Yuan Gun Gun’s graceful figures, vast landscapes, lush and intricate vegetation, and faces staring eye to eye, all hand-drawn in black and white, stand out for their breadth and realism. Drawing by hand is a painstaking process, but it lets Yuan, who calls herself a mixed-media creator, “use the ‘authenticity’ of the materials to give full expression to the distinctive qualities of the medium.”
This authenticity is also apparent in her subject matter. “Women are definitely my main subjects,” says Yuan. “As a woman myself, I want to convey contemporary anxieties about women’s identity and the challenges of growing up.” Most of her drawings are based on her own emotions and are closely related to her individual experience. “My whole process of maturation took a slightly more meandering route than most kids. At college I changed majors, went on leave, and traveled around the country, and since graduating I haven’t really had a job. My choices are entirely different from those of my peers. Because things have never been easy, art has naturally been a channel for releasing emotions and expressing myself.”
And now her desire to speak out as a woman is a source of motivation. “Since I was little, I’ve been subject to all kinds of stereotypes, such as the idea that women can’t study science, or that a good husband is better than a good job,” she says. “And by your early twenties, you start getting pressure to get married. At the same time, I’ve noticed there are still a lot of women and men who have no sense of this.”
This is no way live, in Yuan’s view. People should fight for the life they want—and perhaps women most of all.
Yuan has now gathered her new charcoal drawings into a series titled Burning Question. “What I want to explore are the most important issues I faced growing up, because they troubled me for many years.” These questions aren’t limited to two-dimensional drawings—she also has several sculptures and 3-D virtual digital creations. “I want more women to freely make their own choices, so in the future, I’m going to make more art about women’s topics,” she explains. “I wouldn’t say I want to influence women, but rather that I hope others won’t take such a circuitous path—even though sometimes circuitous paths are necessary.”
现在，元滚滚把新的炭笔画算作一个系列，叫做《Burning Question》。“中文意思是非常紧要和重要的问题，想要探讨的就是我自己的成长中最重要的问题，因为我过去很多年一直卡在其中。”这并不局限在平面插画里，还有很多石雕雕塑或者 3D 虚拟的数字创作等等。“我还是希望更多的女孩能自由做她们自己的选择，所以我之后会创作更多女性话题的创作。说不上想要影响其他女性，更多只是希望他人少走一些弯路吧（虽然有时弯路也是必经之路）。”她说。
Contributor: Chen Yuan
English Translation: Allen Young