Yichin Chen creates a 50s fictional shopping catalogue confronting beauty norms

Yichin wants to address these biases, and the way society and some people push them onto others. Using her creative nose, the illustrator implemented a specific visual strategy to point how such shopping catalogues “are basically social-norm propaganda that projects specific social biases that were made by a group of privileged people.” In turn, the series sees Yichin astutely reflect on influencer culture, body positivity, whitewashing and more. A social commentary beautifully expressed through Yichin’s visual style of contemporary realism.
As for the future, Yichin plans to create more series imbued with social topics that interest her. Her next endeavour “is a project that grows from [her] memories ad experiences and has become a healing process while she draws it.” Also in the works is a project exploring healing, self-exploration and astrology. She sees this becoming either a graphic novel or comic series, whatever it turns out to be, she knows there is a tumult of further creative possibilities ahead, whether that’s through illustration or otherwise.
When it comes to the aesthetic inspiration of the series, Yichin drew on her obsession with dollhouses, tacky 80s interiors, and the romantic comic book publishing in the 60s, amongst others. The viewer can see this in the hint of vintage in both the drawing style and Yichin’s colour choices. She applies a similar style to another project, The Crystal Ball in Your Hands which she finished during the lockdown last year while in New York. An illustration series about fortune telling, intuition and our eagerness for a better future, Yichin similarly uses personal life experience to inform the work.
The illustration series is a visual experiment in probing so-called beauty and social norms. “As an Asian and as a woman,” Yichin continues, “I have been offered appearance-related suggestions no matter where I am by people who believe in those common norms, which kind of pushed me to the limit.” It’s been a long and arduous journey for Yichin to reach personal self-acceptance because of these standards, a journey which has seen her encounter a number of people struggling with the same external pressures to be something they are not, and for no good reason.