Across the Board Art Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Jikai Zheng

“I’ve always wanted to be more edgy, but I’m more gothic.” – Jikai Zheng

My personal style signifier is a white shirt. It is classy and more androgynous looking than others. I really like it when I look androgynous. I will dress a white shirt with all black ripped skinny jeans. It makes me feel like a boy –something about how it feels masculine. Plus, it looks pretty minimal. 

Last thing I bought and cherished is a foldable keyboard. It is pretty useful; I like to take out my phone and type like it is a computer. In my free time, I take it on my travels. One time, I took the bus somewhere and I took this with me and I stood in the lobby in a hotel here in Vegas, and it felt very strange during COVID. It is super functional and I use it a lot now. I actually have to return it when I go back to Shanghai because I got it as part of a grant for a capstone project, but I might buy it from the school to own.   

Since the quarantine, I’ve learned to really appreciate the outdoors. I really like going to parks, and I will usually be free skating or rollerblading. Free skating is like two mini skateboards for both your legs and you swerve on them, like a ripstick. Going outside now is like going on a vacation sometimes.

My aspirations for the rest of 2021 is to graduate and move out of my parents’ by December. I’m graduating next May, so I told myself, knowing how much I’m restricted in my freedoms because of my family sometimes, I would like it to make it a goal to be more financially independent and move out by December of 2021. I really need to find an odd job that pays double the rent in the city [vegas], maybe Richmond, Virginia or Austin, Texas.

Mediums I want to explore more are oil pastels and watercolor. I’d like to try a mix of oil pastel and watercolor to see how the watercolor avoids the oil. 

The first thing I wanted to draw was a profile showing one eye, because it’s easier to draw one eye and it looks more mysterious to me. It looks very edgy, and I’ve always wanted to be more edgy, but I’m more gothic. You can be edgy without being depressed, and gothic is dark, but badass. Gothic is a dark age story. That’s my interpretation.

Dating moment, watercolor, pen, tape

A girl leans on her pillow. Her pose is “thinking”. An exaggerated mouth, stretched out lips, mask-like; it’s a sex icon, cunning the men on the internet. But this mega-lip is also an inhibitor, preventing her from saying all that’s on her mind. She doesn’t voice everything she thinks she deserves. Her shoulder and side shows patches of dating apps. On the right is a monitor with a dating page up. It’s got a profile and some chat boxes, and the choices which she can act on. But this monitor is not in detail, it’s blurry. It’s not what she should be focusing on, nor we. Instead, the window behind is clear for the distance in proportion. The roofs of houses, the city and mountains in the background haven’t been considered, but they should. Though, the monitor is still emitting its light in its flashy allure. The walls are dark and it’s about to be an even darker and lonely night.

She climbs, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, watercolor, pen

A girl climbs a wall, its colors representing fractured and cultural blocks. To contrast, the girl is in black and white. The angle of this piece helps you see the perspective from a low vantage point and lets the wall take up the majority of the page. She feels a sense of accomplishment as she’s made it over the formidable structure. The sky behind her is an optimistic blue.

Meet Jikai Zheng!

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