I Could Be Lopsided | Shira Anisman

“I Could Be Lopsided” is from a series of three illustrated short stories exploring magical realism, irrational fear, and obsession. They are autobiographical, fictional, fun, and funky.

Digital illustration. 2020.

Shira Anisman is a Vancouver based illustrator, working primarily in watercolour, ink, and digital mediums. Her work focuses specifically on storytelling and self portraiture. Through whimsical illustrations, she deals with heavier topics of abject bodies, fear, and feelings.

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Gentille Flowers | Kelsey Chevalier

About the Project

Gentille Flowers is a series for girls and women to grow with, in age, perspective, and knowledge. Although this particular book is Volume 3 of Gentille Flowers, it is the first book to be published. This is because through my exploration of the topic, I realized that there was so much information to cover, and I wanted to cater each book to different age groups. Volume 3 is intended for girls and women 16-25. It was inspired from my own life, I kept hearing stories of young adults not knowing simple anatomy of their own body, nor hygiene and other related health topics. In addition, I wanted to normalize the female body, instead of covering it up. I feel that this can help women and girls grow more healthy relationships with their bodies and diminish the vast number of body image issues seen in youth today. My hope is that this book can also be educational for men and boys, to better understand and respect the female body, rather than sexualizing and shaming it.

Working in graphite allowed me to link to my past experiences to draw forth topics for this book. Overlaying digital color helped me integrate my knew new knowledge into these past experiences. The leather bound book is intended to be a coffee table book, creating a public space for readers to endure vulnerability. The book format plays a crucial role in allowing the viewer to have control over their experience with the book.

Artist Statement

This book of mixed media illustrations depicts ideas and taboos of the female body, and seeks to give the viewer a sense of control over their own experience of the work. The work intends to facilitate awareness about feminism and raise questions regarding equality for women.

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About the Artist

From the small city of Fort St. John in N.E. British Columbia, Kelsey Chevalier came to Vancouver to study art at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2016. Having come from a conservative family, she was thrilled to be given the opportunity to pursue her passion in art and is pleased to have completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in the class of 2020.

Kelsey has also spent time volunteering  in community events in Vancouver, such as the “Get Lucky” art show presented by District Local in 2018, as well as creating coloring pages for Surrey based Syrian Refugees in an effort to help bridge cultural barriers and assist in introducing them to their new local surroundings (2019). In the fall, she also volunteered with the Artbreakers Art Market. In January 2019, Kelsey showcased her illustrations at the “Reflect” showcase presented by RAW Artists.

She looks forward to doing her second show with RAW in Victoria in the future. Her work focuses on creating narratives through humourous motifs. Some of Kelsey’s work focuses on health and anatomy topics. She enjoys working in a variety of mediums and is always looking to embrace and explore new techniques and materials.


T U N G U S K A : C O N D E M N E D I Grace Wong

TUNGUSKA: CONDEMNED is an alternate reality based on a true story of a natural phenomenon occurred in Eastern Siberia. Humanity has contributed to a natural threat which slowly annihilates the world population, eventually leaving the fittest to survive to find the Cure.

O R I G I N    O F    S T O R Y

The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908, flattening more than 2,000 square kilometres (770 square miles) while causing no known casualties. The explosion is generally attributed to the air burst of a meteoroid, but “no impact crater has been found”.

Based on conspiracies surrounding the secretive nuclear weapon testing by the Russian government, the radiation trapped in the area gives rise to a new virus.

Humanity has to find the ultimate cure for this disease, but how will they be able to share lacking resources among others?

E N V I R O N M E N T S

C H A R A C T E R S   &   P R O P S

 C O N C E P T   S K E T C H E S 

Grace is a Vancouver based Chinese-Canadian concept artist. Her environment and character designs are inspired by her love for science fiction, high fantasy movies, and life as a second generation immigrant. She has made it her priority to succeed in the game industry as a concept designer in hopes of bringing exposure to her community.

https://linktr.ee/gracewongart


Crowns Of Yan I Amos Wong

Crowns of Yan

Soaring through the skies in their flying ship, a girl and her companions must flee from a mad angel who is hellbent on resurrecting his dead god.

