The Barnum Effect

by Xixi Yu
union city, CA United States
Drawing: Pencil
Not for Sale

Vision Statement

The inspiration for this self-portrait watercolor drawing comes from my personal experience. Symbols such as crystal, moon, and fortune cookies are depicted to represent astrology, tarot cards, and fortunetelling, which all lead up to my main theme: the Barnum effect. (the gullibility of people when receiving information).
As a Chinese, I grew up immersed in Eastern culture. All my familiars believed deeply in "feng shui", which is an ideology involving fortune-changing. Although I am surrounded by many advocators of “feng shui”, the education I received built up my mindset to think more scientifically and logically. Therefore, I haven’t been assimilated by them ever since.
However, after immigrating to the US, I surprisingly found that this phenomenon exists in the world's largest socially developing country as well. People still believe in similar things, just the objects may have changed from Buddha statues to tarot cards. This observation made me feel a bit ironic, but moreover, it got me interested. Simultaneously, as someone artistic and skillful in art, I uphold my habit of keeping everything that I am passionate about on paper with my pencils. After careful conception and design of color matching and visual language, I have gone through 100+ Hours of portrayal, and finally, come up with this drawing.