Tracing the modern day love story found in between chat bubbles and opened tabs, Taiwanese artist DEBBY WOO captures our insecurity and thoughts on relationships in fine lines and heartbreaking art.
Going back to a simpler time where you couldn’t just double tap your crush, Debby Woo relied on horoscopes to tell her if she was a perfect match with the boys she liked – from then to now, the only difference with her modern heartache is the filter used to update her recent status change. “I started to write about relationships after my first heartbreak when I was 20-years old. You just have to let things out, but at the same time, I didn’t want my friends to see me as the heartbroken girl that won’t stop posting sad things on Facebook. I thought how it was a waste to spend too much time thinking of that person who’s not coming back, so I started to write short sentences and sketches to cheer myself up. Also, it’s more positive to look at our newsfeed.”
“Because there’s no words on my work and I just draw about their stories, I think people can feel comforted knowing that they are not alone in this situation, and they have someone to relate to through my art.”
Now drawing portraits of lovesick girls unfiltered from the dreamlike haze of social media, Debby Woo explores the concept of stability and love through a series of computer screenshot illustrations. With just the right click, the Taiwanese artist can take a snap on art imitating life on the Internet. Finding a missing link between the perception of relationships from other cultures compared to Asians, Debby dials us up to date with her most recent work, Asian Girls Insecure. “Asians grow up in a different way. From what I see, Asian girls don’t point out the problem right away when there is one. We feel more comfortable to wait and see if things might change, or give our boyfriend hints in hopes that they’ll just get it. We tolerate things till we can’t hold it in anymore – of course, I’m not saying Asians are like this, but from my own perspective it’s been like this,” she shares, drafting us a sneak peak beyond her online persona. “It’s not always a bad thing to hold back,” she adds. With a collection of stories under her belt such as Love Encyclopedia and Handbook For Healing A Broken Heart and with her most recent project, China.Girls, you could say that Debby knows the visual language of the www well enough to tell a romantic tragedy.
“For some of them, it’s just a story in the past, while some are still trying to move on. I want to tell my viewers that what you’re going through may be tough, but everything is a process.”
“Ever since I started to draw the desktop series, the Internet culture became more and more important to me. I look for girls that I find interesting online and ask about their insecurities in their relationship, and their answers are the elements I need to draw. I use a screenshot of their own desktop to make a connection between my drawing and their real life,” she recalls behind the process of her sketching the life of what it means to be young today. “When I was really into Instagram, I always thought you can basically see my life on it. I post everything everyday, and it became a part of our lifestyle now.”
At a time where you can easily swipe right to the next love of your life, Debby takes it slow and outline their contradictions and stories of what happens after hours, when their screens are shut. “Because there’s no words on my work and I just draw about their stories, I think people can feel comforted knowing that they are not alone in this situation, and they have someone to relate to through my art.” Telling a tale of regrettable texts and 21st century anxiety of waiting for a fast reply in an even faster world, Debby Woo knows how to narrate a double tapped heartbreak. “I like talking about heartrending memories with my friends. For some of them, it’s just a story in the past, while some are still trying to move on. I want to tell my viewers that what you’re going through may be tough, but everything is a process.”
By: Bianca Serrano
Art by: Merrill Chan