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Visual Communication (MA)

Zihan Liu

Zihan Liu (Nico) was born in China. Her photographer parents inspired her passion for creating art. Nico is a visual artist interested in experimental narratives and music, and her practice focuses on animated commercials, music videos, album/book cover artwork, and indie publishing.

Nico’s creative passion lies in creating illustrations and moving images digitally. She explores unique visual languages, including the combination of abstract elements with experimental narratives. Her work is inspired by psychology, music and film.


2022 World Illustration Awards (Highly Commended)

2022 Work Selected, WIA2022 Catalogue

2022 Communication Arts (Shortlist)

2021 Hiii Illustration (Merit)

2021 iJungle Illustration Awards (Merit)

2021 3x3 International Illustration Awards (Merit)

2021 Work Selected, 3x3 Annual No.18



2023 International Illustration Exhibition, touring exhibitions in China in Shenzhen, Nanchang, Fuzhou and Ningbo

2023 Clairière, Galerie Sentiments, Paris, France

2022 Annual Exhibition, Southwark Park Gallery, London, UK

2022 Emotion Theatre, Royal College of Art, London, UK


I always wondered why I wanted to get out of here, was it because of the space or the crowd? When I am in a social situation my mind has only one thought - to escape. But the truth is, most of the time I can't leave a social situation, like I'm trapped in a thick, dim, enclosed space. The exit was something I desperately needed to find, but the crowd and the space bound me.

My practice this time revolves around psychology and the relationship between space and people. I explore my connection to the outside world from personal experience and then present it in a visual way. I highlight illusory and material space in my animated film, using the possibilities and limitations of space as a metaphor for people's fear of social interaction.

Animated Film

This video work uses space, shadow and sound to create a tense and depressing atmosphere. I use a lot of fixed shots in order to mirror a surveillance perspective. One part of the audience experiences the feeling of being watched, thus triggering a tense and oppressive emotion. Another part of the audience, as the watcher, watches the protagonist's behaviour and emotional state, and understands the fear of social phobia from the protagonist's fear.


Animated Film, Publication

Visualization of ADHD characteristics.


Digital Painting
Animated Film

Sound is the only connection between the people on either side of the wall.


2D Animation, Sound

A surreal dialogue between objects is a metaphor for the small gaps in intimacy that arise from the inevitable difference in perspective between the two parties.



China Scholarship Council (CSC)