Crowns Of Yan:

Background and Inspiration

Crowns of Yan is an original graphic novel currently undergoing story and art reworking. The Crowns of Yan comic (above) is a pilot for what the actual story will be. The pilot comic tells of Yan and her friends (Kiara the Fire Elemental, Bibi the mermaid-crab, Jin the Swordsman and Ren the Gunswoman) flying on their ship away from the angel Abaddon.

Crowns of Yan is an Asian-inspired fantasy story. In the media today, there is a lack of fantasy set in the asian world and I wanted to create something that would fill that void.

Crowns of Yan tells the story of a girl named Yan who one day comes into possession of an ancient, magical crown. Unknown to her, however, many characters from her world are searching for the crown, most notably the Mad Angel Abaddon. A red, shape-shifting angel with a golden mask, Abaddon seeks the crown to resurrect his  long dead god so that creation may be corrected from its straying path. Along the way, Yan teams up with a variety of persons and together, they find out the crown is merely the tip of a millennia-long machination.

 Crowns of Yan:

Process

For this pilot, I first created a series of character illustration to better flesh out and understand the characters. Crowns of Yan has been a story I have been planning and thinking about for 3-4 years now and only recently have I devoted more time into creating it’s narrative and art. Fun Fact: In the early days, Yan was named Pandora! She has also gone through 5-6 iterations and edits!

After creating all the character and ship designs, I then moved on to writing the comic. Originally the comic was almost 60 pages long but due to the time frame and work load from other classes, I had to scale down the pages to 40 max in order to keep a constant outflow of pages and not fall behind.

In doing the comic, I first created a script that just generally told the happenings in the comic and laid out the scenes I wanted to show. I wanted each character to have something that they did that reflected on their main strengths. After the script I created thumbnails of each page, editing, cutting and adding pages. After the thumbnails was the long process of doing the roughs, lines and effects. We had a few critiques in our illustration class and from one of the main critiques, I got valuable feedback that led me to edit and rewrite entire sections for more clarity. Whether or not this worked it up to debate, for now the comic feels a bit more cramped and rushed. However I feel that it also gave each character more identity and a spotlight.

Crowns of Yan:

Reflection

What I learned most from doing this project was time. With the constraint of having to finish 37 pages in 12 weeks, I had to skip some corners and in doing so, the quality and quantity that I wanted this comic to be was not achieved. Due to the time limit, I also felt that much of the comic has a rushed feel. I had to cut a few pages of character scenes and dialogue to create a complete story.

However, I learned that I could in fact create a longer comic of my own telling and that it is something I wish to pursue whole heartedly. I learned more about page layouts and dialogue sequences. I developed more skill in drawing the same character over and over again and drawing action and backgrounds.

Now that I have no time constraint, I am able to more fully focus and develop Crowns of Yan into the story I want it to be.

Amos Wong

I was born and raised in Burnaby, BC and as the tale goes, drew from when I could first hold a pencil. Growing up, I have enjoyed many books and movies that inspired me to create my own. Originally wanting to be a writer, I felt that my words could not fully convey what I wanted the viewer to see and thus I began to merge my drawings with story telling.

Good stories have always captivated me and I want to tell my own stories that will captivate and entertain others. My own inspirations come from the fantastical “Avatar: The Last Airbender” to the epic struggle between good and evil in “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings”. Many books such as “Mortal Engines” and “Rail Sea” captivated my love of giant, hulking machinery and world building. Countless anime and Manga also influence my style and story telling; anything by Studio Ghibli to the mangas “Witch Hat Atelier” and “Magi: Labyrinth of Magic” give me great joy in drawing.

Many of these works inspired me to create Crowns of Yan. While I want to create more Asian inspired stories that deal with themes of belonging, family and humanity, my main goal is the entertainment of the reader. My biggest wish is that people will read what I create and be drawn into the worlds I write.

