Using the visual language of the 1950s shopping catalogues that widely spread all over America seven decades ago, this illustration series by Yichin Chen is a visual experiment in probing the so-called beauty and social norms of modern-day society.
The Taiwanese illustrator and graphic designer, who is based in Brooklyn, New York, wanted to highlight something she has continuously come across in her career: "As a minority, I have been 'offered' appearance-related suggestions no matter where I am by people who believe in those common norms, which kind of pushed me to the limit," she tells Creative Boom.
"It is a great journey to reach self-acceptance personally. During that journey, I realised that many people are comforting the same struggles as me, which makes me want to address these biases being built by others or society."
Yichin is, of course, referring to the ridiculous (often white) ideals these "aspirational" catalogues presented (and let's be honest, still continue to do so today) – ones that were out of reach for many and only realistic for a privileged few. "The reason why I use this specific visual strategy is that these shopping catalogues are basically social-norm propaganda that projects specific social biases that were being made by a group of privileged people. And I think this is a proper form and context to my intent," she adds.
Yichin holds an MFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute. And she currently enrols in MFA Illustration as Visual Essay at SVA and plans to receive her degree in 2021. Her work is rooted in her passion for fortune-telling, astrology, dollhouses, social observations, and "good memes". One very much to watch. Discover more at fineredsilk.com.