Featured Graduate: Jingyu Xu

Red, white and black graphic image of a Chinese New Year celebration card
Celebration 2018, screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?
Influenced by my mother who works in the fashion industry, I was encouraged to draw at a very young age. I used to draw so much I was labelled as “the girl who can draw” in class. I love and want to pursue this creative path as a future career, so I was given support by my parents to take years of art academy classes back home. But even with all the support and approval from people around me, I still once had so many doubts on this art journey.

The art classes allowed me to get skilful at realistic and observational sketching and painting, but I never considered myself good enough to be an artist. At a time I felt lost and kept wondering whether capturing the likeliness is the only standard of good art, if so, why should we even draw when we have cameras.
I know it sounds silly but it was actually after a lot of struggling, researching and learning, for me to realize how I used to have such a narrow mindset. The systematic learning of shapes, colours and lights & shadows, of course they are beneficial, but it also restrained me to believe drawing is just reproducing the reality. It never got me to see the real creative side of art.

Later looking at the impressionism and fauvism art which I really admire, now I believe art, especially drawing, is about one’s interpretation of something, and that something doesn’t even have to be real. The emotions, the experience, the imaginations, etc., they all can influence or form an artwork.

So I believe the answer is yes, I have been making art ever since I tried doodling out my dreams at kindergarten!

Photograph of the artist screen printing in the workshop at London College of Communication
Jingyu busy printing in the LCC screenprint workshop

How did you get started in screen printing?
I was introduced to screen printing during my introduction course at LCC, this traditional approach to a print process instantly caught my interest as this was something I had never seen before!
What amazes me is the dedication that one needs to put into the preparation and printing process, and how nicely the textures and layers of ink turn out in the outcomes. Although it can be a bit frustrating when some flaws or mistakes happen, I guess that’s the charm of screen printing by hand, we are always learning as every time we print and face new challenges.

Who are your biggest influences?
Uchida Masayasu, Tatsuro Kiuchi, On Yamamoto, Jame Jean. These are several of my favourite artists/ printmakers who inspire and influence me in terms of their compositions and texture making. Their artworks are really pleasant to see.
(@uchidamasayasu, @tatsurokiuchi, @onyamamoto_art, @jamesjeanart)

Graphic image of a film poster design for Kill Bill
Up! screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Where will you make work now that you’ve graduated?
I plan to head to other open-access print studios in London but haven’t made a decision yet. Because of the pandemic and my new postgraduate publishing course going on, I might slow down my printmaking projects a bit, but I will definitely keep doing it!

Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?
It is definitely “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t feel too frustrated and then give up easily.” As I mentioned, it is just very common to have small flaws and mistakes when you just started printing. But back then I was too focused on the imperfection and felt bad when getting called out that I was rusty. I even stopped printing for about a year, which I really regret as this period of time could have been properly spent to practice and learn from mistakes. So I think it is important not to be afraid to try and continue making work, and always believe that practice and hard work will pay off.

Additionally, I planned many screen print works to be happening in the last term, I wish I could have known the lockdown would happen and finished the printing in the second term. But luckily, the “Return to Make” in September allowed me to carry on making two of the projects, I am very grateful for the LCC screen print team to make this happen.

Graphic image of a film poster design
Greetings, screenprint by Jingyu Xu

Where can we see more of your work?
Instagram: @thescenestealers
I am a member of The Scene-Stealers Collective and we make art for some iconic Films & TV shows. It is not about creating a movie poster that serves as a marketing tool, but about our original artistic/illustrative interpretation of a scene.

Instagram: @mchl_6

Personal Blog: https://michellexuweb.wordpress.com/portfolio I am still working on creating an official online portfolio, but for the moment I will be posting updates and process of work on my Instagram and blog.

Thank you!

Graphic image of a small dog sitting on grass with water and ducks in the background.
Kiki the Dog, screenprint by Jingyu Xu

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