Jesse R. Yu, also known as J★RYU, is a Los Angeles-based sculptor focused on exploring the themes of life and death and more intriguingly, what lies beyond.
J★RYU has garnered an avid following of fans who eagerly look forward to seeing each subsequent new piece and how the accompanying narratives add to the ongoing story of his signature Forest of Sorrows series featuring Locket, the ghost girl. Using emotive, eerie and ghostly themes, Yu's sculptures strive to convey a universal story that connects to people regardless of race, gender or ethnicity.
Yu's works have been featured in galleries around the country and world, as well as events like Coachella Music Festival and Art Basel Miami. He is frequently an invited guest of conventions and events internationally where he conducts panels on art and business, as well as live sculpting showcases . Some of the events he has attended as a guest/panelist are Singapore Toy Gaming Comic Convention, Indonesia Toy Gaming Comic Convention, DesignerCon, APCC Philippines, Middle East Film & Comic Con, Shanghai Comic Con and New York Comic Con.
J★RYU has also been honored to work with companies such as a Kidrobot, Flabslab, Art Whino, Rotofugi, myplasticheart, Munky King, and Topps. He has also had the honor to work with artists such as Angry Woebots, Luke Chueh, Jermaine Rogers, Nosego, OG Slick and more on collaborations and shows.
In 2009, Yu traveled to southeast Asia alongside his crewmates in the Army of Snipers collective to share their experiences and teach young people about art via a program called the “The Little Lotus Project.” This trip to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Philippines was made into a documentary called “Paint Life by Daniel Zana and is available on VOD.
In 2012, J★RYU was nominated and won for the Best Toy Customizer category at the Designer Toy Awards, an annual celebration of accomplishments for the designer toy industry. He was nominated again in 2016 for the Fan’s Choice of Best Custom and won for his work on the “It’s A FAD” 20” dunny design.
The “It’s a FAD” dunny design was turned into a production release with Kidrobot in 2015 in both 8” and 20” dunny sizes, of which the 20” versions sold out. In 2016, Yu followed up with the well-received “Clairvoyant” 8” dunny design in 5 different colors. Two additional Clairvoyant Dunnys were released in November of 2017 in the premium 20" format, capping off the previous consecutive sold-out releases.
In 2017, the long-anticipated “Arcane Divination” 3” minifigure series, art directed and curated by J★RYU, was released to commercial and critical success, featuring the theme of mysticism and Tarot..
Yu primarily works in epoxy, polymer clay and resin as well frequent customizations on top of vinyl art collectibles.
Prior to his career in fine art, Yu spent 15 years in the corporate world as the owner of a design consultancy firm, working for clients such as Marvel, Sony, Columbia Pictures and more.
For more info, please visit www.JRYUART.com or keep up to date with his daily adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook under username JRYUART.