Wenjia Wang’s Quirky Illustrations Bring Personality to Our Internal Organs
We like to talk about mind and body as separate things because it’s convenient and keeps us from getting locked into language knots. But deep down we know they can’t really be separated, and for many the experience of lockdown has only heightened that reality.
Wenjia Wang, a Chinese-born illustrator who has lived in the United States since the age of 17, explores this specific subject in her project How Do You Feel.
“At the start of the pandemic, because of the confinement and the fear of catching the virus, I isolated myself and became almost myopic, focused on myself and what my body felt,” she recalls.
“Due to the mental strain, I realized that the mind can influence the way the body feels. Physical experience activates psychological feelings, and vice versa. This is called embodied cognition. , which is the relationship between physical experience and psychological states.”
His project therefore consists of a series of illustrations that attempt to show the reaction of the human body under the influence of the physical environment and subjective consciousness. Each design features a specific body part and its reaction to a specific environment.
“When I created these illustrations, I wanted my audience to feel connected with them,” says Wenjia. “So I personify the organs as a way to represent feelings, as if the organs have their own consciousness. I want the viewer to relate to the organs and feel what the organs feel.
“For example, in Eye Pressure [shown at the top of the page], the eye is greatly constricted by its own nerves, and because it is squeezed by the nerves, the eye is thus congested and covered with blood-vessels. The background is a giant digital screen containing several eye shapes representing electronic surveillance.”
Overall, she found working on the project to be a cathartic experience. “As an illustrator, being able to be true to myself and bring out my feelings and share them with others is a satisfying thing,” she says. “I hope the public will enjoy my exhibition and feel connected to my illustrations.”
The project draws a lot of attention to the freelance illustrator, who was born in China and then moved to the United States on her own at the age of 17. It was no small feat. “Living alone, away from my family, with broken English, was hard,” she recalls. But his love of art kept him going. “I have always had a passion for art and have been practicing traditional Chinese calligraphy since a young age,” she says.
Encouraged by her high school art teacher, Mrs. Rideout, she applied to art school. In 2018, she graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a major in Illustration. She recently earned an MFA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
A member of the Society of Illustrators, Wenjia has won awards in numerous professional illustration competitions, including 3X3 Magazine, American Illustration 39, American Illustration 40, Graphics, and MoCCA Awards of Excellence. Her work has appeared in several art festivals, including the New York Affordable Art Fair, and she has been represented by the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery. Clients include Huawei, independent musicians, galleries and local businesses.
“When I color my work, I always want to have a bright, refreshing and tender color palette,” says Wenjia. “Not for frivolous reasons, but to convey messages that can make people think or relate. shocking by the message conveyed through storytelling.”