Into The Main Of An Artist

By: Katherine Wang

Q: What are some of your inspirations from the city of Los Angeles?

A: Los Angeles has so much to offer. I took a landscape painting class last spring where we would go to different areas of Los Angeles each week to paint from life, and it was amazing to see such a variety of places. I painted scenic beaches, industrial buildings, rocky mountains, quiet parks, poppy hills and isolated factories. There are also such extremes in Los Angeles, from the wealthy plazas of Rodeo Drive to the dilapidated houses of South Central, yet each place evokes a mood and a distinct beauty that I use in my paintings. Not only is Los Angeles aesthetically pleasing, but it also has a diverse community,  and by living here I am exposed to people of all sorts of different backgrounds and cultures.

Q: Do you feel like Los Angeles is a good place to work professionally for an artist?

A: I think this city is a great place for an artist to thrive. Now is an amazing time to be an artist, especially since communication has become more accessible through the internet. Los Angeles is an ideal place, because it is on the cutting edge of new technology. Computer graphics is emerging more in film and there are many entertainment studios here that support that. Editorial illustration is also expansive and there are also great galleries that embrace non-traditional artwork. I’ve lived in Los Angeles almost my whole life, so I tend to forget how open the city is to new ideas until I leave it and  am glad to come back.

Q: Describe how imagination plays out in the creation of your work.

A: The creative process is long and sometimes frustrating but each step can be rewarding. Usually, I start with an idea or an image that I can’t get out of my head. I have this box of vague ideas that is waiting to be developed. I then do a lot of research on the subject and figure out what I am trying to say.Sometimes, I don’t figure that part out until the end. I do sketches for the concept, trying to sketch it out from different perspectives or scenes. I then finalize the drawing and once I have a solid drawing, I plan the technical elements for the painting, such as the values and the colors. The tone of the piece usually is what determines the color palette. Recently I find it more satisfying to work intuitively. I’ve been planning less and letting things come up as I paint.

Q: What was your best place to go to be alone and imagine when you were a kid?

A: I had a vivid imagination in grade school and I had a best friend who was equally unique. During recess we pretended we were explorers charting new territory and we would build bridges out of sticks and rocks to cross over the erupting volcanoes. She would come over after school and we would spend hours living in this imaginary world. There was a giant oak tree in the corner of my backyard and we would hide there and pretend the tree was a space shuttle. All the different nooks in the tree were gadgets. My parents must have thought we were delusional, but I think my imaginative childhood help me tap into a creative place today.

cover mar 2006

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