Chinese Death Star
I did the cover of the New York Times Sunday Review yesterday. The article is about the aggressive global push of China’s state-capitalism and the fear of China’s world domination. You can read the article here.
AD Aviva gave me the great suggestion of maybe having an image “dominating” the page, instead of being boxed in a rectangle.
After a couple round of sketches, we agreed that having the Great Wall expanding and covering the entire globe was the best solution for this article as it also relates to the Chinese investing in building dams and infrastructure all over the world.
During the inking stage, I thought, why not also make the extending walls look like monstrous tentacles? Then my boyfriend Kyle walked by and said “Your drew a Chinese Death Star!” I am okay with that.
Many thanks again to the wonderful Aviva and the NYTimes!
I am a huge fan of Ngai’s illustrations and her style, but I think it’s pretty revealing her editors’ directives and Ngai’s take on them, because in 2013 an art director at a major publication like the Times is trying to produce work that invokes fear of the Yellow Peril. The article is about China’s “aggressive global push,” that the image has to be “dominating,” the extending walls look like “monstrous tentacles.” China is THE shorthand for our instilled fear of Yellow Peril nowadays, and it’s saddening that we’re still producing imagery that makes China out to be a sprawling, spreading, sickening disease that’s slowly eating away at the world.