Meet… illustrator Lisa Lan

How old are you, and whereabouts are you based?

I’m 22 years old and based in London.

Describe yourself in 30 words or less…

I’m an artist, illustrator and storyteller who loves to cook. I’m at peace when hunched over a desk/in front of an easel with Netflix in the background, or gallery-hopping and spending time with my loved ones.

Tell us a bit about your talent…

I create art works by mixing realism with whimsical surrealism; I’m fascinated by human relationships, femininity and perceptions of beauty and ugliness.

I love getting my hands dirty and making art traditionally, but I also love combining traditional techniques with the versatility of digital art tools. I’m a perfectionist, which has it’s good and bad sides, I’m obsessed with trying to achieve photo-realist precision. But I love to play around with loose, experimental brushwork, it’s therapeutic to free my hand and just let it move fluidly. I’m working on being less fearful with my work, it’s a journey I want to enjoy with more courage and honesty.

fashionn - Lisa Lan

As cliché as it sounds I’ve been drawing since I can remember; by the time I hit eight-years-old I had written many stories and poems complete with scribbly illustrations. Flashbacks of The Flower That Never Grow and Huggle Poem haunt me to this day!

I love making art, technically because I want to constantly improve my skills and therapeutically, because by creating something we nourish and experience our inner self, and at the same time form connections with each other.

Education-wise, have you done anything to help develop it? 

I’m currently in my last year of BA Animation. Though I learnt a lot in terms of 3D animation skills and I definitely don’t regret the experience, I wasn’t taught to paint or draw or how to freelance and promote myself, I learnt that in my spare time. With that said I believe the label ‘self-taught artist’ doesn’t put you above (or even below) someone who has studied with teachers/mentors.

It’s important and fun to learn from everyone, artists should share their work online and offline, because critique and feedback is essential for growth. Luckily, London is bursting with art events and opportunities to learn and meet like-minded creatives, I try to attend life drawing classes and workshops whenever I can.

Tell us about the best moment of your artistic career so far. Go!

*Queue cheesy music* Receiving messages and emails from people around the world telling me that I’ve inspired them to pick up drawing or painting again is insanely heart-warming and encouraging.

Being in a group show with some of my favourite British artists including David Bray, Carne Griffiths, Rowan Newton, and Guy Denning to name a few was definitely a highlight as well!

Which is your favourite piece of work you’ve created, and why?

Pebble (2012) was the first piece of artwork I was commissioned to make for a solo album. I’d always drawn as a hobby and this was the first time I had begun to take my work seriously and thought I could actually make a career out of something I love doing.

realpebble Lisa Lan

Where would you like to be one year from now, and five years from now?

Firstly, I am both excited and terrified to graduate. Interning is definitely on the cards. I’m looking forward to having time to concentrate on and organise my first solo show. I have a few collaborations and group exhibitions coming up and of course I’m always open to more collaborations and commissions, so hit me up!

In five years I’d love to have exhibited internationally, met and collaborated with more talented people, and have released an animation short or two.

Have you found social media and blogging has helped your career?

The internet era has made us all producers and I think it’s great that creativity and sharing creativity has become so significant. It’s definitely made it easier to market myself and made my work more accessible, however as with anything hard work and motivation is the key to success.

ShangriLa by Lisa Lan

Who’s your favourite artist, and why?

I have so many for many different reasons: to name I few, I am always in awe, inspired and moved when looking at the works of James Jean, Audrey Kawasaki, Norman Rockwell, Kent Williams, Sam Spratt, Francis Bacon and Cy Twombly.

Finally, what’s your Twitter handle, and what can you found tweeting about most?

@Lissixiu: I post of lot of works in progress, random thoughts and almost daily shenanigans.


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