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Studio Visit - Lily Wong

Studio Visit - Lily Wong

Studio Visit - Lily Wong

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Studio Visit

Lily Wong

Meet Lily Wong, whose drawing practice is deeply entwined with an evolving understanding of the self in relation to the culture of the space it occupies. Currently in her MFA at Hunter College, her work explores identity and its possession of resolve within her dream-like portrayal of subconscious wanderings.

 

Q.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist.

A.

Making art has always been my way of navigating identity. The type of images I make and the way that I work is very much intertwined with an evolving understanding of myself and the world I occupy.

Q.

What draws you to using ink as your main medium in your drawings?

A.

I love the way it flows and can look so gentle on the paper.

Q.

What is your creative process?

A.

My ideas are usually born out of an urgent need to express a particular feeling or experience. Depending on my mood, certain images or concepts really burrow themselves into my mind. Sometimes, it’s as simple as being attracted to a particular object or aesthetic, but I always try to understand these impulses as responses to events in my life or the world at large. Drawing, then, becomes this process of free association and a later rearrangement and reconstruction of those ideas. There is a lot of staring at a blank page, and standing around too.

Lily Wong
Lily Wong's workspace

Lily Wong says

“MY DRAWINGS ARE A REFLECTION OF THE WAY I MOVE THROUGH THE WORLD AND ARE INSEPARABLE FROM THE CULTURES I INHABIT.”

Lily Wong
Lily Wong
Lily Wong
Process

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

Having grown up in an immigrant family with very “traditional” values and practices, my life was constantly at odds with the culture that I interacted with outside of my home. The dynamic between these cultures is what I often explore in my work, and probably why I take so many visual cues from the pop culture of my youth. My drawings are a reflection of the way I move through the world and are inseparable from the cultures I inhabit.

Q.

What influence does living in New York have on your work?

A.

So many cultures clash and coexist in this place. The city is an amazing reminder that the human experience is not monolithic. It’s possible to exist and to move through life in ways than are unexpected. New York has also kicked my ass so many times, physically, emotionally, creatively, and it still does. Living here forces me to constantly question and challenge myself, and allows me to occupy varied and evolving states of existence, all of which plays out in my work.

Q.

When do you make your best work?

A.

When I trust my instinct and am not overthinking it too much. It takes me a lot of time to settle into my studio, and I work best when I don’t have any obligations or deadlines to meet and can let my mind flow freely. Although, stress can be an interesting motivator in its own way.

Q.

What do you listen to when creating?

A.

I need a lot of dialogue in the background. I don’t like to feel alone, even though I can’t work around other people. I usually have some stupid television playing in the background or a podcast. If I get too sucked into it, I have to put on some music instead. I don’t work well in silence.

Q.

What is your relationship with social media?

A.

I should probably be on it a lot less. But I love it as a resource for discovering and connecting with different artists. And also dog videos.

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

Hrm... Not a big inspirational quote person.

Lily Wong

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

All of the feelings! But not at the same time. In this particular series, I wanted to communicate relaxation, self-love, self reflection, contemplation.

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

Oh this is a long list. I’m a big Hopper fan, as well as Gauguin, but he was a terrible person. I also really enjoy the works of Nicole Eisenman and Gertrude Abercrombie. But a lot of my primary influence comes from pop culture. Right now, I’m excited by the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the video game Street Fighter, the Japanese film Tampopo, and Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman.

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

My brain is often pretty jammed up with things that I’m inspired by, it can be a little overwhelming to sift through. Any type of drawing gets me pretty excited, and I especially love looking at animation and television cartoons for the ways they twist and distort reality. For this particular series of images, I was very inspired by rock gardens, Japanese woodblock prints, Sailor Moon, and mazes.

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

Aw, I’m still a little kid on the inside, a lot of things make me laugh. Laughing is a good coping mechanism.

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Losing myself. Making art is tricky because it’s a juggling act with the voices in your head, as well as the comments from your audience, friends, peers, mentors, haters. I want to be open to all of it, but I also have to remember to maintain my own voice in the sea of it all.

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

Ahh! Hopefully a new president?




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