By: Krystal Chan, SFU Student
Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for concision and clarity.
Last month, Vancouver hosted its first Fan Expo since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Arguably, one of the most affected industries has been arts and entertainment. As we continue to support small businesses during this time, The Peak sat down with three local artists who tabled at the 2022 convention to learn more about them and their craft.
The Peak: Can you tell us about your journey as a creative? What inspires your art?
Reddy: I had been going to conventions for years and had helped out friends previously with their artist tables, so I was always around that community. When I started, I was a hairstylist making clay hair accessories. That eventually led to resin accessories, which then led to other resin pieces. The cosmetics come from a longtime interest in makeup, and noticing a definite lack of POC alternatives in mainstream cosmetics.
A lot of my inspiration comes from French gothic architecture and Victorian romance, which are very in line with my personal tastes. I like the look of things that are less bright in colour. And if there’s a particular video game or show that I’m interested in, I also like to make things based on those.
P: Are there any special meanings behind your art? What are your goals with your art overall?
R: I don’t have too many sentimental meanings behind my pieces. They definitely reflect the kind of aesthetic I enjoy, which is usually a little different than others. People into goth fashion tend to connect with the pieces I make. That sort of ties into my goals with my art.
P: What pieces are you most proud of?
R: Right now I am most proud of my large, resin daggers. I’ve always wanted to make a decorative display dagger, and during the last convention people were extremely interested in them!
P: How did you start your journey as an artist? Where do you get inspiration from?
Leung: I graduated Emily Carr with very little hard skills in industry standard programs, and needed to continue growing as an illustrator. I resented my time in university for what felt like a lack of education, so I used that anger to fuel my own studying of illustration and graphic design by practicing anatomy, drawing objects, admiring brand design and figuring out what it is I love about it, and so on.
P: Does your art come with any sentimental stories? What goals do you have with your art? Is there a particular piece you’re proud of?
L: At some point in my journey of becoming an illustrator, I fell into a deep and debilitating art block. It’s easy to see a lot of great art online and begin doubting your own abilities — why can’t you draw a hand, why are faces weird, how come you can’t paint like that? Eventually the art block gave me depression, and I either didn’t create anything for days, or I’d create something and despise it. This lasted for about a month, until I finally asked myself, ‘Euge, what do you want to draw?’ I gravitated towards stout, silly things; and food.
Turns out the “stout silly thing” was a pug — nicknamed Puglie — and “food” was a doughnut, because I kept having this idea of something stuck in a doughnut hole and not being able to touch the ground.
When I truly gave myself no expectations on good anatomy, proper perspective or form, a compelling concept, or whatever is considered a good illustration — and just allowed myself to have fun — it finally freed me. After I drew Puglie in a doughnut, I zoomed out of the illustration in Photoshop and for the first time in my life, I laughed and felt this joy in my art.
I continue to draw him because he continues to make me happy. And I have the honour and privilege of making other people happy with him. My goal with Puglie is to let more people experience him — via merchandise, or experiences like themed cafés (hopefully one day) or pop up shops or galleries. As much as I need to make a living, I’d just love for Puglie to be able to brighten peoples’ days.
Lisa LaRose | @lisalaroseart “on all the internet places”
P: How did your creative journey begin? How do you come up with ideas for your art?
LaRose: I started my professional artist journey by going to school for video game art and working in the gaming industry from 2009–2014 in Edmonton, Alberta (mainly at smaller studios on mobile titles). I got to a point where I had accomplished many of my goals and wondered “what’s next?”
I thought it would be moving up to a larger studio and focusing on character modeling, but I realized I was more passionate about illustration. I decided to quit my studio gig in order to pursue a new path.
I still did video game art, but also looked at other industries (children’s literature, board games, comics, etc.) and tried new ways to make money as an artist. In 2015, I started selling prints at conventions/art markets. In 2016, I made a painting, Star Fish, which quickly sold better than my other illustrations and fan art. By 2019, I was focused solely on my own art and selling it. During the pandemic, since I didn’t have shows to go to, I spent my time making a published comic book (Ghoster Heights), printing my own line of puzzles, and trying out live streaming.
P: What do you hope to convey with your art? Is there a special or sentimental story behind it?
LR: I make art for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes I have an emotion or feeling I’m trying to capture, and I use different images/colours together to try and build that feeling. Breathe is a painting about my anxiety (trying to keep calm and let go, even when I feel like I am deep underwater). Some of my work was made for a certain project: Ebb & Flow was made for a powerbox in Vancouver (the fish tile around the box — koi fish swimming one way and fish bones swimming the other way). And sometimes I just make things I think would look really cool or because I think it’s hilarious.
P: Which pieces are you most proud of?
LR: Life — it’s one of my strongest pieces and it’s very popular. I have the original on my wall and I still really enjoy seeing it every day.