Taiwanese artist Yi-Fei Chen has brought a whole new meaning to the concept of turning your pain into art. In 2016, the designer created a brass gun that used her tears as bullets. The faux weapon was chic and sleek and came with an origin story of vulnerability. In 2021, it’s suddenly getting major love again from thousands of people on Twitter.
Per design magazine Dezeen, Chen was going through an exceptionally tough time in 2016 as a student at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, where she had fallen into a bitter altercation with her tutor. She felt stress not only as a student but as a foreigner in a land with different customs and morals.
Chen tried to hold her tears back during class until one of her peers stood up for her and criticized the teacher’s demand for more work from an already exhausted and demoralized Chen. This display of kindness and support made Chen cry.
“I would say that incident [with the tutor] made me meet the extreme. The social restrictions I faced growing up became a burden of pressure and these tears represent the explosion of frustration and anger.”
Yi-Fei Chen to 'Design Indaba'