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5 & 3/4 Questions

 

WEITONG MAI

CURRENT RESIDENCE: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: CHINA

weitongmai.com

1. Describe yourself and your work.

I live in London, where I work as a freelance illustrator. I enjoy creating dreamy illustrated scenes, by using fine lines and rich textures.

2. How did you get started as an illustrator?

I studied illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, and graduated in the summer of 2017. When I was at school, I started to receive commissions, from friends’ recommendations, and began to develop my personal portfolio. I think I am quite lucky to have kicked of my illustration career at an early stage. I was able to gain the experiences of fulfilling the commissions’ briefs, understanding my clients’ requests, and finding my own illustration style.

3. Which of your works best represents you, and why?

I think Tiger at Night [shown above], created for NetEase, would be my best representation so far. That was my first commission after graduating from school. I think it gathers all the knowledge and experimental study from my four-year illustration course, and nicely develops my own illustration voice.

4. You’re a recent graduate for an arts college—what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the time since you graduated?

I think the most important thing about being a freelancer is to find the balance point. I need to find the balance between my personal projects and commercial commissions, between my understanding of the brief and the clients’ requests, and between my own aesthetic expression and illustration trends. (I know it sounds dull, but I think it is important to find out who your audience is and why they fancy your work.)

5. Where are you finding inspiration these days?

I can always get inspiration by reading the article that I need to illustrate. But since I can’t predict what my next commission will be, I can always challenge myself by illustrating a theme that I’ve never tried before.

For my personal projects, I developed and kept the habit of doodling in my sketchbook. Whenever I have a weird dream or a random idea, I sketch it roughly.

5¼. What book (or books) are you currently recommending to friends?

I recently read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Wilde expressed a lot of his understanding of art, life, and the relation between art and life. I marked down nearly all the quotes by Lord Henry.

5½. If you could meet any artist (living or dead, in any discipline/medium) for coffee and a chat, who would it be?

Félix Vallotton and René Magritte are always on the top of the list. I want to know how Vallotton captured those unique colors from nature, and how Magritte saw the world from such unconventional angle.

 

5¾. What music are you listening to on repeat these days?

Sabrina Claudio’s music is in heavy rotation right now.