“Fluid. Fluctuating. Always unapologetic,” visual artist Eve J. Liu describes her work as a photographer, model and curious observer. Growing up in Eden Prairie with her mother, Dongfeng Qi; father, Wei Liu; and sister, Lily Liu, she attended the city’s schools, including Eden Prairie High School for two years before transferring to The Blake School.
A college senior at Carleton College, Liu only picked up a camera about five years ago, but her work’s been published by Vogue Italia online, and L’Officiel (Lithuania and Austria), Shape, KALTBLUT and Atlas magazines, “But there’s definitely more to come,” she says—perhaps, an understatement.
“She has an eccentric and exquisite style, which she expresses through the play of color, details and dauntless poses,” says Pa Chia Vang, a model, content creator and videographer, who has collaborated with Liu on several fashion projects. “I think what makes her stand out is that she knows how to create the mood for her photos. It showcases her excellent creativity in production and detail. She is also very versatile in the types of photographs she produces. It is always different and inspiring.”
SWM: When did you realize you had an interest in art?
EL: “I’ve always loved reading, and I was always active in the visual and performing arts. At 4 years old, I was drawing and playing piano. In elementary school, I was doing Chinese folk dance. Throughout middle school and high school, I dabbled in different extracurriculars, but I never stopped reading and drawing.”
SWM: What local art classes helped develop your skill set?
EL: “Susan Murphy, back when I was taking art at [Central Middle School], was always so supportive. Her art class and after-school anime drawing club really fostered my creativity. From elementary school through high school, Susan and Bill Colburn [Blake] were my favorite art teachers.”
Photo by Eve J. Liu
SWM: What artists inspire you?
EL: “There are so many artists I admire, but some photographers I currently look up to are Zhang JiaCheng and Zhong Lin.”
Photo by Eve J. Liu
SWM: You mention that your favorite activity is connecting visually and socially with others.
EL: “For work and personal projects, I’m constantly meeting new people. When I work with a new team member, we always bounce off of each other’s creative energy. The process of creating a photo together is a social, visual and artistic bonding activity.”
SWM: You’ve switched places, going in front of the camera to model.
EL: “… My modeling work has also been published on Vogue Italia online, KALTBLUT magazine and smaller web magazines. I’ve been focused on [photography], but I’d love to jump back into modeling. [She’s with Ignite Models, Minneapolis.] I’ve been booking more self-portrait work recently, which I love. This summer, I photographed myself for Lulu Frost’s fall/winter collection. My friend Vivian Wang did the makeup. It was super fun.”
SWM: Why are you pursuing anthropology, rather than fine art, at Carleton?
EL: “I came into college interested in math, physics and political science, before quickly realizing they weren’t for me. I fell in love with my first anthropology class because it helped me verbalize and understand my past experiences— encounters and phenomena … People ask me all the time what anthropology is and how it’ll be useful in the future. I think we all secretly use anthropology every day without realizing it. To me, anthropology is all about being curious about the human experience. Cultural anthropology looks at how culture shapes our lived experiences. I believe an anthropological gaze is essential to the arts and to fashion.”
SWM: What are your post college plans?
EL: “I’ll be moving to New York City to pursue storytelling in whichever form it takes.”