Gabrielle Widjaja is a Chinese-Indonesian born, California-raised designer & illustrator who is currently a brand designer at Airtable
based in NYC. She also does handpoked tattoos in her free time. Gabby is a Capricorn, loves Takis, and prefers window seats. She graduated from RISD Graphic Design in 2019 and has previously worked at Stripe. In school she designed for Hack@Brown, RISD Design Guild, RISD E’Ship, and Brown Political Review.
Perhaps most importantly, learning about and researching Chinese culture drives her creative practice. When she uses Chinese words in her work, she commits them to memory so her work becomes a vehicle for learning. She goes by the pseudonym of Gentle Oriental in creating personal projects because her work pursues one main inquiry: How can we reclaim the term ‘oriental’? Orientalism was originally a term created by the west to refer to the east as “exotic” and “other”. But similarly, Gabby feels so westernized that she could almost consider my own culture “other”. “Orientalism” in her mind, connotes a directionality in that we are in the west looking to the east, not as “other” but as a distant home. It also implies a shallowness of understanding, but one that we yearn to deepen and widen. It raises a question of how much claim she has to her own culture when she has been thus far removed to the point where she is an observer and not a participant, and how she can close that gap. The exciting part is that ones relationship to culture is never clearly defined. It ebbs and flows; It is constantly evolving.MEDIA
New York Times: What We Look LikeRadii China ArticleDribbble Feature