Velvit Weclomes New Contributor, Vivien Chan

We welcome back Vivien Chan, the mixed media artist and curator, who will be contributing some amazing pieces of all black ink work for our newest capsule entitled YANG. 

Velvit met with prior collaborator Vivien Chan to discuss her favorite mediums, her Illustration education, and what inspires her.

Vivien Chan-Velvit-illustrator-london artist-black clothing

Velvit: When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Vivien Chan: As a child I always loved drawing, but I didn't consider studying design until I was about 15 years old. At the time, I wanted to study graphics, but I pursued illustration as my Art Foundation degree.

V: What are your favorite mediums to work with? 
VC: I'm not sure I'm a consistent artist. I like to try all sorts of materials. I love a bit of everything. I'm drawn to mediums that are more fluid and therefore less predictable. I have played with film, animation, drawing, painting, textiles. I think it always depends on the concept of the work. I suppose that is where my work is most important: it's more about the idea than the outcome.

V: Has illustration always been your career path? 
VC: Illustration is actually not on my agenda at the moment! I'm looking forward to trying all sorts of things, and I feel like I'm always going to be experimental. For that reason, I'm looking to continue studying History of Art and/or contemporary curation and culture studies. I would love to create spaces where I can bring lots of things together around a subject. As well as making images, I love to write and learn. For me, illustration satisfies my own mind and hand, and I always believe in drawing within a moment. It's more about describing the time and space for me that creating something that is perfected and defined.

V: How has your work evolved?
VC: I've almost completely stopped drawing! In that sense, working with Velvit has been incredibly luxurious for me. On the other hand, I've always loved illustration in the context of reportage. I enjoy drawing most when I'm documenting a journey. I struggle with creating a narrative out of thin air, but when I have something in front of me, it's so easy to create a character on top of what I see. Illustration comes in many forms for me; it's more about conveying an idea in a medium that suits it as much as possible. 

V: What is your creative process like?
VC: The process is quite research heavy; it's where I feel most inspired. I think about what I want to convey, show, represent, whatever the brief makes me feel instinctively. Then I believe in mass - my 'planning' always has to be physical, and so I end up with a million outcomes before editing. After that it's about choice. Out of the selection I pick the one that strikes me the most. The same process can be executed in an afternoon, but can also spread out to a much longer time. I don't believe much in 'roughs'. The same way in reportage, it has to be done then and there, otherwise the drawing becomes dishonest. You have to be connected physically before it can reach out to the viewer emotionally.

V: Is there a particular artist who inspires you?
VC: This is always a difficult question. It depends on the day! But I love print, and I have a particular obsession with contemporary wood prints. HAP Grieshaber is my favorite. I love Picasso, Matisse, Schiele, Klimt. Anything colorful that portrays people! So long as it's expressive in some way and has true integrity, I am inspired by it.

photos by Jamike Latif.

V: Does music influence your work in any way?
VC: I suppose it does influence my work in that music influences me. I grew up singing and playing a lot of music, so I feel a really strong connection to a lot of music on a performance level. In the last few years after leaving school, images have taken up a lot of my time, so I'm looking forward to getting involved with music again when I leave university.

V: Do you feel there are any parallels in the world of fashion and fine art?
VC: Absolutely. Unfortunately I think some of the connection has been lost. Fashion feels saturated in commercialism. Some might disagree, but fashion IS an art form to me. It's another way of expression, and it's another medium that designers and artists can use to show an idea. The idea is completely integral to the process; if the concept isn't there, it's completely obvious. I hope that the industry can evolve and bring the new, inspired, committed people within fashion to the forefront.

V: Are there any prominent messages you always convey in your work? 
VC: I would like to think that my work is quietly relatable, but I suppose it's not really my priority. So long as I'm honest with myself and the work is instinctual, I feel that it will connect with somebody out there. It's always personal to me, so hopefully it can become personal for someone else. If I can give anyone a piece of myself, that would make me really happy indeed.

For more information on Vivien Chan, read her Contributor's bio and check out some of her exclusive pieces coming soon for YANG.

Charlotte BarnesComment