Deciphering the Human Experience

Born in Taipei and raised in Shanghai, Jocelyn Tsaih is an illustrator, animator, and designer currently based in New York City. Her artistic style is defined by a distinct, minimalist approach that’s complemented by her quirky sense of humor.

More often than not, Tsaih’s work features a mysterious, amorphous character that’s meant to embody the various facets of modern life. The character, initially based on a stick figure, evolved as a way for Tsaih to convey abstract concepts derived from her own experiences.

在台北出生,在上海长大的 Jocelyn Tsaih 目前长居在纽约,是一名插画家和设计师。她的作品风格简约,且充满着古怪的幽默感。

Jocelyn 的大部分作品里会出现一个神秘的、不定形的角色,意在表达现代生活的方方面面。而这个角色最初是她以火柴人为原型创作的,后来演变成她从自己的经历中传达抽象概念的一种方式。

“It sounds kind of cheesy, but I started drawing it as a way to express my internal conflicts and to represent anything human,” she shares. “As I explored different ways of conveying what I was feeling, I started to use the figure in ways that are more abstract. I think my thought process is that even though we are human, a lot of things about us are intangible, like emotions and feelings.”

“虽然听起来有点俗气,但我一开始画这个角色是为了抒发内心的冲突,表达关于人类的一切。” Jocelyn 说,“随着我尝试用不同的方式来传达自己的感受,我也开始用更抽象的方式来表现这个火柴人。我的想法是,作为人类,很多关于我们的事情都是无形的,譬如情感和感觉。”

Tsaih currently works at WeWork as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator. Outside of her full-time job, she’s equally busy with a constant juggling act between personal and freelance projects. She’s already accumulated an impressive list of clients including Adobe Photoshop, Condé Nast, Nickelodeon, Tictail, and GIPHY. But despite her professional accomplishments, there was a time when Tsaih felt uncertain about her future as an artist. As a teenager, many of her peers discouraged her desire to pursue a career in the arts. It was only after a period of self-doubt and confusion that she decided to trust her own judgment: “I believed that art was valuable, and I pushed myself because I didn’t want people’s skewed perceptions to be validated.”

Jocelyn 目前作为一名全职平面设计师和插画家任职于共享办公空间 WeWork。不上班的时候,她会去创作自己的个人项目和自由职业项目,她曾经合作过的客户里包括 Adobe Photoshop、康泰纳仕集团(Condé Nast)、美国儿童节目频道 Nickelodeon,以及 Tictail 和 GIPHY 网站。虽然如今在事业上获得成功,但曾经有一段时间,Jocelyn 也不确定自己是否真的能成为一名艺术家。十几岁的时候,她的许多同龄人都不鼓励她去追求艺术事业。在经过一段时间的自我怀疑和困惑之后,她才终于决定相信自己的判断:“我相信艺术是有价值的,我不断推动自己去努力,是因为我不希望证明人们扭曲的看法是对的。”

For Jocelyn, creativity comes from being open-minded; it comes from a willingness to dive head first into new experiences, whether it’s interacting with different people or being in an unfamiliar environment. She tells us, “A lot of my work represents my reaction to things, so the more experiences I have, the more ideas I’ll have to turn into drawings.” These days, she’s begun dabbling with ceramics and paintings – processes that, for her, require a lot more time and deeper reflection on the underlying concepts she intends to explore. Patience is a fundamental part of her creative process. “90% of the time is spent thinking an idea over and 10% of the time is spent making the actual work,” she explains, “The final result often looks simple, but it usually takes a long time for me to get to that point, although I know it doesn’t look like it.”

对于 Jocelyn 来说,创意来自于开放的心态和尝试新事物的经历,或是与不同的人互动,或是置身于异国的环境中。她告诉我们:“我的许多作品都表达了我对事物的反应,所以,我的经历越丰富,我才能有越来越多的想法来创作成画。”近来,她一直在涉猎陶瓷和绘画,对她来说,这些艺术创作过程需要花大量的时间对作品内在概念进行反思。Jocelyn 表示,耐心是她创作过程的关键。她解释说:“ 90% 的时间是花在思考上面的,只有 10% 的时间才是花在实际的创作中。最终的作品看起来很简单,但我其实需要很长的时间才能画出来,虽然我知道它看起来不像。”

After six years in New York City, Tsaih is now planning a move to San Francisco in the coming year. She sees this as an opportunity to explore a new environment and experience a change of pace. She shares with us, “Having come from Shanghai to New York, I feel like I’ve only known how to live in very stimulating, fast-paced environments. It might be a little challenging to shift to a slower pace of life, and I might end up hating it, but I hope some good things will come out of the experience either way!”

在纽约生活了六年后,Jocelyn 计划在新的一年搬到旧金山,体验新的环境,转换一下生活节奏。她说:“从上海来到纽约,我觉得自己好像只在紧张刺激、快节奏的环境里生活过。要转变到一种较慢的生活节奏,可能会有点挑战性,甚至我可能最终会讨厌这种生活。但我希望不管怎样,都能在这次经历中取得一些好的收获。”
Instagram: @jocelyntsaih


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao
Photographer: Nick Korompilas

Instagram: @jocelyntsaih


供稿人: George Zhi Zhao
摄影师: Nick Korompilas