New York-Based Graphic Designer Intersects Art, Technology, and Human Experience with Her Exhibitions

Huiqi Fay Qiu
Photography by Stephanie Powell, Courtesy of Poster House

"Art today is no longer just admired on canvas or sculpture; it now encompasses a space of possibilities where technology and human experience converge," claims Huiqi Fay Qiu, a visionary graphic designer redefining the boundaries of creativity and engagement in the art world.

This interconnected world presents a landscape where industries no longer exist as isolated entities but as threads intricately woven into a grander fabric of innovation and collaboration. Fay Qiu believes that graphic design is a vibrant thread among the mediums that incorporate these intricate patterns of interconnectedness, seamlessly uniting sectors that were once considered distinct.

Graphic design has become a universal language that bridges industries, elevates human experiences, and establishes previously unimagined partnerships. Fay Qiu steers this movement, ensuring her beautiful designs evoke emotions and drive consciousness in today's pressing issues.

Taking Advantage of the Momentum

Such sentiment finds solid ground in 2023 statistics as the global appetite for innovative art experiences grows. With the international graphic design market soaring at an impressive $45 billion, the intersection of art and technology is a fertile ground for artists like Qiu. The US graphic design market, valued at $16.6 billion, proves the nation's eagerness to embrace transformative artistic narratives.

For Fay Qiu, the surging prominence of graphic design is an opportunity to harness its potential for a higher purpose. She envisions graphic design's rising value as a canvas for transformative artistry. With a commitment to amplify voices and provoke emotions, her creations transcend aesthetics. With each stroke, pixel, and line, she crafts art that has the power to transcend industries, spark conversations, and truly transform the way people perceive the world.

Fay Qiu's Approach to Graphic Design

Fay Qiu's journey from Xiamen, China, to Vancouver, earning her Bachelor's degree at Boston University and attaining a Design Program at New York City's School of Visual Arts, has bore fruit in the form of her designs. The fusion of cultural experiences forms the backbone of her approach, allowing her designs to transcend borders and resonate globally.

For the artist, graphic design is a visual medium with a voice that speaks up, empowers, and connects. Through her lens, the powerful confluence of art, technology, and the human experience becomes an expression of hope, reflection, and change in a world that craves unity and inspiration.

Unveiling Fay Qiu's Design

As the lead designer of the current Poster House Museum exhibitions "Made in Japan" and "Black Power to Black People," Fay Qiu's creations show the intricate dance between graphic design and profound human narratives.

In "Black Power to Black People," Fay Qiu orchestrates a symphony of visual storytelling, chronicling how the Black Panther Party ingeniously employed graphic language to underscore Black humanity and challenge systemic oppression. From the heroic imagery of party members to the widespread distribution of materials like The Black Panther newspaper, the designs channel a spirit of resilience that captivates and compels reflection.

Visitors approach the gallery and are greeted by two oversized leaning panels with hand-painted lettering, evoking the essence of 1960s protest signs. Inside, the journey begins with an iconic photograph of Huey Newton from 1967 and unfolds through six chronological sections detailing the evolution of Black Panther branding. The meticulously crafted exhibit's spatial design space, like a central L-shaped wall, angled vitrines, and stacked placards by KASA partners John Kudos and Robert de Saint Phalle, have added to the overall experience, transporting viewers back to that pivotal era.

Fay Qiu explains, "The exhibit employs bold typography, military colors, striking graphics including the panther and the red star and powerful photographs of Black Panther members with exposed firearms as a way to testify to the enduring impact and influence of the Black Panther Party's branding strategies, resonating with audiences even decades after their ascent to prominence."

For "Made in Japan," Fay Qiu and KASA partners delve into the cultural tapestry of modern Japan, unraveling the shifts that influence the messaging of advertising posters and the public's reception of them. According to Fay Qiu, this exhibit is an immersive visual journey through the golden age of Japanese graphic design, told vividly through posters.

Drawing inspiration from the iconic poster by Ikko Tanaka, the exhibit showcases a colorful passage of geometric shapes, echoing the art-tech-human triad that Fay Qiu emphasizes. As visitors progress, they are met with a triptych of oversized title walls reminiscent of a Japanese folding fan, leading them through four chronological sections.

Together with the KASA Collective team's Creative Directors, John Kudos and Robert de Saint Phalle, Fay Qiu, as the lead designer, meticulously designed the space, ensuring a balance between a linear curatorial flow and a permeable exhibit space. This design choice invites visitors to weave in and out of the exhibit timeline seamlessly.

"Each section offers a unique viewing experience, allowing visitors to engage intimately with the work. We aim to have the exhibit more than just a visual treat; it's a time capsule, encapsulating history's echo through pixels, color palettes, and narratives, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the evolving story of a nation," Fay Qiu shares.

These are just a few of many other exhibitions that Fay Qiu leads, highlighting her skills to transform ideas into designs that bring curiosity and bridge the past and the present.

"This is what I love about graphic design. It has the power to capture beyond its audience visual entertainment. It is so powerful that designers like me have the freedom to express and insert my voice," Fay Qiu asserts.

Fay Qiu as a Multifaceted Artist

Fay Qiu's talent reach goes beyond exhibitions. Her design philosophy was also reflected in other design areas, such as typography, highlighted in her work at "Chinese Retro," a magazine that knits together enthusiasts of new Chinese design and photography trends. In this digital world, Fay Qiu's design echoes a human longing for connection, creating a virtual space where ideas, inspirations, and aestheticism blend harmoniously.

Fay Qiu's creative soul also worked on a short documentary, "CUT," that views the poignant final days of New York's oldest Chinatown hair salon. The marriage of art, technology, and human emotion yields a cinematic experience that encapsulates stories beyond words, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the essence of a fading era. "CUT" is featured in known magazines such as Print.

Championing Responsible Creativity

Fay Qiu recognizes that the same brushstroke that can provoke thoughtfulness can also incite unintended harm. Understanding that every pixel carries the potential to shape perceptions, her commitment to responsible creativity stands. She acknowledges that the beauty of graphic design lies not just in its aesthetics but in its capacity to wield impact a double-edged sword that demands a discerning touch.

Yet, the Creative Communication Award (C2A) awardee is unbothered by critique. Some might question whether her designs, although profoundly interweaving art, technology, and human experience, stray from the essence of design to delight visually. These critiques challenge the conventional notion of graphic design, raising queries about its purpose.

These contemplative discussions highlight a broader responsibility. Viewers are entrusted with engaging thoughtfully with the art they consume, ensuring it contributes positively to the discourse. Amid these reflections, Fay Qiu's dedication is steadfast, remaining that her designs are conduits for social change. It's a vision she ardently upholds as her designs navigate the intersection of art, technology, and human experience.