“I think that animation is a great tool to put across sensitive topics because it has so many ways to do it,” Yan Dan Wong tells It’s Nice That of her animation practice. Her work has an overarching theme of exploring tricky topics — from addiction to abuse — with incredible sensitivity. “We can tone down the violent side by not actually showing it visually, but using a more abstract way to show it, and enhancing it with the use of sound,” explains Yan. “Another example is that by using animation, we can choose not to show the faces of the people in the subject, but still able to get the message across visually by having a less rendered outline of a person. We have the control on how much we want the audience to experience.”
Yan’s animations hold a strong narrative, allowing her work to speak gently to the viewer about the topics she covers whilst conveying the story powerfully. “I really like telling stories and exploring feelings,” says Yan. “I am grateful that the projects I have been involved in have given me the opportunity to create meaningful connections, build empathy and shine a spotlight on topics that are often forgotten. I am happy that I am working towards this direction too, because I hope that the visuals I create help in a way to make people think or feel.”
Research on the topics she covers is of key importance to Yan, but this doesn’t mean she wants to dictate how her viewers respond to each work. "I focus on bringing across the basic message of each piece, but I also try to leave space for imagination. I don’t want it to be one-sided, nor do I want to give a definite answer, because ultimately everyone thinks and feels differently, and everyone takes it away differently in their interpretation,” Yan explains. "Each project develops and unfolds as I research and find out more about the subject.”
Yan’s sensitivity, revealed through her stylistic choices, ensures her animations confidently tell their stories whilst also respecting the difficult nature of the emotions they may bring to the surface. And that’s vital considering the topics she tackles.