29 Jun 2011

Paint it! Make it! artist feature: Stephen Chan

A real treat for you guys now, the fantastic Stephen Chan. Not only a great artist but hardcore organiser at the helm of both our recent live event Paint it! Make it! and mover at shaker at the epic Thunder Chunky responsible in part for the superb charitable Renmen Project, in aid of Haiti.

Stephen's work is visually the most consumable work you can imagine. It has a really great blend of sweetness, humour and downright well thought out design, that makes it very sticky and appealing. His work has a real class about it. His characters and compositions both well proportioned and well assembled. The real class is in the extra layer of graphical finish, using texture pattern, historical and eastern imagery to create a wonderfully classical paradox. Both unashamedly cute but executed with the kind of effort that makes it worthwhile.

He uses characters superbly, not only well designed but memorable and full of life. He has that real combination of a designers flair for the cool and the eye-catching, the illustrators care and subtlety and an animators grasp of movement and proportion. His work will win you over in an instant and his self effacing attitude is something to be commended, here's to one of the good guys, Stephen Chan!

Who are you / What do you do?
I'm not very good at interviews, so I asked Karolina, my 'Polish on the outside / Japanese on the inside' friend for a little help. The answer for the first question 'Who are you / What do you do?' is:

"...I wish I knew that myself..." - I might be slightly weird (even mad), so maybe that's why she said that. I also like to put things in brackets (yes, I do), which reflect those voices in my head (hello). What I do, in a 'Nutshell' (not a real Nutshell, they're really small) is document all those creatures I meet in the artistic style of Realism. Mainly of large headed characters, often in isometric detailed landscapes and scenery.

My work covers a variety of media and products including Character design and Illustration for magazines, children's books, posters and games; branding and designs for fashion and apparel; patterns for wallpapers and fabrics: maps and diagrams.

How did you start?
"...I just wanted to do something cool to attract attention..." - which is kind of true, haha. I think during my primary school life, because my lack of communicational skills, the only way I can convey myself is with pictures. I remember endless hours drawing Inspector Gadget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Samurai Pizza Cats, Sonic the Hedgehog, Megaman and Dragon Ball, just to name a few. I kind of stood out (even if I didn't want to), being the only Chinese boy in 'THE WHOLE' of primary and secondary school. I was 'that Chinese boy that draws quite well'.

What are your thoughts about the event / zine?
"...As long as I will be there it will be a great event..." - haha, yes... maybe... but this is what I also think. Natsuki and the other girls at Illustration Rally has really put a lot of effort in to organising this event, and you can tell they really care a lot for this cause. It's going to be a lot of fun because of everyone's participation, and I hope deeply that you will love the Zine for Japan we've put together. I want to thank all our Illustrator friends for making it possible, helping to create a wonderful, warm and sincere Zine.

A personal statement about you and your work
"...I am too lazy to think about it..." - I think she really hates me (we're not really friends), but here's the generic part :)

He is one of the founding members of design portal ‘ Thunder Chunky’, a Tiger AKA (Asian Kinetic Artist) a part of the International Tiger Translate project, and an Artist at Blood Sweat Vectors, a renowned vector artist collective with the likes of 123 Klan, J3 Concepts and Niark1.

His works have been in several magazines and books, exhibited nationally and internationally, in London, Berlin, Boston, Tokyo, Melbourne, Wellington and several other cities.

Stephen's links:

Ice Cream Dilemma Short comic for 'Paper Cub' website, fun and games for children
For Good For Evil Wall Mural for Wallpaper Republic
Totummy Zine Cover Cover for 'The Publisher's Club's first Totem themed Zine / Inkygoodness exhibition
Diver Tshirt 1 of 3 Illustrations / Tshirts for Inkygoodness 'Play' exhibition
Screenadelica Tshirt Tshirt design for 'Liverpool Sound City' festival / Screenadelica gig poster exhibition

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