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Visual Communication (MA)

Jingyan Yu

Jingyan Yu is a Chinese born illustrator and visual storyteller currently living in London. She studied Fashion Design as an undergraduate at Tsinghua University, graduating in 2015. With a background in costume and visual communication, she gradually developed a romantic and uninhibited style of artistic painting. At the same time, her illustrations use mixed media to depict moments that originate in everyday life.


2022  3x3 International Illustration Awards - Merit Awards

2022 iJUNGLE Illustrarion Awards- Merit Awards

2022 Hii International Illustration Awards -Shortlist

Degree Details

School of CommunicationVisual Communication (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Kensington, Darwin Building, Fourth floor

non-linear narrative

I create non-linear illustrated narratives, taking real experiences into metaphysical spaces to open a dialogue with the viewer. Science Fiction and Romanticism are key sensations in the work. Recently I have been experimenting with combinations of traditional printmaking (specifically etching and letterpress) and digital image making.

My own ‘misnavigations’ (and the events that resulted) made me aware of our general over-reliance on digital navigational tools. This has somehow affected my perception of surroundings, in the form of uneasiness about paths beyond the prescribed route and an inability to form a memory of the paths I have already explored.

Storm Petrels are highly perceptive of their surroundings and extreme weather, and their navigation systems are inherently accurate. However, the proliferation of city lights in areas of dense human population has severely disrupted their navigational systems, resulting in a large number of fatalities.

‘Do you like the current era of high technological development?’
‘It's hard to say, but there are times when I want to go back in time.Life now makes me lose track of reality.’
‘There is a bird in my memory that brings me a different feeling.’

'Tell me about it'

6:00PMAt sunset, I attended the 9/11 Memorial Gathering, a day when the government organises to honour the fallen with a bright light, and while waiting, I saw a flock of birds hovering in the distance.
7:00 PMI crossed the roof to greet her volunteers with Susan Erbin, Director of Conservation and Science at Audubon New York. Staff and volunteers gathered. On the roof are spotlights: 88 in all, divided north and south into two square arrays, 20 parking spaces apart. As the lighting technicians check their snaking cables, the beams flash with a circular flight of dust and insects.
8:00PMThe moment the lights come on, I look up, searching for the birds, but quickly drop my eyes and get dizzy. From a distance, the tribute is a powerful spectacle. Standing beneath the beams was astounding.
9:00 PMThat night, New York Audubon found their first fatality: a Storm Petrel, dead in the street below the car park.
Incidents of Navigational Failure – Graphic novel Story board (parts)

‘Lost, Navigating’ is a visual narrative that focuses on the technological disturbance of birds’ migratory and humans’ navigational perceptions. The project intersects two broad, current and pressing issues in climate change and artificial intelligence technology.

The narrative breaks down into three parts — The Migratory Bird Disorientation Archive, Incidents of Navigational Failure and Virtual Teleportation — each a series of illustrations in a circular dialogue between past, present and future across time and space, provoking the philosophical questions: Where are we? What is real?

The points and route maps in Google Navigation are exaggerated metaphors – while clues of migratory birds from the past loom large in the images, creating a non-linear narrative with a sense of ambiguity between the real and the virtual. The gradual change from colour to black and white suggests the opening of a narrative of the past – a circular 'lost dialogue' that opens the curtain.


Thomas Arvid, Etching, Letterpress


210*297mm, 10*12cm,10*15cm,11*15cm

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