Ivy Zheyu Chen wants her witty image and word pairings to soften all your worries
Collating her charming work into zines and prints, the New York-based artist uses analogue methods for both “the textures and lack of control”.
During the pandemic, Ivy Zheyu Chen found random thoughts involuntarily popping into her head, like how much she missed a dip in the ocean, or how – when she went to get her first coffee after lockdown – she had forgotten how to order. But rather than discarding these thoughts, she decided to start depicting them. This approach, of trying to capture the most seemingly insignificant whims of the human brain, now defines Ivy’s practice, and is also her way of connecting with others. “My questions, problems, joys, contradictions – I find them a universal and powerful connection,” she says. “I know if I’m totally honest with myself, I’m fully open to others. At some level, we’re all the same. There’s comfort in it.”
Typically, Ivy uses a grid method to divide her words and images, and adopts a whole range of techniques, from collage and oil pastel to Risograph. What’s more, you’ll likely not be surprised to hear Ivy’s two biggest influences: Matisse, for his simplistic cut outs; and David Shrigley, for his endlessly comical quips.
Ivy Zheyu Chen: Sassy Fruits (Copyright © Ivy Zheyu Chen, 2022)
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.