mandy tsung in a vancouver-based artist extraordinaire. if you love portraiture as much as i do, you will definitely fall in love with mandy's work.
i came across these fabulous works of art through one of my friends. she sent me a link to mandy tsung's facebook page, and my love affair with mandy's work began...
"i love you"
if you've been following me on twitter or tumbler, i've re-tweeted and re-blogged most of her work because it is too selfish to keep it for myself. i literally can stare at one of her drawings or paintings for quite a long time. the eyes of her subjects contain so much emotion, that if i look at the same painting on a different day, it seems like it's emoting something entirely new...
i went to see her work at the ayden gallery for the animalopolis show.
her work is even more striking in person! for those who are lucky enough to live in the lower mainland, her work at the ayden gallery will be up until july 11th. so, go see it when you get a chance!
get to know the artist behind the masterpieces...
CD (me): where are you from and how did you get started in this field?
MT (mandy tsung): i was born in banff, alberta, and grew up in calgary, alberta. my dad is from hong kong and my mother was born here. i've been drawing since i was very young, but what actually got me to go to art college, was the decision that i never wanted to take a math or chemistry class ever again.
CD: can you recall a memory in your childhood that really drew you into the world of art?
MT: having comic books given to me as a young girl solidified my passion for drawing strong female characters. all of my friends like to draw as well so it was just a natural thing to do.
CD: did you take courses or classes to enhance your work? if so, how did your studies influence you and your work?
MT: i never actually took drawing classes growing up. i simply learned through practice. in art college (the alberta college of art and design), i took figure drawing and painting classes which gave me a broader vocabulary with which to express my vision. although, i didn't start on the path that i am on now, until a few years after art school. it took a long time for me to find myself after all of the different messages that i received at school.
CD: what is your approach to design... in creating your artwork?
MT: i almost always start directly on a piece, without any initial drawings, which keeps the inspirations fresh and allows things to evolve organically. i find that a copy of something will rarely have the same life as the original image. so, i prefer that the original be the finished artwork, and not a page in a sketchbook.
"from the heart"
CD: what is your favorite medium to work with?
MT: graphite is my favorite medium. all of my pieces containa a high finish drawing, and then build up from there.
CD: can you describe your process in creating a single painting?
MT: i typically start by looking at a wood panel, its grain, and how a composition would flow through it. then, i go to my image library and pull out a photo that strikes me. i translate that onto the raw wood, seal it with clear gesso, then begin layering acrylic washes of paint to bring out the patterns of the wood or add bright splashes of color. finally, i paint the portrait in oils using transparent glazing techniques that preserve the shading of the graphite and wood grain underneath.
CD: when did you sell your first painting?
MT: when i was in high school, one of my teachers bought a piece from me.
CD: are there any artists that inspire you? if so, who are they and why?
MT: i am inspired by a lot of different artists, mostly illustrators, like james jean, joao ruas, gabriel moreno, and laura laine because their drawings are very special, full of life, and nuance. lori earley, and audrey kawasaki are also artist that i like to watch. lori is an amazing painter, and audrey has a knack for simple yet effective composition and line. i know that my work get compared to theirs a lot, which i don't mind because i am doing what i love and being as true to myself as possible.
"wave II" - james jean
"haunted 11" - joao ruas
"guardian" - gabriel moreno
"escada" - laura laine
"leila" - lori earley
"my dishonest heart" - audrey kawasaki
CD: could give us five words to describe yourself?
MT: driven, ambitious, spiritual, joyful, empathic
CD: what is your favorite or most inspirational place?
MT: i love going to coffee shops. i like the long walks in the sun to get to them, drinking a cup of really nice hot dart roast, then opening my sketchbook, and focusing intently on my lines while listening to other people's conversations, and murmuring epiphanies to my partner while we lay plans for future work together.
CD: what keep you motivated and what inspires you to keep going?
MT: i am inspired by great photos, which there is never a lack of in magazines. i usually just have to look at a wood grain to see what needs to go where. as for motivation, it's usually 30% necessity of having to pay my bills, and 70% desire to express the energy that is bubbling around in me.
CD: could you share some of your goals with us? future projects?
MT: my goal is to keep improving and creating powerful artwork, to build a reputation. i'd like to show in galleries internationally, to get to travel because of my art. i plan to do more collaborations with other artists, getting to learn from and interact with them is priceless. i want to do more projects the benefit people somehow, like site-specific public art.
a collaboration with kristian adamCD: if you had a full day to spend at your leisure, what would you do?
MT: i would probably go for breakfast with friends, take a stroll along the beach, and do some sightseeing. visit an art gallery or watch a movie, have dinner somewhere nice, then settle in to a night of painting. as much as i enjoy sleeping, i wish it wasn't necessary!
CD: do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
MT: know what you want to get out of your art, have a goal in mind with each piece. there's no wrong reason to make art, but it's helpful to have an idea of what you need from it. that way, you will always be successful in learning, regardless of the physical outcome. being in the mindset of learning is meditation.
i hope you enjoyed viewing mandy tsung's work and the interview. happy friday!
please contact mandy tsung, if you wish to re-post any images on your blog or any photo sharing websites.