Chinatown Confessions: 'Cute' illustrations that hope to spark big conversations about racism
Taking inspiration from her experiences as an Asian-American navigating the stereotypes, microaggressions and other struggles she and her community continually face, Jasmine Nguyen Gutierrez has illustrated a cute art series that hopes to capture people's attention and send an important message.
Titled Chinatown Confessions, we get a good idea of some of the encounters the designer and illustrator has faced during her time in Austin, Texas, where she is currently based. From the usual tiresome, "No, no, where are you really from?" to the "Your food is weird!" unwarranted, often racist remarks, Jasmine's series centres around stereotypical items with handwritten clear messages. We see a ramen meal with the words 'No, you open your eyes!' and an adorable lucky cat reads 'I'll cry if I want to!'
"I wanted to share my frustrations about the recent rise in violence against Asians, due to the pandemic, in an approachable format without diluting the truth," Jasmine tells Creative Boom. "Having conversations about racism can be uncomfortable so I thought using cute art would capture people's attention while leaving them with an important message to reflect on."
Like much of Jasmine's work, the whimsical artworks in Chinatown Confessions are filled with bright and uplifting colours alongside playful, almost childlike tones, often with strong female characters and Asian cultural representation. With a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in visual design, Jasmine uses creativity as an opportunity to discuss "important sometimes difficult" conversations about relationships, mental health, social issues, and spiritual growth.
If you're reading the messages from this series and nodding along, you might be happy to hear you can purchase Jasmine's art as fun stickers, t-shirts and tote bags. Discover more via her online shop. And you can follow more of her series and other works via Instagram.