Artist Sylvia Ji’s work has long embraced Día de los Muertos imagery with reverence. Her beautiful brushwork created beautiful narratives of the genre's darkly elegant figures into the contemporary. With the help of Korero Press, the San Francisco native has released an overview of her prints, Day of the Dead and Other Works by Sylvia Ji that encapsulates the intensely saturated colors, portrayals of femininity and intricate decorative patterns of her work.
“It’s been a year in the works and a labor of love for many many years,” says Ji. “I’m just so happy to see it all together.”
Growing up in San Francisco, Ji spent a lot of time in the Mission District embracing the Latino culture which would later translate into her work — as well as traveling to Mexico to experience Dia de Los Muertos firsthand. Her homages to la catrina has influenced today's mainstreaming of the holiday—but now, she has made the conscious decision to evolve.
The 35-year-old took some time away from painting to give birth to her now three-year-old daughter, Mia, and has since created new art, easing herself back into the studio while balancing motherhood. Her studio wall is currently covered with clippings of fashion designers like Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, drawing inspiration from their beautiful, over-the-top floral, rich and haute designs.
“I love textiles, especially couture fashion," Ji says. "People easily dismiss all of that as just overpriced fashion, but there is a true art form to it with the color palettes, fabrics and design work. It's something I wish I could do but I can only translate it to painting.” Her new body of work will juxtapose how fashion, history, and femininity collide with each other (think editorial fashion spread translated into painting).
Ji's solo show is expected to take place sometime next year at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. In the meantime, Independent art and design bookstore As Issued will host the signing of Ji’s book on Saturday May 13th in SanTana. “It’s ten years of her work put into 120 pages which is beautifully constructed," says owner and longtime friend Dana “DJ” Jazayeri. "It's something that needed to happen and should have happened awhile back, but we have it now.”
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Make sure to reserve a copy of Day of the Dead and Other Works by Sylvia Ji by contacting As Issued or pre-order the book on their online store here. Also available for purchase (exclusively at the book signing) is a limited edition 1” enamel catrina pin. The event is free to the public and doors open at 3 p.m. See you there!
As Issued, 305 E. 4th St. #103b, Santa Ana, (949) 300-7118; www.asissued.com