a chan

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within, without

An illustrated book that visualizes themes of mental health, wellness, and unwellness in LGBTQ+ Asian American communities, drawn from stories and thoughts collected from LGBTQ+ Asian young adults in the United States.

The illustrations draw from a mix of personal symbolism and respondents’ descriptions of their experiences, and represent 10 paired themes of unwellness/ wellness: distance/ community, empire/ world, chaos/ comfort, rest/ illusion, and expectation/ promise. Paired with quotes from these experiences that correspond with each theme, the visualizations are meant to function as a starting point for consideration & conversation.


This project began with exploration of high-level topics, and I gradually settled on the idea of illustration/symbolism as prompts to adress ideas of “wellness” and “unwellness.” From there, I gathered first-hand stories from people over the internet, & read through the responses to synthesize themes & larger ideas which led to the 10 paired concepts. Building off of these concepts, I used a mix of personal symbolism & descriptions respondants used to plan out the final illustrations.

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