Xin Yin Chen aka Mickey is a young Taiwanese illustrator and dreamer. After completing university, she began working in Guangzhou, China, which is where she currently works today. Drawing is her passion and a force that has driven her forward since childhood. Illustration allows her the time and ability to have conversations with herself, and to tell the stories that are speak to her. In her own words: “I don’t see myself as an extraordinary illustrator, but I clearly know what I want to communicate through my work, by developing my own style. There’s a voice that constantly reminds me to make something that translates me. I hope my work can speak for me, my style, and my world.”
What is your profession?
I am a Graphic Designer with a love for illustration — I use illustration to tell stories.
How do you describe your illustration style?
I think a person’s illustration style changes and evolves with growth and education, and because of this, my style constantly changes. The only thing that doesn’t change is the warm tonality I always convey in my work. People who like my work say that they like how my illustration gives them a sense of coziness and comfort. I believe a good illustration creates feeling, reaction, and an emotional connection. This connection bonds the illustrator and viewers. Most of my works are portrait illustrations. I like to tell stories from faces, an expression; such as catching the sentimental expression/feeling from someone’s eyes.
What inspires you?
Movies, musics, books, and life surrounding me are all huge sources of inspiration for me. I’m intrigued by European movies from the 1960-1980s, by their shooting techniques, landscapes, colors, scenic designs, color tones, and their storytelling techniques. Wong Kar-Wai, a famous movie director from Hong Kong, has been a great influence for me.
When I feel I’m out of inspiration, I will watch a movie, read a magazine, listen to music, or go somewhere to feel the people, see them interact, and be engaged. I like to engage with elements that trigger me to brainstorm, and be inspired again.
How do you see current Taiwanese illustration and how does it evolve?
I think I’m still too young to provide critique on Taiwanese illustration as a whole. There are many stunning creative illustrators in Taiwan who create everything from traditional picture books, to life-like illustrations based on current events, with a humorous sense of sarcasm. I like all of it.
What is your favorite color?
Definitely black. Black is a color with personality to me — direct, straightforward, absolute. It stays in the corner and doesn’t try to grab the spotlight, which ties in a bit with my own personality.
How would you define your lifestyle?
I like to try new things, so I guess I’m more experimental than other people, a go-getter who likes to take action. I like to be alone and reserve time for myself, so I can communicate with myself and understand my likes and dislikes. I think this is a very personal and cool thing to do.
What makes you feel empowered, and when do you feel most empowered?
I feel empowered when I know what my objectives are, and what actions I need to take to achieve my goal. I like to be determined and focused to complete a mission.
Who is your female hero, and why?
My female hero is the actress Emma Watson. Not only because I’m a Harry Potter fan — I love how the witty Hermione always saves Harry and Ron from danger with cool rescue plans. In reality, Emma also actively speaks out for women’s equality and rights. I admire how she speaks out for the female minority to gain equality.
What are you into right now?
I like hiking very much. It takes away the stress and infuses fresh oxygen into my life. Hiking also helps detox my brain.
How do you describe your look?
I don’t have a specific style. I like simple outfits, with comfortable long socks and a pair of sneakers.
Are you someone who considers future trends, today? If so, how do you stay ahead of the trends?
I don’t push myself to synchronize with the latest technology. Sometimes feel that too much technology will cause you to forget the original image and landscape. However, I find it interesting to blend technology with illustration.
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