a victory to our eyes, yet it represented my first act of disruption.
Why did you found your company?
I started my first company YiZhou Studio in China in late 2011 after completing my studies in London and Paris and spending most of my life in Europe.
I was just an artist back then and thought I would only produce art videos for my exhibitions. Things, however, took a different turn when I started being approached by luxury brands to handle their China strategy, as well as provide PR and social media support to their local teams. So we started doing more and more work in the luxury field.
This has led to a new wave for us to work with strategic partners with companies like Partizan, Vroom or a global company that wishes to focus on the China market for luxury brand digital assets creation and strategy. All of this led to the creation of my own fashion and lifestyle brand: Global Intuition, launching soon with an exclusive party and window display at the iconic Fred Segal store in Los Angeles.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I don’t try to be disruptive but I think my personality is disruptive by nature.
I like to challenge myself with something new every day so that I don’t become bored. I wish to leave behind to future generations something they can remember, not just my art, but also from my companies and goods, and my overall life.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
My spiritual gurus: David Lynch, Deepak Chopra, and Andrey Lappa.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I’m preparing my first feature film as writer, producer, actor, set and costume designer, and hopefully, as director as well. I am also happy to be able to embrace a new chapter in my life, imbued with more US culture, and friends, as I take new baby steps in the entertainment industry.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each
I have been practicing boxing lately. Boxing concepts have been an inspiration to me, so I would like to share some wise words from the legendary Muhammad Ali.
“Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” I think this is a great quote because we don’t reach the solution or goal without suffering. I suffer and I’m ready to suffer everyday because it feels much better each time after the suffering.
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” I believe life is a permanent and ongoing show, and we must be ready to dance / perform.
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” Self confidence and the idea of owning it is enhanced in the ring and at training sessions. I’m glad to take this philosophy to the streets and to my daily life as an attitude.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
Sit-in podcast by Ally Hilfiger and Steve Hash, I did their interview last year and love their eclectic mix of guests and the way the podcast is cut.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would like to meet Malala Yousafzai and learn more about her advocacy for girls.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Originally published at medium.com