Visual artist Danzhu Hu crafts a surreal and melancholic world where trauma can be reimagined
Steeped in personal trauma, Danzhu Hu's breathtaking work lays bare the artist's psyche for all to see.
Danzhu Hu is a visual artist from China, currently residing in New York City. After completing a Master's this year at the Fashion Institute of Technology, MFA Illustration course, she's now making waves with her intimate and emotive work.
Featuring loose lines and vibrant colours, Danzhu's illustrations are whimsically melancholic with a touch of surrealism. She builds her visual language by collecting aesthetic cues from nature's organic shapes, Art Nouveau masters' curvilinear ornaments, atmospheric cinematography, and beyond. Her overall aim is to create a visual world where the most subtle and delicate emotions can be captured, translated, and cherished.
Her latest project, Farewell, is perhaps her most personal yet. Danzhu describes it as "my attempt to rewrite some of my most difficult moments battling with mental health issues through the lens of empathy and love".
Farewell comprises a series of mixed media three-dimensional paintings, measuring 20" x 15" x3". "It tells a series of personal stories about how, in this alternative world, I was able to find peace while dealing with severe self-hatred towards my body," Danzhu explains. "It's also about letting go of the traumas I used to bear and recalling self-love in moments of despair.
"To unveil these private yet complex moments, I constructed my work on a three-dimensional and multi-layered surface mounted with watercolour paper," she adds. "In these layers lies the most vulnerable part of me, which was once hidden deep and is now open to the public."
Being open and personal with her work is nothing new for Danzhu. "Growing up in a small town in southern China, I discovered her desire for creativity from a young age," she explains. "However, with the lack of resources and access to the art world, I became used to looking inward to my inner world for creative inspiration. Thus, my work always feels emotionally charged and intimate."
At the very beginning of her creative journey, Hu discovered her keen interest in mental health advocacy, which has become a regular topic for her projects. And her experience as a woman growing up in an overwhelmingly conservative and masculine society endowed her work with strong feminine beauty. You can see more of her work at www.danzhuhu.com.