Campus Celeb: Wenqing Yan

 

 

Hometown: Sichuan, China

Degree: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Digital Arts

Year: Alumni, Class of 2011

Claim to fame: invented cat ear headphones, holds title of 2nd most followed artist on DeviantART, creates gorgeous digital paintings, comics, and sculptures

 

Wenqing Yan, better known by her username “Yuumei” on the online art community DeviantART, is an illustrator, activist, graphic novelist, sculptor, and product developer. Her DeviantART page boasts over 19 million pageviews and over 340,000 followers. To make things even better, Yan is a proud Golden Bear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An elaborate dragon sculpture that Yuumei carved back in 2006.

 

Although Berkeley is more renowned for its science and business programs, Yan explains that majoring in art at the #1 public university in the world has its share of perks. Only at Cal can you immerse yourself in an ultra-liberal atmosphere that prioritizes artistic expression over practiced technique. Not to mention, Yan maintained a 4.0 throughout her entire undergraduate career, which anyone who has gone to Berkeley will tell you is no small feat. For more of her perspective on why she chose Berkeley over a specialized art college, check out her article “Why University of California, Berkeley?”: http://www.deviantart.com/journal/Why-University-of-California-Berkeley-224238932/ 

 

Drawing from her own life and experiences at Cal, Yan’s art centers on environmentalism, children of divorced or dysfunctional families, and cyber activism. Her three published graphic novels, Knite, 1000 Words, and Fisheye Placebo (which you can read for free on her website, http://yuumei.deviantart.com/), explore these topics extensively. 

 

This piece by Yuumei, entitled “Better Tomorrow”, portrays the destructive impact pollution has on the environment and the hope for a cleaner future. 

 

Yan launched a successful IndieGoGo for the development of a line of cat ear headphones called Axent Wear that she designed and marketed. The campaign had over 300,000 backers, and raised over $3 million. Axent Wear headphones entered Brookstone stores across the country, an even gained the attention of Ariana Grande who partnered to release her own limited edition version. 

Yuumei’s concept design and finished product.

 

        Yan currently lives in Berkeley and attends conventions and events year-round in California to promote her work. Some of her past gigs, where you will likely find her at, are San Diego Comic Con, Anime Expo in Los Angeles, and Berkeley China Forum. Yan is now working on expanding her online print shop, and building a team of fellow artists to experiment with 3D character and background models.