Friday, September 16, 2011

A few questions with Yu-Kai Lin

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Yu-Kai Lin
  • Mike Cooke
  • Yu-Kai Lin
Fall could be felt in the air last Friday during a night of art openings in Buckhead. Though Castleberry Hill, the Westside, and the Ponce corridor get lots of attention for their signature art walks, Buckhead (which also hosts an art walk the first Thursday of the month) maintains its status as fine art-for-sale leader. The neighborhood recently upped its ante with the relocation of Kai Lin Art Gallery from Midtown. Kai Lin Art's brand new space next to the Buckhead Theatre also includes an attached art shop. Creative Loafing spoke with gallery owner Yu-Kai Lin after the opening for his gallery’s first Buckhead show, Monsters 2.0.

Why did you choose to move to Buckhead?
I grew up in Atlanta and live in Buckhead. More importantly, I feel the old space wasn't amenable to building the art shop, being just one big room. The new space has more nooks and crannies, making it more adaptable to include art that's handcrafted and not just art that hangs on the wall. Pillows, vinyl, toys, and we have all those knickknacks at a price that makes them attainable in the current economic world. This building was at one point going to be torn down. Now they are planning to spruce it up and add some stuff. It's a highly visible location; it is actually busier here than in Midtown.

You already had a noteworthy established following in the gay community and the Atlanta art community at large. Talk about the turnout for Monsters 2.0.
The turnout was enormous. It was way better than I had ever hoped for or expected. I do what I do and hope that people are interested in coming. They come by the masses. I don't have many expectations. I work really hard and love being a gallery owner. I feel like I'm just a big marketing machine for the artists we represent. We advertise with gay publications, but being seen as a gay gallery isn't my intention. My gallery caters to anyone and everyone that likes local contemporary art.

Regarding the other galleries in Buckhead Village, was there resistance?
No. I haven't reached out, but I'm happy galleries are around us. We were a stand-alone destination in Midtown. Now I'm riding a crest of a wave we established there. I'd like to be a part of their art walk in the future.

You and SCAD’s ACA Gallery have moved or closed. Can a gallery survive in Midtown?
Midtown was great. We survived. It's doable but it has to be the right economic climate. Atlanta is a very transient city and there's always going to be movement around the city. We are constantly renewing ourselves.

Monsters 2.0 continues through Oct. 21 and will wrap with an artists’ mixer. Kai Lin Art, 3096 Roswell Road. 404-408-4248. www.kailinart.com.

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