Exclusive poster revealed during world premiere screening of Disney+ original series American Born Chinese at SXSW

Producers of the upcoming Disney+ Original streaming TV series American Born Chinese revealed exclusive poster art created by visual artist James Jean at the series’ world premiere during SXSW at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. In attendance at the event were cast members Ben Wang, Daniel Wu, Chin Han and Sydney Taylor, and executive producers Kelvin Yu, Gene Luen Yang and Melvin Mar, all celebrating their fellow cast members Michelle Yeoh’s and Ke Huy Quan’s historic wins at the Academy Awards Sunday night. The Disney television series will premiere May 24th with all eight episodes, exclusively on Disney+.

The newly designed art depicts the journey of the main character, Jin Wang, and reflects Jean’s own experiences as an Asian American. Jean recently issued a commissioned art piece for the seven-time Academy Award-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which also had its world premiere at last year’s SXSW.

Jean’s new design captures Jin on his way to school, with Chinese mythological hero The Monkey King shape-shifting into his backpack. While the backpack alludes to the idea of cultural and emotional baggage, the flora emerging from within is a pastiche of the paintings of Giuseppe Castiglione, an Italian missionary who became a court painter in China during the Qing dynasty and revolutionized traditional silk scroll painting by combining Western rendering techniques with traditional Chinese aesthetics.

“While watching American Born Chinese, my ears burned and I squirmed in my seat because Jin’s journey felt so hauntingly familiar,” Jean said. “It was the pain of recognition: the ill-fitting clothes, the feeling of being on the outside, the percussive sound of parents arguing through the walls in a language not fully grasped. I had never seen my own experience of adolescence depicted on screen like this before.”

James Jean is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose work explores imagination and reality through narrative-driven, layered compositions. His expressionistic, painterly approach to mark-making blends figuration with abstraction in works that are at once technically precise and gestural. He works primarily in painting and drawing while also embracing other media, including sculpture, installation and video. Fusing aspects of history, tradition, literature, nature and personal experience, Jean’s dream-like, and at times disorienting, visual vocabulary draws upon art historical antecedents ranging from Baroque paintings to Japanese woodblock prints and Chinese silk scroll paintings.