My Instagram

Email: amoszwong@gmail.com


Speaking in Tongues: Emerging to the Visible | Heeyoon Ellie Seo

The universal but simple short slogans are reliable weapons made of the cohered thoughts by the mass pursuing and sharing the same values. Sometimes it is overlooked at side effects that inevitably arise when people misuse it over time and place. However, we still repeat these slogans as indispensable implements.

In this project, I use them as a tool to establish and manifest my identity as a woman of color who is at the interconnected race and gender, derived from the term Intersectionality.

_alphabet_04 | Artist’s book                                    translucent vellum paper, clear plastic sheet, steel wire, clear fishing tube, 8 x 8 x various (in), 2020

personal is political

my life is not your porn

me too

with you

my body my choice

we should all be feminist

i am a jesus feminist

ninety, nasty, and not giving up

we are sisters, we resisters

i am not a virus

I write them in encode with the “_alphabet,” a group of 26 drawings, which is my constructed linguistic system to transcribe letter a to z inspired by my sense of inadequacy as an incomplete bilingual.

I never dreamed of becoming mainstream; I wanted to be a Canadian.

The way I acclimated myself to immigrant life in Canada was accepting everything about this country unconditionally, even without doubt, objection, or disagreement. I was afraid of the aggressive censuring of those who were opposed to me. I held my tongue.

Nevertheless, the time I’ve been through for over 15 years has told me I am a Korean-Canadian, not a Canadian. I realized that trying to accept everything without understanding was of no use. 

“_alphabet” is my method to break my silence and begin to speak.

On the one hand, even though the utterances of women of color are easily forgotten, many of them are repeatedly giving voices through their writings, words, and works.

This project expresses how vulnerable and invisible these words but lasting resistance to this erasure from a distorted perspective of society within the materiality of translucent paper, layering, paper-cutout, light and shadow.

This project is my utterance of a pledge not to hesitate or avoid stand on my right.

I utter for emerging to the visible. 


Luojia Cheng l 2019-2020

Trailer of To Crawl, To Walk, To Run

Directed by Tianru Shen

Background Art of To Crawl, To Walk, To Run

To Crawl, To Walk, To Run is the grad film of Tianru Shen.

I did about 60 watercolour paintings for the animation as background. Here are some examples of my works 🙂

How to Find Lora?

Ins: lorachenglj

Email: lorachenglj@163.com


Ollie's Backyard (Children's Book) | Asha Lynne Macdonald

Ollie's Backyard is an illustrated 32-page picture book that deals with friendship and the power of compromise.

Ollie’s one wish is to find the swing hidden in her backyard. One night as Ollie falls asleep, she begins to dream of a fantastical world where the swing is hidden, which is filled with colorful plants and creatures. When Ollie finally finds the hidden rope swing, she is met with the opportunity to befriend the monsters guarding the swing and teach them to have fun.


Endemic to Epidemic | Melissa Lee

5 years ago, all of these trees were green.

Over the last few decades, the forests of eastern British Columbia and western Alberta have been significantly affected by an infestation of mountain pine beetles, whose presence can be recognized by the dying, orange-grey trees that have emerged in thousands amongst the greenery.

The mountain pine beetle is the subliminal focus to this series of works, as the catalyst subject to a transformation of the land—its destruction, displacement of people and wildlife, deforestation, adaption, emptiness, renewal, regrowth, and so on. This project explores those impacts and their deeper implications as results of climate change through a portrayal of a kind of beauty in the face of a much larger, epidemic disaster.

