Anny Peng’s illustrations use dark humour to visualise feelings that words can’t express
The London-based illustrator wants her surreal creative work to challenge stereotypes and “speak for more unheard voices”.
- Olivia Hingley
- 26 April 2023
For the illustrator Anny Peng, creativity has always been a means for her to grapple with transitions and changes in her personal life. But primarily, Anny’s works more broadly explore the experiences of women. Focusing on the women she grew up around in her small hometown in southern Chine, she delves into topics like the gendered experience of fertility and the livelihoods of domestic cleaners and maids. And even when Anny finds her works taking a more abstract route, they still seem to find their way back to social activism. For instance, her project Chairs, Mate, which originally began by her sitting down too much and getting a “sore butt”, soon became a metaphor for the emotional and domestic role women play in holding others up.
While Anny’s work explores “serious topics”, she also uses unique methods – like dark humour and surreal styles – to visualise them. “I use negative euphemisms to deconstruct sensitive topics in the real world,” Anny identifies. “I consider myself to be very empathetic. I hope to use my empathy to visualise feelings that cannot be expressed in words, and to use art as a tool to speak for a group.”
Anny Peng: Washy washy (Copyright © Anny Peng, 2023)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.