As an art director, Youjia Qian believes her craft enables her to express and explain what is in her heart. The most profound pieces for her are visual, and she has spent her life trying to showcase that. With every new project she embarks on, she aims to present what she has seen and experienced in her life, and that is why her work resonates so well with her audience.
Qian is vastly experienced in an array of mediums. Whether she is working on a film, commercial, or music video, her work as both an art director and stylist visually enhance the project. Many music videos Qian has taken on have gone on to see great success because of her contributions, such as the “Say Less” video for Roy Woods, and “Devil in California” by Burna Boy.
“I think I am a perceptual person, so I will be extremely immersed in the message being expressed in films. Through the learning of graphic arts and fashion, I do aim to employ the best style and art shape into dynamic art film to help musicians and artists to show their emotion,” she said.
It is due to her impressive reputation making music videos that Qian was chosen as Art Director for the “Starwalk” commercial for none other than the famous department store Barneys New York earlier this year. Qian has been responsible for the art direction and branding of the Starwalk shoe brand for a long time. The company was launched by the rapper Gab3, who Qian has a close working relationship with after working on several of his music videos, including “Talking to Me” and “Hollywood Angel” featuring BEXEY. Taking over for the merger between the shoe brand and Barneys was exciting for her. She knew just how to communicate the styles that both parties typically possess.
“Barneys New York is a store I often go shopping at, so it is my pleasure to work with such a big and reputable company. I am very grateful for their trust in my ability of art direction,” said Qian.
Because Starwalk is a sneaker brand, in order to make the whole advertisement look more advanced and fashionable, Qian chose to use a film camera to complete the shooting. This ensured that the advertisement was artistic and had a high-level, extravagant feeling. The inaugural Starwalk silhouette draws heavily from the design of the court classic Nike Air Force 1 and expresses Gab3’s signature extraterrestrial aesthetic. The silhouette’s upper is constructed of premium paneled leather and accented by a shooting star motif, Starwalk heel embroidery and a simple chunky sole unit.
“Because we have been working together for a long time, the brand party trusts me, which allowed me to play and experiment freely during the shooting. It is because of this that this advertisement has finally achieved success, including styling and the way of taking pictures, which are determined according to my own wishes,” Qian described.
The shoes were released in February 2018, and Qian’s work was picked up by various media outlets and several social media accounts. The use of a film camera and distinct color in the piece was extremely original and garnered much deserved attention for the art director.
“I am very happy that everyone recognizes my work of plain shooting and styling. The shoes sold out in one day, which made me very happy,” said Qian.
After such tremendous success on her premiere project with Barneys New York, Qian will continue to work on upcoming campaigns for the store. Keep an eye out for her future work.