Blurring the lines between portraiture and fantasy, Sylvia Ji uses her paintbrush with amazing precision, producing reflections of herself and people she knows, with decorations that speak of another world.

Ji’s paintings explore a side of portraiture and figurative beauty that most would not consider traditional. Her sexually provocative and immensely decorative paintings are eerie, yet beautiful.

Her earlier works explored a carefree attitude towards sexuality and an exuberance for life, with it’s generally soft pastel colour palette and suggestive subject matter which functions to titillate, rather than shock. Her later, more confronting works seem to focus on the ephemeral nature of beauty, drawing heavy inspiration from the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos and it’s candy skull decoration. These more recent works feel like a dramatic shift in subject matter when compared to the paintings of 2005, however the evolution of her style is clearly apparent as her palate darkens and subjects become more passionate and expressive when the ladies of the dead start to trickle in.

These graphic, skull faced ladies are not only hot property in galleries and private collections around the world, but an explosion of popularity within tattoo culture has seen many people getting their favourite Sylvia Ji immortalised on their skin permanently, in an homage to her artistic prowess.

So if you like hot chicks with skulls for faces, in a totally non weird or weird way… Sylvia Ji’s works are currently on display and for sale at Outré Gallery (249 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne) until July 14th or you can ogle her full portfolio online at


Words: Darcy J











Tags: day of the dead, figurative, fine art, , mexico, , painting, portrait, skull, Sylvia Ji, tattoo

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