Jocelyn Tsaih (b. 1992) is a Taiwan-born, Shanghai-raised artist currently based in Oakland, California. The focal aspect of her work is an amorphous figure that’s meant to be both a reflection and a vessel. By illustrating these figures, Tsaih pours herself into them while encouraging viewers to do the same. The unspoken dialogue that’s present in her work exists in parallel to her observations of what it means to be beings that fundamentally long for connection. Her use of multiple mediums, including painting, drawing, and sculpture, is an extension of her exploration on communicating our complex experiences as humans.
What initially compelled you to create your work?
I went to art school to study graphic design but I became really interested in having a personal narrative and finding a way to translate it through illustration or drawing. The recurring figures in my work came about during a time of emotional turbulence in college and I began to doodle them consistently in my sketchbook. It felt cathartic to use the figure as a vessel for me to express certain emotions, and I realized it was one of the main subject matters I felt compelled to explore continuously.
What main topic does your artwork address and why?
My work aims to capture snippets of our human experience as well as the parts of it that are beyond our language. I’m interested in touching on the shared aspects of humanity rather than what sets us apart. While a lot of what I make comes from a place of introspection, I ultimately hope that my work can act as both a vessel and reflection for those that view it. I think I strive to make this kind of work because I’m personally always seeking out art that makes me feel held and seen, and I’d like my work to do the same for others too.
In your artistic journey, what has been the most challenging point thus far?
As someone who enjoys working on a lot of different projects in different mediums at once, I think it can be tough to balance it all. Managing my time and energy to make sure I don’t end up constantly feeling burnt out has been a learning experience. Sometimes working so much, even if it’s my passion, can take a toll on my mental health. It’s been a work in progress but I’ve recently been a lot more mindful and conscious of how I extend myself.
Is there an aspect of your life that especially impacts your practice?
Having new experiences and living a creatively fulfilling life is really important to me. My work is largely inspired by my everyday thoughts, conversations, and encounters, so I try my best to stay curious and have a life outside of my studio or apartment.
What do you do when you find yourself at a creative block?
I try to break away from whatever it is I’m working on and give myself some time and space. Leaving my immediate environment is always helpful, like going on a walk or taking a short trip.