A really cool thing about the internet is how much information you have access to. I find a new artist on a weekly basis who inspires me, wows me, shocks me... I come across artists pretty organically, searching for something, but then finding images I never even knew to look for, trying to find out how best to create and use layers in Procreate and stumble upon a tutorial from an artist who's work is simply magical...
I can't remember what exactly lead me to find the artist known as Qinni, but it was at the beginning of her online presence in 2008. I was just getting into art, "trying to find my style", which really translated into looking at a bunch of other artist's styles and trying to decide which ones I liked best to try and figure out how to create work more like them... I know, that's not how you discover your own style, but I was so new to the art thing and I just really wanted to be "good" like these others. In an interview with Qinni, she remembered, "wanting to be just as skilled and well known as some of the artists here and it’s crazy to almost be able to see myself as their peer now."
Being a "peer" is an understatement. Qinni amassed over 2 million followers on instagram and was awarded the 'Deviousness Award' from DeviantArt in February 2017 for her generosity, helpfulness, and mentoring of other artists on the site. She also created a well-known meme of a person laying in a puddle of their tears and a piece she created in 2016 even sparked a make-up fad of galaxy paintings across a person's nose, it became so well known it was made into a SnapChat filter. Qinni also made short films and worked with animation.
Qinni was a Chinese-born Canadian artist named Qing Han, born on March 20, 1990. She started playing violin at the age of 3 and a half, and says her hatred of practicing such a difficult instrument might be what sparked her deep-rooted love of art in a sort of weird way. For as much as she hated practicing the violin, she loved doing art, and her parents actually forbade her from drawing at home at one point because to them, any time she had should have been spent on practicing the violin or doing homework. But you know how kids are, the more you say no, the more they want to do it. She would draw all the time at school, doodled during class and says she angered most of her teachers. If not for music, she felt her passion for art might not be as strong.
As to how old she was when she started art, she recalls having videos of herself when she was 5 years old, wearing her dad's t-shirt and painting on a canvas with cheap poster paint. She came from a family of artists on her dad's side. Qinni's dad did freelance illustration along with his engineering job and her dad's uncle was a famous artist in China. In fact, he was the head of the designs for the olympics mascot. She felt she was really influenced by that when she was younger.
Qinni opened up about a medical battle in 2015 with a genetic heart condition. She survived 4 heart surgeries, but in December was told she also had terminal stage 4 fibrosis sarcoma cancer. Her work had several medical themes as well as her subjects showing emotion and often crying, but in a beautiful sort of way. Tears of stars or flower petals, or showing the tears inside waiting to come out. Her work also often included goldfish and galaxies. One of her last works talked about her pretending her hospital bruises were tiny galaxies all over her body. Even though doctors had given her a year to live, news of her passing came February 10, 2020.
You should Google some of her works and tell me which ones you like the best... because honestly, it would be hard to pick a single favorite. She will be an inspiration to artists for years to come and her tutorials will surely provide much needed help and encouragement for future and current artists.