“The bug has always been a reflection of the self”, and Riniifish’s illustrations and animations explore the unique beauty and mystical activities of these seemingly uniform creatures. In her works, the artist creates a mythology of the M7 Planet, which her bugs co-created and have since thrived on. Join us on Sugar Rush’s first sweet feature to these vivid worlds of wonder.

Your artwork delves into fantastical realms and parallel universes, populated by surreal creatures, “bugs”. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind these creations and what they represent to you?

The bug has always been a reflection of the self, usually in a very honest way, occasionally in a weird and embarrassing way. In this mirror, the universe at large containing everyone and anything outside of myself, I have been using a bug character to talk to “the universe”. Bug natives have always believed in the existence of parallel universes, many of which look alike, do similar things, and have bland characteristics that are usually overlooked by creatures from other universes. Not necessarily parallel universes, of course, and most of what the bugs do goes unnoticed by many larger creatures. I believe they are all shiny, so I often give them a different kind of “shiny” magic.

What inspired the evolution of your surreal creatures, the bugs, and how have they transformed over time?

The girl and the fish started out as a girl and a fish, but after time and repetition, the girl and the fish have been able to “live in seclusion” in the world. You may find some of them in the present work. After the bugs became the natives of the M7 Planet, I see the whole chaotic world becoming clearer and brighter.

The bugs inhabit the “M7 Planet” and engage in various activities, each with its unique characteristics. Can you share some insights into the world of M7 and the stories that unfold there through your art?

As I mentioned earlier, there were once only two kinds of beings on M7 (a girl and a fishman).

I wouldn’t say that bugs “invaded” M7, they were the builders of the planet, and over the years a highly harmonious civilization and culture of racial coexistence was established. Some of the bugs I can recognize at the moment – they are mainly responsible for emotional management and spreading bugology, they are also currently trying to understand beliefs outside the bug world, which will be a long process.

Your childhood experiences, including struggles with societal norms and financial hardships, have shaped your journey as an artist. How did drawing become a source of solace and empowerment for you during those challenging times?

I always think back to those unclear golden days. As I grew up, it was no longer just bitterness for me. To this day, I still have the same dream. Little me is walking up mountainous terrain to my grandmother’s house halfway up the mountain, the green paving the path under my feet. I was a crying child, so my grandmother would stuff my mouth with sugar, causing my large front teeth to decay; I also dream how when I was a child, I used to move along with my parents to houses that were empty and had little furniture. Ah, it turns out that beauty and hardship coexist, and they have shaped me, even if my ego knows deep down that there are many incomplete parts of my current self. I used to envy the seemingly carefree kids, but now I can appease my inner child.

Through your artwork, you’ve found a way to navigate and even transform your feelings towards society. Can you say how your creations have served as a form of self-care and connection?

I used to have a very bad habit of avoiding what I really felt inside. Due to my family factors, I was habitually afraid of all the kinds of factors that could cause conflicts, and for internalization, I only dared to digest it with my closest people, but the result was usually unhealthy. Creating art does alleviate such self-contradictions, and I have discovered a kind of a way to face the world, society, and relationships in a reconciled manner. At one time I was always hostile, and the bugs have made me much gentler.

Growing up in a traditional rural Chinese environment, how did your upbringing influence your artistic vision and the themes you explore in your work?

As I said, I used to envy children who grew up with a lot of material resources, but maybe it’s because of that upbringing that I also have the company of such weird creatures nowadays, and that makes me enjoy exploring and focusing on the little people on the margins when I create now. On the topic of “small”, they’ve always been the elements that I can’t live without, and I like cozy small spaces and small objects that can be easily stored and organized, which can create an invisible sense of security.

As a self-taught artist who has carved out a unique path in the art world, what advice would you give to aspiring creators who may be facing similar challenges or doubts about pursuing their artistic passions?

I’m grateful that a small percentage of people can now hear the voices in my work. For me, creating is a process of reconciling with my inner child, and it’s definitely a process that has some twists and turns, so I hope that creators who can hear the voice of their inner child won’t be put off or too anxious by them.

Our current theme is named “Sugar Rush”. If the art is like eye candy, what is your favourite sweet treat (art piece)?

It’s hard to answer, but every time I make a new work, it’s my favorite work of the moment. I’m really enjoying Organ Trip at the moment, I’ve named it with a very weird name. I hope to blur the biological aspect and create a warm and harmonious psychedelic atmosphere, which makes me feel comfortable both physically and mentally, and I hope you can feel something~!

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As an introvert with many emotions, dreams, and stories constantly spinning in her mind, creating art is the way through which she speaks most freely and eloquently. In her work, Riniifish portrays fantastical versions of otherworldly life, depicting parallel universes and extraterrestrial civilizations full of tiny, translucent creatures. She is best known for her ongoing series of ‘bugs’ who populate the ‘M7 Planet’, through which she explores themes of life and death, emotional struggles and burnout, and sometimes, just everyday life.

Since 2020, Riniifish has worked with fashion brands including Pull&Bear, Adriana Hot Couture and JIU JIE. She has exhibited at (Kraftwerk)Berlin, (Shinwa Digital Art Week) Tokyo, (TODA, Kanvas Gallery, and The Opus) Dubai, TezArt (Montreal),(NFT NYC) NYC, (Madrid’s Urban Digital Art Festival)(UVNT Art Fair) Madrid, , and (GifFest at National Design Centre) Singapore.


Artist / Riniifish @riniifishw

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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