>> check here all the past interviews and follow us on facebook too!
Depois de um longo intervalo de Verão, a rubrica the interview series está de volta!
E para o regresso trago-vos uma convidada cujo trabalho irá certamente surpreender-vos... se já conhecem Hsiao-Ron Cheng irão adorar ficar a conhecê-la melhor através das suas palavras sonhadoras e maduras, se não conhecem ainda... então irão descobrir um maravilhoso mundo novo. Aproveitem!
After a long Summer break, the interview series is back!
And for the return I bring you a guest whose work will certainly surprise you... if you already know Hsiao-Ron Cheng, you'll love to get to know her better through her dreamy and mature words, but if you don't know her yet... welcome to a whole new amazing world. Enjoy!
1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Hsiao-Ron Cheng. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, My name is Hsiao-Ron Cheng. I'm an illustrator based in Taipei. I like lovely creepy things!
2. You were born in 1986 and started working as a freelance artist this year. How was this creative passion born and what was the journey that led you here?
I started drawing and painting when I was very little. I took art classes around 6 years old. After graduating from college I got a job from an animation studio as concept artist. However, I wanted to quit the job cause I desired to paint more freely. During that time, I had worked very hard on my illustration skills after work and every holidays. A year later, I started getting a little attention through the internet, so I thought it's time for me to fulfill my wishes and become a freelance artist. I'm really happy I've made this decision!!
3. Your work wanders between human, flora and fauna worlds, between mysterious little girls and some scary little beasts. How are these compositions and characters born? What inspires you? Share your creative process with us.
In my childhood, the wall in my room was always filled with so many books - thanks to my mom. I always particularly love those magical fantasy adventure stories with many great illustrations, and those authors/artists built novelty worlds that I was deeply fascinated with. They inspired me to start to imagine my own world. However, It's not an easy thing to build a completely independent world. I realized I have to create everything patiently and start with small things, like small stories.
All the entangled plants shown in my work symbolize the unbearable emotions and feelings in real life. In my imagination, they keep growing up and slowly twining together. The woodland landscapes or flora worlds describe a strong feeling of oppression including all kind of sensation that happened to me all the time. I feel like being trapped by those emotions and there seems no way out. My aim is to create more complex worlds with complicated stories of childlike and cruel creatures, and combine them together into one big world.
4. Which mediums do you enjoy using in your illustration work, both physical and digital ones? Why?
Most of my works are digital. But actually I've started to paint with traditional mediums since I was an art school student for a very long time. However, I didn't find my own style during the period of schooling. After using digital medium, I could boldly try any style or subject-matter without wasting a single paper cause digital can always "undo" and always easily adjust, that's how I created my own style for the first time (and it's still transforming!) The process of working in oils is extremely slow to me, but the texture is so unique that digital medium can hardly imitate, especially when you see the originals in person but not through the computer screen. They are both irreplaceable, so I love them both!
5. Your technique is very detailed and delicate… your characters seem to float in a world both of dream and nightmare… what are the messages they are trying to convey?
The world I create is full of imagination but I think it would be more real if I add more pressure emotion in it. It seems like a nightmare, but who says we can't still enjoy the world and have fun in a nightmare?
6. You had works exhibited worldwide this year and already have exhibitions planed for 2013. Tell us about your future projects.
There will be a solo exhibition in Hong Kong next year, maybe, it's still under discussion. In addition, I joined some illustration agencies this year and hope to get some exiting commission jobs or collaboration in the future!
7. Your online presence lets the whole world know about your work. What means do you use to promote it?
Internet is really a magic place! I actually didn't mean to promote anything in the very beginning. I stared to upload photos and works on Flickr about 4 years ago, and it's the only social networking site/platform I had. However, my Flickr has gradually drawn more attention, then I started to use other sites such as Blogspot, Facebook, and attached the links on my Flickr profile page so people could find me well. Not long afterward, they seemed to connect together and brought me more popularity. I think the most important thing is to make your sites easy to look through. If people like your work, they will promote it by sharing your images on your sites through the internet!
8. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
My working space is in a corner of my bedroom. Really small, but still can work. The good thing is I like to have a bed near by my working area, I can't work well while sleepy. However, I'll move to another bigger studio one day, it will be also great if there's a nice bed, too.
9. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
I'm really a sleepyhead. I usually get up around 11:00ish and turn on my computer, have some breakfast while checking emails. I start to work around 12:00ish. It usually takes me a very long time to finish my work. I like to spend a lot of time staring at them while working in progress and reducing flaws in them little by little. To create or to paint is always a self-expression. In the process of painting, I feel exhausted and happy at the same time, finishing the works bit by bit.
10. I’d love if you could share some of your favorite artists with us.
Henry Darger, Yuko Shimizu, Kondoh Akino, Olaf Hajek.
11. Besides creating, what else are you passionate about doing?
Watching movies! I'm in love with sinking into someone else's world and exploring a whole new vision.
12. You live in Taipei, Taiwan. Tell us a bit about the place where you live and what you love most about it. Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
Taiwan is a little island near China and Japan. My city is the capital city and economic and cultural center of Taiwan. Every store here won't be closed until 10-11pm. We have night market running until early morning. People here are kind and warm, the crime rate is incredibly low. It's really a convenience place.
I always wanted to work in New York for some time and then live in Tokyo!
13. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
I'll chose the future! There's always so much imagination about future world no matter what era. I'll be so thrilled to see it through my eyes!! I'm hoping there'll be something super cool like traveling through the universe!!
14. What advices would you give to someone who would also want to become an artist?
Always be patient. Be patient with your work, be patient to become a better artist. Make tireless efforts and be patient. You will be promoted in the course of time, and time will be transformed into an amazing power and shown in your works.
15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
Publishing illustrated books one day! Although it could be hard to fulfill in the short term due to my busy scheduled this year....
One of my bizarre dreams is... I was in my living room and somehow, I saw a floating head flying out the window! I started screaming and so terrified cause it was so real! A couple of minutes later, I picked up my courage and looked out the window... I saw a huge crane was hanging the plastic dummy heads and putting them into a large mountain of dummy head in my ally... I was so relief. The flying head was not a ghost head but a dummy head!
Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes!
Tell us one:
book: Palomar, Italo Calvino
music: Kill, Iamamiwhoami
personality/artist: Henry Darger
color: Pale color
drink: Hot chocolate
season of the year: Autumn
travel destination: Tokyo
piece of clothing: Dress
secret: I have phone phobia, including Skype.
Thank you so much for sharing your creepy and magical world with us, Hsiao-Ron!