How does it feel to be different?
Our post is about someone who found it hard to fit in. Everyone who struggles to fit in will tell you that they want people to notice what’s good, to acknowledge what one can do, and to try and understand the beauty of uniqueness. We all want to understand and be understood. Only sometimes we have to try a little harder.
Ziyue is a Singapore-based illustrator and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. She may not be able to hear the sounds and the words, but she sure knows how to translate the words in to emotions through her illustrations.
It all started with drawing on the wall as a kid,” she says. Art was a form of escape from the struggles, frustration and confusion of “growing up deaf.” Her mum encouraged her to draw and continues to be her biggest supporter. When she was nine, her mum transferred Ziyue from a Hearing Impaired school to a mainstream school, so that she could fit into society despite her disability.
Anyone with a dream will tell you that it’s not easy. It couldn’t have been easy for her too. People grow disheartened when faced with challenges, and so did Ziyue. Somewhere down the road, Ziyue stopped creating art when she wasn’t doing well academically. Eventually though, she managed to complete her schooling and then completed her diploma in Digital Media Design, majoring in Animation. She worked as an animator for a Children’s Television Programme.
Today, Ziyue works mostly on Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print. She says that she draws inspirations from life experiences, from memories, travel and people around her, which in her words, is “basically everywhere that comes within my senses”. Ziyue’s world is full of colours. “I’m happy to be an artist, working as a Children’s Book Illustrator and occasionally sketching in my personal sketchbook.”
Her story of colours and warmth is a reassurance. It reminds us of a rainbow after the rain, and of possibilities in a life full of challenges. An inspiration, not only to those who are faced with challenges in life, but also to those who would like to follow their hearts, Ziyue Chen makes it seem possible.
“I like that you emphasized on possibilities and my art, more than on my deafness,” said Ziyue when she read the feature our founding member had done for her. Read the feature here. We are grateful to Ziyue for allowing us to share her story.