Lulu Lin

Lulu Lin breeds genderless titans for your fever dreams

Lulu Lin illustrates the fever dreams and nightmares people wrestle with in their dream state. Oblong faces glimmer like metal sheets, and silver-polished cheekbones and glinting foreheads show up on muscular facial features. Bald genderless titans dominate her oeuvre, a seemingly vicious reminder of her viewers’ submissive tendencies to fear. Their giant hallowed eyes haunt viewers with their dilated, singular-coloured pupils, emotionless gazes, cry-for-help stares, droopy eyelids and eyeballs roaring in ecstasy. The Taipei-born artist reveres scrunched-up lunar faces too that remind us of the potentially monstrous and monotonous cycles the moon goes through if she ever lived as a walking living being among us. 

Lin’s distinctive digital art yearns to ground a profound and genuine relationship with herself and her viewers by pursuing fears that people sweep under the rug. She draws the longing to free oneself from restrictive despair, impending dread and unshakable fright for whatever reason by springing these very fears onto the viewers themselves. The artist seems to take up quite a literal interpretation of facing one’s fears, and she has not yet quieted down with her style. Words do not cut for the resulting illustrations that attempt to underpin her desire to let people feel the fear they try to escape from, since her signature visuals keep stirring the pot, brimming with alien-ised giants that only live in fantasy.

‘I’m fascinated by dreams and what they could mean. The same goes for my illustrations. They are both means for me to conduct intrapersonal communication. Things like self-analysis, self-discovery, and self-awareness are my incentives,’ she tells NR. On top of dreams, Lin’s imagination runs toward human emotions and how people deal with them. Untangling the tangled and often-complex intricacies of the human psyche excites the artist’s creative zen with all its might. The thrill that flows through her artistic veins when she analyses them by drawing results in monolith, otherworldly beings dressed with ovular physiques. ‘Feelings are a fickle thing, and I’m fascinated by them all. I wish to be more emotionally self-aware, and to be more capable of perceiving and comprehending emotional experiences, to be able to convert the knowledge into motivation, communication and behaviour,’ she says.

Past human fears, the abundant stream of visual influences Lin drinks up springs from the well of everyday conflicts people undergo. She shoulders the excruciating joy and euphoric pain people face in their best and worst selves. She finds her deep sense of grounding from the trivial animosity people bear for each other, such as the air of jealousy drifting the success of others or the feeling of betrayal from knowing that the once favourite is no longer the favourite, and the exciting feats people celebrate, such as saying goodbye to predictable sordid personalities and the quieting of occasional mood swings.

Instead of verbally expressing how her people-watching goes, Lin paints them, drawn from her belief that she is more capable of illustrating them rather than fully realising them in words. In fact, she uploads them on her Instagram page which she named dig a hole. ‘It’s how I view my work. There’s never an end, never a clear image of what to expect, always a work in progress. But I’ll still keep on going for some reason. It’s quite similar to the concept of “hobby tunnelling”, only for me, it’s always a hole,’ she says.

Her social media page becomes a safe space for liminal cults who love being reminded of the immaterial, and at times grotesque, pronoun-less visitors in their hazy dreams. ‘dig a hole’ also leads fans into Lin’s state of mind, a seemingly virtual door that Lin leaves ajar for the public to peer through. Flashes of images appear to reflect what Lin cradles in her mind and heart. In one image, she draws a voluptuous dark grey vase with a twinset of cherubim faces crying in blue tears. The lilac tulips planted inside the vase bend their heads, eliciting a seductive yet melancholic tone. Lin writes that this certain image would be her if she were a non-living thing.

Amid the tangible digital artworks rising out from her introspective state, the illustrations of Lin are pulled out of her intuitive guts. Her dexterity in the virtual tools allows the artist to snatch a magnetic non-lead pen resting on the side of her tablet’s case, fire up her Procreate app on her iPad and let her hand and mind draw. She receives bits of images in her vision, like an omen that ships batches of visual scenes to her conscious memory, and trusts that her mindflow will finish the work. ‘Planning or not depends on whether I’m commissioned,’ she says. For a handful of her personal drawings, her cathartic self-expression is manifested in a myriad of looming-over and squashed figures decked out in subdued colours and shades.

Lulu Lin has always enjoyed drawing, but being an illustrator hot-footing to invite cashflow into her pockets was not on the table. She’s still striking a balance between producing artworks for enjoyment and business, and gives herself some time off whenever she needs to recharge her imaginative batteries. Along the way, her artistic sensitivity, sharpened by people’s tedious weight of misery and their unwavering faith in optimism, opens her arms to soak in a platitude of whimsical dilemmas in life. She wields them well into life sized forces of nature that take up Instagram’s image ratio size.

Devotees of her illustrations keep tapping twice on their smartphones to show their affection for the continuous stream of uploads Lin makes. In return, the artist hustles to produce more, not for the sake of commissions, but to participate in a give-and-take relationship between her and her audience, even though she once captioned an illustration with ‘reciprocity in a relationship is overrated’.


Artworks · Courtesy of the artist

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