Jinying Zhu


“I make cute paintings. But as we all know, sometimes what people see on the outside might have a different story inside. ”

Initially I was inspired by a Japanese fashion named Yami Kawaii, where the idea of death and suicide are represented by cute and dreamy images or clothing. In two words, cute and creepy. 

I have always been interested in dealing with issues that weren’t talked about out loud often – like the elephant in the room. In my case I chose to represent escapism, suicidal thoughts and mental illness in a way that is more acceptable, easier to reach out to the audience – like saturated colours and cute motifs. 

Additionally, in the more eastern society mental illness are sometimes considered as a shame, something to be blamed on and some may not even believe it’s a serious thing. Therefore, calling out for help seems to happen less in those countries. But what if one’s signal for help turns into something cute, colourful, enjoyable for people to look at, to pay attention to? 

Just like sometimes it is hard to tell if someone is depressed or not.

Instagram @jinying__

Cutting (2021), 3200 x 3200 px, digital drawing.

Hanging, 36″x24″, acrylic on canvas.

Household Toxins (2021), 1610 x 1325 px, digital drawing.

Refrigerator Death (2021), 1200 x 1700 px,
digital drawing.

remember to turn the lights off on your way out | Bachelor of Fine Arts 2022