by Jierui Fang
Jierui is jamming out to Chinese love songs on Spotify when I find her in the tunnels. She’s in her natural habitat, with an in-progress painting in front of her.
When she was a kid, she always wanted to paint her room. Her parents always said no. After much pestering, her parents finally promised her that she’d get to paint her new room after they finished moving. When they finally got settled in, however, all her parents got her was a quart sized can of orange that wouldn’t even cover a full wall. Jierui still doesn’t have painted walls.
On this flipside, this is her chance to live out her dream! She’d never used latex paint before, so she started with a simple pattern of cells. They’re colored orange and blue: her favorite color and a common color cells are drawn as. The cells curve in a way reminiscent of the power lines she saw driving down Texas highways. Near evening, you would see thousands of birds sitting along the lines, who would then rise and fly away in a murmuration. The two birds in her mural are flapping through the film of cells and breaking free. Jierui wants everyone to feel similarly happy and free.
Special thanks to Xialou G. and Pearl L.