AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA WAN
On April 10, 2014 Andrea Wan will have the official opening of her exhibition called Mirror Mirror in the Rabbit Eye Movement Art Space in Vienna. Beforehand we got to talk to her to get to know a bit more about her and her work.
For those who don’ know you so well, can you give us a little introduction?
I’m an Artist born in Hong Kong and grew up in Vancouver, BC. I have a background in filmmaking and animation, which later led me to studying Illustration in Denmark. I often draw inspirations from the past, present and the subconscious min life to create poetic and surrealist ink drawings. My work has been exhibited in many cities such as Barcelona, Stockholm, San Francisco, Rome, Berlin, Paris..etc and I am excited to have a show at Rabbit Eye Movement this April.
You ‘re born in Hong Kong, grew up in Vancouver and based in Berlin, a true citizen of the world. How does that work?
When I was 10 I moved from Hong Kong to Vancouver with my family. It wasn’t an easy transition for me at that time, but I learned a lot from the process of adapting to a whole new culture. I think that was when I started to get the idea that identity is never permanent – traveling or migrating to another place doesn’t take away your identity but only adds to it.
Adapting to new environments has certainly been a big part of my life and it has been helping me grow personally and artistically in a lot of ways. Two years ago I relocated to Berlin and have been traveling a lot around Europe, getting new inspirations and exhibiting my work. In a way I’m just going wherever my art takes me – It seems to work out perfectly fine!
You’ve also lived in Kolding, Denmark. How do all these different cities inspire you and how do you compare being an artist in Europe to being one in Canada?
Kolding is a really small town in Denmark where I studied illustration and design for half a year back in 2008. It’s also where I developed my current drawing style, so it was a very special experience for me to live there. Whenever I’m visiting a city I naturally make observations on the color palettes, the architecture, the nature and the fashion, because every place is unique in its own way. For example, in Denmark I saw a lot of textiles and patterns, color combinations with neutral and pastel hues against really bright colors. The streets are filled with brick-red and white buildings, and the street lights gives me a comforting feeling at night. These impressions sort of form a mood board in my head so I can use these elements to communicate a certain mood in my art when it’s appropriate.
One main advantage of being an artist in Europe is that you can easily travel around for not a lot of money. A mere 2 hour flight can bring you to a totally different world, which makes it way easier to explore other cultures and share and exhibit my work in other countries. On the other hand, Vancouver is always “home” because it’s where my good friends and family are. It’s comfortable and familiar but it doesn’t necessary help me grow as a person or artist. Right now I am still in my exploration phase so I think it’s too early to settle in one place for a long term.
What do you expect from the show in Vienna at Rabbit Eye Movement ?
I look forward to share my work with new audiences in Vienna and meet other local artists. I’m curious to know how people respond to my work there.
Which people should come out there to your show and have a look?
Everyone is welcome!
Which works will you bring to Vienna?
I’m aiming to create a new series of work for Rabbit Eye Movement.
When I look at your pictures it reminds me of Roald Dahl stories for example it feels like they’re telling a story. Do you agree? Can you tell us one of the stories behind one of your works?
Roald Dahl was one of my favorites as a kid. I like to see each of my drawing as a still image from a scene in an ongoing story. Each series is like a chapter that evolves into the next.
I used to read a lot of Fables and even made up my own as a kid – maybe that’s why I always like making narrative art. I don’t read them anymore, because real life is pretty much made up of a bunch of far more interesting stories. My art is like my journal of thoughts except that it’s processed through a fictional filter. Like in a dream – things might not necessary make sense but we can draw clues from the symbols and overall mood to interpret the subconscious mind.
Something the world doesn’t know about you:
I used to teach piano.
What was the last song you were listening to?
Blood on the Deck – The Oh Sees