“My work is bold, graphic, and in between abstract and representational”
Quick-fire questions with artist, Jocelyn Tsaih
Jocelyn’s work is really powerful. She uses simple and faceless figures to encompass the things that we all share universally. The abstract forms and stripped-back characteristics are easily distinguishable and create these playful characters that tell stories of both personal and universal experiences
Having collaborated with her to release 6 fine art prints, we wanted to dig a bit deeper and get to know the meanings and thoughts behind her work, so we sent some quick-fire questions her way
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m an artist currently in Oakland, California. I was born in Taipei and brought up in Shanghai, but I eventually moved to NY to study Graphic Design at the School of Visual Arts. Though I no longer do design, I believe my illustrations are largely influenced by my design education! I make a lot of editorial illustrations and murals, and recently have gotten into creating personal paintings as well
What do your mornings look like?
Every morning I am awoken by the beautiful sounds of my cats furiously meowing at me to feed them. After getting up to obey them, I make breakfast and usually attempt to make some matcha latte art (a side hobby, hasn’t really taken off yet). I’m usually the most productive in the mornings so I take advantage of this time by responding to emails and organizing my tasks for the day
When did you first discover art? or realise you wanted to pursue a creative outlet?
I started drawing at a young age and continued to enjoy art making throughout my childhood. It wasn’t until later in high school that I decided to pursue a degree in art, after having attended a couple summer programs. I met so many like-minded people through those programs and realized that I was not alone in my passions and curiosity about art
How would you describe your artwork?
As mentioned above, my work is bold, graphic, and in between abstract and representational. It is mainly focused on a recurring amorphous figure that’s meant to embody us all. Rather than focusing on our differences, I try to celebrate and acknowledge the things that we all share universally as conscious beings
Are there any subjects or themes you are interested in? or represented in your work?
I’m most interested in capturing elusive concepts such as feelings and emotions in my work. I often have a hard time verbalizing the way I feel and have found it to be therapeutic and freeing to express these things through my drawings. I’m really inspired by music because of all the things it can cause and affect – it makes you shamelessly move your limbs, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it’s something you can share and fully enjoy with your friends in the moment. Recently I’ve been reflecting on the role music plays in my life and it’s gotten me to draw my figures in a vibrant manner with lots of movement
What is your process?
Besides music, I’m often inspired by the thoughtful conversations I have with others. I’m really interested in hearing other people’s perspectives on things and learning about everyone else’s experiences. Being able to understand other people’s insights really helps me observe and reflect. When an idea sparks, I usually let it sit around for a while before physically acting on it. It’s not until I feel ready to bring the idea into the physical world that I’ll start to sketch it out on paper. Most of the time, I have a pretty good idea of how I want to illustrate the concept by this point. After my sketch, I’ll execute it with whatever medium I think is best
What do you need in order to create your work?
I love listening to music when I work but it has to be music that doesn’t really have lyrics. I can’t concentrate if there’s words! This is why I unfortunately can’t really listen to podcasts when I’m working. I can also work in complete silence as well, it just depends on the day. If I’m working digitally I’ll need my iPad and Apple Pencil because I use it as my tablet to draw in Photoshop. If I’m painting, I prefer to paint on wood panels with acrylic and acrylic gouache. For murals, I need my large angled paintbrushes. Holding these brushes has really given me some buff forearms
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about what you do?
It’s a bit daunting when I’m first releasing something I’ve made out into the world, whether it’s a wall I’ve painted or something I’m posting on social media. I want my work to be relatable and I just hope that people can see themselves in it while understanding my perspective as well
Check out Jocelyn’s print store HERE