Hello Maggie Chiang
Meet Maggie Chiang – an illustrator, a designer, and a recent grad of the ArtCenter College of Design, Living in Los Angeles, US.
may 11, 2016
Maggie Chiang's work has been featured in a number of exhibitions across California, including Year of the Monkey by Giant Robot, Birdhouse Show by Paxton Gate Curiosities, Power of Three by Flower Pepper Gallery, The Coaster Show by La Luz de Jesus, and many more. Maggie's work often depicts themes of exploration and personal reflection, taking place in settings both inspired and imaginary settings.
Thanks Maggie for taking the time (during your very busy last months before graduation) to chat with us!
BB: Hi Maggie! What projects have you been working on lately? Any projects or exhibitions you're looking forward to this year?
MC: Currently I am focusing on graduating. But I have also been working on a few upcoming gallery shows lately that will happen in May. Can't really give the details of the shows yet because they have not been announced.
"I think I had a love for art since I was able to pick up my first crayon. I've always loved to draw and paint [...] it just made sense to apply to art school. I had no idea what I would do with it, but thought that college would help make that dream more clear."
BB: Congrats in advance on your graduation! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in the arts? Where did it start? How old were you?
MC: I think I had a love for art since I was able to pick up my first crayon. I've always loved to draw and paint since I was a child, and when it came around to applying to colleges, it just made sense to apply to art school. I had no idea what I would do with it, but thought that college would help make that dream more clear.
BB: …do you have any idea what you'll do with it now?
MC: I do have a better sense of what it is now - I know that I want to be able to do gallery work and illustrate for magazines, newspapers, and any project that will come my way. But even then I feel like that's broad, but I know as my career continues I will be able to have a clearer goal.
BB: Did you always know you wanted to become an illustrator and designer?
MC: Nope, I had no idea I wanted to become an illustrator and designer. I knew nothing about what I could do with drawing and painting before I started college. It was only until I met my teachers and peers in college when I started to have a better idea of what I could do with my drawings and paintings.
BB: What types of mediums or tools do you like to use the most?
MC: I like to keep things simple, I have my bag of brushes and a box full of watercolors. Once in a while I like to change it up, and work with collaged scraps of left over paper painted with watercolor textures. I feel like collage adds another dimension to my work. I also like working in different ways sometimes just to change things up, sometimes my process can get too routine for me and I want to try out different things.
BB: A lot of your illustrations on your website have been brought to life using animated GIFs, it really shows another dimension to your work (and we love it) - how did you come up with this idea?
MC: A lot of ideas come from little doodles in my sketchbook. I love being able to see what I can do with my illustrations, and since I already knew some basics of animation, it just made sense to make them into gifs.
"[...] my mind is always running and always cluttered with thoughts that I need an outlet thats opposite of whats going on in my head."
BB: We get a real sense of tranquility and peace from all your illustrations - where do you suppose that comes from in your life?
MC: I think it's because my mind is always running and always cluttered with thoughts that I need an outlet thats opposite of whats going on in my head.
BB: Do you have a creative process you like to go through? Can you walk us through it?
MC: My process as of right now seems to be all over the place. I don't necessarily always start off with a concept or idea in mind, sometimes I just want to experiment and try something new. Then as I create the piece, it will slowly come to life into what it was meant to be. There are times where I know exactly what I want, and create it right away. But there are a lot of failures that happen in my process, a lot of pieces I create have been hidden or thrown away. I learn a lot from these pieces, from what worked and what didn't, and what I could have done better.
BB: What (or who) is your greatest inspiration?
MC: I think the greatest inspiration in my life are artists that I admire, and especially family and peers. I always see them constantly making work, and it motivates me to continuously work hard.
BB: Who are these artists you admire?
MC: There are so many, way too many to list, but I can break it down to a few which are: Dadu Shin, Teagan White, Carson Ellis, and Laura Carlin. The work they create are all so beautiful, and I love there sensibilities when it comes to composition, color and contrast.
"I think the most challenging part about my work is the ability to constantly work hard and constantly wanting to improve. I think a way I try to constantly be motivated and work hard is just to always keep updated with what other artists are doing."
BB: What do you find is the most challenging part about what your work?
MC: This is a really tough question, because it is a challenge that I face - I think the most challenging part about my work is the ability to constantly work hard and constantly wanting to improve. I think a way I try to constantly be motivated and work hard is just to always keep updated with what other artists are doing. For example, I love attending gallery shows and also just being a part of these shows help keep me motivated. What I love about showing my art in galleries is that it's one of the most rewarding experiences. Being able to talk to the people who come by, and seeing how people react to my artwork inspires me to constantly make more work.
BB: What is your biggest goal when it comes to your career as an illustrator?
MC: As of right now, my main goal is to be able to continue doing what I love and be able to make a living of it, and just to be able to connect to people through my art.
Thank you, Maggie!