This ongoing series of works documents and builds an expansive narrative around this small, seemingly unthreatening species that somehow managed to survive, showcasing how climate change can and will lead to the imminent downfall of an ecosystem. Adding to this dialog of awareness surrounding environmental sustainability and climate change, and localizing a much larger global issue by bringing to light the specific impacts on a particular region, aims to confront viewers with the contentious realities of anthropocentrism, ecocide, and the effects on the natural world as a direct result of human existence.

right: View from Whistlers Mountain, Jasper National Park, Alberta (2019)


Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring | Olivia Zeng

Introduction

Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring is a large-scale oil and acrylic painting that depicts a Chinese sampan boat filled with individuals looking for a new home, even when they find themselves adrift and surrounded by the hopes and fears of an uncertain future. This work recalls a renowned Chinese fable written in 421 CE and explores the universal desire for a utopian haven to call home. While this dream may not always be fulfilled, this work seeks to recognize the difficulties, hopes, and dignity of migrants and displaced individuals.

This project received an Honourable Mention for the Judith Warren Painting Award

Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring (2019-2020)
Oil and acrylic on three panels, 96″ x 48″

The Historical Story

The Peach Blossom Spring, written in 421 CE by the Chinese poet Tao Yuanming, tells a story of a lost fisherman who accidentally stumbled upon a utopian village hidden behind a forest of peach blossoms. The fisherman was warmly welcomed with food and shelter, and the villagers told him that their ancestors arrived at this place around 500 years ago in order to escape a civil war. The fisherman eventually bid them farewell in order to return to his own home. He then told many others about the existence of this peaceful haven. However, he failed to ever locate this village again, and so did the countless people who searched for it over the course of many centuries. The story of this village that disappeared has become a utopian symbol and remains one of the most influential and important stories in Chinese history and culture.

Detail of Second Panel from Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring

Detail of Third Panel from Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring

Detail #1 of First Panel from Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring

Detail #2 of First Panel from Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring

About the Painting

This painting strives to further this narrative and realize the sacrifices of those who have left familiarity behind in search of a better place for themselves and for generations to come. While feelings of endless searching and non-belonging continue to be experienced by first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants, refugees, minority groups, and more, the universal quest for a better society free of political unrest has existed since the beginning of civilization. 

As the northern Renaissance Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus wrote, “The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war.” Naturally, this endeavour reveals an ongoing struggle in our world as people around the globe continue to search for a better life and a safer home, even when a utopia is perhaps contradictory and nonexistent by definition.

Symbolism

The realism of the figures and abstraction of the surging surroundings come together as an investigation of a contemporary concern through oil and acrylic painting traditions. In examining how we react to social realism, the power dynamics as well as the historical and political burdens of representative imagery become apparent. Furthermore, peach blossom petals dot the tempestuous waters and serve as an ambiguous yet hopeful questioning of any utopia’s existence. Peach blossoms continue to be a symbol of peace, love, and prosperity in Chinese culture. The cormorants also recall the tradition of cormorant fishing as an ode to the fisherman in the original story, and are analogous to the symbolism of the dove as a sign of hope. 

Journey (Study for Searching for the Peach Blossom Spring)
Watercolour on Arches watercolour paper, 15” x 11”

Drawing Studies
Top Left: Migrants, Pencil on drawing paper, 24” x 18”
Top Right: Mother, Charcoal on drawing paper, 18” x 24”
Bottom Left: Boy, Charcoal on drawing paper, 18” x 24”
Bottom Right: Cormorant, Charcoal on drawing paper, 24” x 18”

Conclusion

For many Chinese, Korean, and Japanese artists, the dreamy atmosphere of this fable has been a popular choice of subject matter. However, rather than further romanticizing the imagery that exists in Tao Yuanming’s work, this painting differs in that it reflects the sublimity, nonexistence, and apprehension of such a utopia through visual terms. I hope that even those unfamiliar with Tao Yuanming’s The Peach Blossom Spring may come away from this work with a meaningful experience, especially in these times as waves of anti-migrant rhetoric and xenophobia grow stronger and continue to ripple across North America.

About the Artist

Olivia Zeng is a painter and illustrator based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her practice includes oil, acrylic, and watercolour painting, as well as drawing. Her achievements include first and second place in the Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day National Poster Contest and the Governor General Academic Medal.

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