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Illustration

Chieh Pai

Chieh Pai is a Taiwanese visual artist currently based in London. He focuses on visual narrative, rendered as digital drawings and realised as printed matter. He is now completing his MA in Visual Communication, building on his previous experience in Graphic Design and Marketing.

His creations are based on his lived experiences, observations of society and environmental thinking. His goal is to find the balance between showing an audience how he sees the world and applying his practice to publishing and editorial contexts.

Degree Details

School of Communication

Illustration

My work observes daily life and the little but important bonds between human beings. My current project, ‘Hometown’, came from a realisation, from living in another country and through this global pandemic, that I had never thoroughly observed my homeland in the way it deserves.

After coming back to Taiwan, I decided to go on a road trip and observe, record and write down my journey with the approach of a visual journalist. I use illustrations to reflect my thoughts and feelings towards the culture, society and warmth I felt along the way. Through this project, I hope to review my self-consciousness and find out what it means, on an international scale, to be Taiwanese.

Lino print in Caffee Fiore
The owner's favorite place
The owner's favorite place
Fiore and its customers
Caffee Fiore and Hualien daily life
People wearing face masks during the Covid-19 period
Fiore and lifestyle
A regular customer's home (favourite seat)

Through this project I hope to reflect my self-consciousness and find out what it means to be Taiwanese. I chose my hometown Hualien as inspiration for this project because when I came to London, I realised the uniqueness of this hometown like never before. 

During the global pandemic, the Taiwanese government has done an extraordinary job in containing the spread of the virus. We were able to live in harmony and to carry on life, just as before. I aim to use my interpretive skills to let others know about the place I live.

For these six works — with their views of the café interior combined with its exterior views of Hualien daily life and the neighborhood — I would like to share with others this taste of life, these memories , these connections with people. 

By sharing objects and views from daily life, my work reflects Hualien society now, so that people who have never been here can understand the normal daily life of this place. For people who live in Hualien, my work can resonate and enable them to connect with each other's experiences.

Medium:

Linocut, Printmaking, Digital drawing

Size:

23 x 23 cm
The seat in front of the bar
Different handmade chairs
The corner of the toilet
The most comfortable place (with fan and cat)
A black cat in the cafe
Objects in Caffee Fiore
A view of Hualien city from Caffee Fiore

When in Taiwan, I frequent coffee shops. There, I make drawings and chat with friends. For me a coffee shop is like a micro-city – especially Caffee Fiore. The owner shares her lifestyle through the shop, the interior decoration and atmosphere. I conducted a process of recording these little things around me through observational texts, drawings and photographs. Through this process, these daily objects, such as mops and tissues, reflect the daily life of Hualien.

Medium:

Digital drawing

Size:

A4
[untitled]
— I applied a more experimental spirit to exploring this island and recording what I see, hear and learn (including the Centuple mountains, amazing homestays and unique bars).
— I wrapped it all up with a timelapse video, which includes all the sensations I felt while climbing this mountain (the sounds of rocks, climbing gears rubbing the ground, greetings among people, footsteps, and nature).
— After the road trip, I realised that everyone has their own experience and stories of their hometown. That’s why I could experience many different things in this period. I started to think about what are my own stories about my hometown (a countryside city), Hualien?
[untitled]
— Polaroid can instantly keep the view right in a photo that you can see immediately. It is the ideal way to record and keep track of all the things I saw and those that I encountered on my journey (including cities, skylines, tea gardens, sea views, temples, cultures and all the amazing people I met along the way.)

This project was my starting point for the later printmaking series. When I returned to Taiwan, the pandemic made me think about how to describe the story of Taiwan and what is its value? Do we know enough about the stories of this land?

I started to travel around the island – the easiest and most direct way to know the place. I met and made friends during the trip, recorded these events and encounters through drawing and photography.

Medium:

Digital drawing