Category: Q&A

Lily Qian

Artist Q&A with Lily Qian

“The Swimmer”, digital, 2020

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.

Lily Qian, photo by Nathan Rocky

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. 

“Kayak”, digital, 2020

To learn more about Lily and her work, please visit www.lily-qian.com/illustration.… Click here to read more

Alex Cao

Artist Q&A with Alex G. Cao

Alex G. Cao “Immortal” installation view

How and why did you become an artist?

Coming from China to New York City in the 80s was a wonderful experience; a world of beauty and enchantment. While studying at Fashion Institute of Technology, I was fortunate to be surrounded by fashion and beauty while gaining experience working in a creative field. Through work, I was engaging with pop culture, glorifying beauty and a vibrating downtown NYC scene. I began to reflect on the use of logos and classic icons as markers of society, as recognizable as the Parthenon of Ancient Greece or the Roman Colosseum – perhaps even more recognizable.
 
I visited Naples and Pompeii just after graduating to discover these iconic ancient cities which have the most profound impact. Through my travels I was able to identify the iconic styles and architecture of classical Greco-Roman society. In these places I uncovered mosaics which lined city streets for centuries.  I started to make art while engaging with these memories, recalling this trip to Pompeii and building the architecture of my artistic career on the memory of this experience. After spending time in the piazzas of Italy surrounded by these ancient art forms. It was these formative trips that continue to inspire me artistically.

Tell us about your new show “Immortal.”  What is the meaning of it?

This new body of work in “Immortal” blends the pop culture imagery I always inspired and fascinating in with materials including plexiglass, canvas and stainless steel mirrors. The stainless steel mirror holds particular significance as it reflects and augments what you’re already witnessing; even projecting outward. The tension between the relationship of small repetitive images and the large final composition makes this work especially poignant. 

These framed work are … Click here to read more

Melanie Comber

Artist Q&A with Melanie Comber

“Way Out 56”, oil and pigment on paper, 12 x 16 in | 31 x 41 cm, 2020

Why did you become an artist?

Making things and painting became a way for me to express myself from a very young age. I hated school and found it really difficult to follow the group. In art class, I discovered that I could express myself through a process of ‘making’.  I could have a world that I created; a space that was solely mine to dictate. From there I just knew that this was the way that I wanted to face the world, and focused my education towards art school. It was a search for my own voice, my own language, and a way to project myself in the world that stood outside everyone else.

Melanie Comber, self portrait

How is your work different than everything else out there?

I make paintings using traditional materials, but I don’t apply those materials in a traditional way. I use oil paint and loose pigments to create large three dimensional surfaces which have a very illusory appearance. They play between painting, sculpture, and photography. On first glance the viewer is never quite sure what exactly they are looking at.  The most common question that I get asked about my work is, “how is it made?” I want the viewer to move around the work and I have been known to make work that changes colour from different directions. I want the viewer to work at having an experience with my painting, and want it to surprise you.

What’s different about your current body of work?

I spent the COVID-19 lockdown unable to access my studio space so I had to find a way to adapt my process.  I began painting … Click here to read more