Artist Q&A with Lily Qian
Why did you become an artist?
I was fortunate to have had a bohemian childhood. At a young age, I was encouraged to draw, read, and take dance classes. I was born into an artist family: my father was the Dean of the oil painting department at Beijing University and my mother was a ballet dancer and an award-winning costume designer. My father told me he wanted me to be an artist because it’s something I will always have no matter what happens in life. I became interested in illustration, design, and children’s books because it’s about creating art for everyone.
What’s different about your current body of work?
I always begin a project with drawing by hand first. I have a diverse range and enjoy working with a variety of materials from ink, watercolor, charcoal, and digital. For a long time, I was interested in studying people through portraiture and figurative works. My current work is a departure from the figure and more about exploring ideas and storytelling.
What’s coming up for you?
When I’m not busy with an illustration assignment, I’m creating new work for my portfolio. My next goal is to write and illustrate children’s books. Currently, I’m working with Christian Dior Couture on special fashion illustration assignments. Since 2017, I’ve partnered with Others Trade for Hope to design and develop handmade textile goods to support a small group of female artisans and their families in Bangladesh. It’s important for me to give back, and find a place where my work would also inspire others to fuller and happier lives.