Art Releases Pressure

Jiayi CHEN 陈佳艺

During the pandemic, Jiayi CHEN began to focus on subjects surrounding her immediate life. Rather than imitating paintings and artists she admired, she was able to develop her own personal style which expressed her thoughts and emotions at a given time.


Jiayi Chen 陈佳艺

Jiayi Chen 陈佳艺

Jiayi Chen 陈佳艺


Jiayi CHEN: Student at the Renmin University of China majoring in Landscape Architecture


Text Version of Video

Hi, I’m Jiayi CHEN. I’d like to talk about my work during the pandemic, and the changes I’ve made during this period.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in China, the lockdown was implemented on the second day of Chinese New Year in 2020 and, as a result, I stayed at home in Beijing for 46 days.

At that time, my schedule of work and rest was always chaotic. I stayed up late and the beginning of my day was transient. Once I got up, I started painting immediately until one or two in the morning. After that, I probably didn’t get up until the middle of the next day. This was so different to my life before the pandemic.

The most extensive Pivot for me is that it was my mood.  It was easier for me to be happy and relaxed again after the pandemic because I suffered hard during it. So, when my life got back to normal., I found that I could cope with difficulties much easier than before. What is more, my agitated moods subsided.  Therefore, gradually, I have found that these things were indeed not that difficult to manage. I think my life now is like an old Chinese saying: “Not pleased by the external gains, not saddened by personal losses”.

The artwork from this time has a kind of continuity to it. I worked on creating these works from February 2020 to February 2021, so a whole year. At the time of the pandemic, I was so bored of being isolated at home. I watched some movies or did some cooking and I thought it was interesting to look at the bottles of ingredients at home, and I drew randomly at that time as well.

For me, these artworks document the first half of the pandemic. Each of my paintings was inscribed with its date of being completion and I also noted things like what I’ve eaten, what I did, what my mood was like, etc too.

It’s just a record of my work then because now, I consider painting as something that is totally dependent on my own state of mind.  It can be created however I want it. In the past, sometimes, I was influenced by other stuff, such as, if I saw a nice painting, I would like to imitate that style which could never let my paintings realise the most natural things from my own artistic imagination.  However, after the pandemic, I feel that now that I am not taking painting as my major or skill anymore, the key point of my painting is to express my thoughts. As a sort of inner resource, it’s enough for me to paint in a way that expresses or transmits my feelings.






Contact Person: Ifance FAN, Christy YANG
Planner: Christy YANG
Text: Christy YANG
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD