Wk11 – Artist Conversation – Yujia Gu

Exhibition Information

Artist: Yujia Gu
Exhibition: Tracing Gun Violence In The USA
Media: Glass, LED display, graphics
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dutzi Gallery
Website: yujiagu.squarespace.com
Instagram: n/a

About the Artist

Yujia Gu is an Undergraduate student in the Graphic Design Program in the CSULB School of Art. She is also graduating, making this Spring semester her last semester.

Yujia Gu started drawing when she was very young & when she got older she decided to go into Graphic Design in college. Yujia Gu started studying Graphic Design in college when she was still in China. She came here to the US and continued to study Graphic Design. When she brought up coming to the US, her mother had warned her about the US, gun violence and how international students were being killed, but she still decided to come to the US anyway. Now she has been here for three years and has even lived in New York for three months. Yujia Gu ultimately decided to stay in the US to study. Though there was a time when she was uncertain about her future and thought about going back to China.

Yujia Gu is also interested in photography, movies, and enjoys museums as well.

Formal Analysis

The media used in this exhibition was mostly TVs, or something electronic. There were also pictures of the children who were killed and their pictures were placed on glass that was hanging.

The shapes used were mostly guns and a generic person, like the ones found on a male bathroom door. The colors were primarily grayscale for the children’s pictures; black and red for the generic person; black for the guns and words put on the wall. The generic person was also lined along the bottom of the wall.

The aura of the exhibition was very serious and the emotion being conveyed was one of earnestness and concern.

Content Analysis

Yujia Gu’s exhibition is about the seriousness of gun violence in the US and how some people might not even realize its presence. She mentions how she did research and found that there was an astonishing amount of people who were killed and/or injured by gun violence. With her exhibition, she wanted to be able to clearly show an audience the gravity of gun violence present in the US.

Yujia Gu wanted to be able to express how strongly she feels about gun violence and that gun control needs to be changed and improved in order to prevent more damage from occurring.

Synthesis / My Experience

I found the exhibition to be very interesting because of the wall filled with people and gun stickers. I soon realized that the wall was a sort of mantra-like phrase that read, “Guns to protect themselves from more and more people are buying guns to protect themselves from more and more people buying…” It went on and on like that. I felt a little sad reading this phrase over and over because I thought of a broken person rocking back and forth saying this over and over just wanting all the gun violence to end. Just wanting a better world. I also thought that the way in which the phrase was positioned was interesting as well. I thought that it looked like a gun pointing towards the left, which would go along with the theme of gun violence.

Seeing the wall of names of children who were killed by gun violence really pulled at my heart. It was even more heartbreaking seeing the pictures of those children. I felt like Yujia Gu must have felt a bit angry towards US society because all of the gun violence that she had researched on and finding out more about gun control and whatnot. Coming from a country where guns are illegal to one where people have a “right to bear arms” must have been eye-opening.

While I felt sad seeing the pictures and names of the children who were killed and feeling upset seeing how many more Americans owned guns than Chinese, I thought that this was a topic that needed to be dealt with. We can’t ignore the fact that guns can and are a problem. I have lived in a neighborhood where I used to hear gunshots at night and it is absolutely terrifying. To see this exhibition and see that innocent children and people get hurt in the crossfire shows that this is a problem we need to address.


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