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Suyao Tian is an artist, designer, and independent curator living in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2017, she graduated with honors from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, receiving an MFA. Previously, she earned a double BFA in fine art and music education. Tian is also the owner and founder of the fashion brand Modern Cover.

Growing up in the ‘80s amid China’s one-child-only policy, Tian didn’t have any siblings and couldn’t have pets; making friends was daunting and limited by rules and inhibited communication. As a child, she would often catch all kinds of small bugs, putting them in jars, speaking to and playing with them, and calling them the “only listeners in her childhood.” She finds that she still often talks to these creatures, but instead of putting them in a jar, she puts them into her creations, where they become a symbol and language of her own.

Although watercolor is Tian’s main medium, she also uses colored pencil, ink, and a variety of pen marks to define details and give her pieces layers and depth.