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Breathe by yuumei Breathe by yuumei

This painting is inspired by my recent trip to China. Growing up there I always had poor health and would cough up a lot of phlegm, and every time I went back I would bring a smog mask. This time I forgot to pack mine, so the first few days back I thought I could just tough it out. I ended up developing a fever, coughing none stop, and my lungs burned so much.

As a child I didn't even notice the pain because I was so used to it, but now I couldn't even survive a few days. My SO who went with me also developed headaches and fever. Luckily we got masks a few days later and recovered. During the trip, we also visited the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, and the area was covered in plants and bamboo. The better air quality was so noticeably better that I wish I could have just covered my mouth with those plants. 
After coming back to the US, I had art block and repainted this idea many times. Initially I wanted to add the city and other people in the background, but it didn't work with the composition. I ended up scrapping everything 5 times before using zemotion 's beautiful photos as a reference point to finish this. I still like my old idea of showing the city covered in smog, so maybe I'll go back and paint that as well sometime. 
It's been a bittersweet experience visiting my homeland again after so many years. So much has improved yet so much has worsened. I hope one day the smog will clear and the censorship will lighten, but unfortunately I don't see that happening very soon. 

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SlushieStorms Featured By Owner May 13, 2019  New Deviant Student Digital Artist
By far the best portrait you've ever done. I love this so much, words can't describe.
bluegiraffe93 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2019  Hobbyist
Awesome stuff:) Makes me think of B-blk-Blak-B-B-B-ck-lk-tzzz-tzzz... Black Sun Empire - Breathe:)
CarryKelia Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2019  New Deviant
Lonely and boring, who wants to meet and chat about anime DM me here:
dam0n88 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2019  Student Digital Artist
The art itself if beautiful but what made it even more so was the story behind it! 
tokyostorms Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2018  Student Digital Artist
i am in love with the concept of a smog mask made of plants. this is beautiful.
Riva-chan Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this art is so pretty^^
EvelynVictus Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this one! :heart:
AmmonaArt Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I love love love it.
xandraclay Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Until that better day comes we will have your artwork to inspire hope and change Hug 
BorisFedorov Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, clean air is something that should be taken for granted for any wildlife or "human" experience. :)
WafflePhantom Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
This painting is breathtaking (pun intended XD). I love how you created this with inspiration of your experience. It is interesting how you drew everything else simplistic except for the mask, the focus of the artwork.
Willowhawk2009 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
CreateArtNotWar Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2018
Heart +fav 
sarah1204 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018   General Artist
I love this so much along with the concept. Everything about this piece is just amazing.  Cooky2BT21 - COOKY emoticon bunny - Hearts Love Jin love (CE 
raptorlw Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018
So nice
MarMorena Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Arte puro !!
DJaris Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2018
ravenpawdraws7 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2018  Student Digital Artist
BornFreak Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist
Such a great concept
MangAniMania Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The concept of your drawing always amazes me :)
Grendelkin Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Moonshinenight1 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AmazingKitty love [f2u] [icon] 
ILikeThePixiesMore Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2018
great eyes great style!
Lugia20711 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing work!
Ookayami1 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2018  Student Digital Artist
nice picture !
andychan82 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A picture means a thousand words... utterly beautiful
pahndablac Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is sooooo good! Great work on this!!
Nyuukatsumi Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2018  Professional General Artist
This is beautiful
Y-Phil Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful :heart:
pampd Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Plants can do a lot of change since you know, trees do help produce oxygen and air is better at areas with more trees. All cities should have more green areas especially the heavily polluted ones to help heal the enviroment. Lovely piece as always!
KAJ420360 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018
Xiao-Lie Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018
your art is amazing!! 
CandiedSnakes Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful work! Tini Peach Rose 
aycamo Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018  Student
I hope you are feeling better !
Amazing work as always
Desmodius Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing work!
Blackvegetable Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2018
That's quite the reason for this amazing artwork! :wow:

Then again, I never had a liking to smog and cigarettes!
RDunLao Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2018
I cant believe this world is becoming something that makes us think of those masks will be necessary someday... I saw and read info about contamination and makes me really sad about our future.
GreatFrostHawk Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2018  Student General Artist
I had an idea of what this could be about.
I've recently bought about... 10+ of these masks myself but have felt self-conscious of wearing them in the US in my area.
MegaRezfan Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
That's very sad China is that bad, I really like this piece tho.
DeadDancers Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So very striking
Thunder-B Featured By Owner Edited Jun 3, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Amazing drawing, sad story :'( I know how you feel, I'm allergic too.

Llama Emoji-08 (Crying) [V1] 
Lightythedreamer Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Breath taking and so deep into a huge problem...
Eriaricheria Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dani-Castro Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018
atorife Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I very love this idea of yours - and the story behind it, which is very sad, yet I love that you are inspired by it, and that you show it to the world - probably not only here on deviantart, but to your surroundings in USA as well.

I am studying protection and creation of nature at university, so it always makes me sad, how people try their best to keep the planet clean and wonderful, yet there are other people who do just the opposite and so all those efforts are kind of in vain. But I keep telling myself it's not pointless, that even the smallest impact matters, and if nothing else, at least I myself will feel good from it.
Lucker19 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018
just one word Beautiful
ImaginedMoments Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Beautiful work and great concept :heart:
AurielPhoenix Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Student Digital Artist
What a beautiful image! Being an allergic I can truly relate to this.. Thank you for posting this!
biohazard22791 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018
When I saw the preview of this image I had an idea of what the story behind this was. 

I live in NYC and I spend a good enough time in the subways. Not the same intensity as the smog you've experienced. 

I took a trip upstate, far away from the city, and the air was just different, clear, like I had a glass of clean water. 

It was only for a few hours. Those hours were more than enough to appreciate clean air.
SpookyThePanda Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow there's so much meaning to this! Amazing work! So sorry you gotten sick
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Submitted on
June 1, 2018
Image Size
1.3 MB


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