Instagram: @christina.suen Website: www.christinasuen.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?Hi! My name is Christina and I'm from Hong Kong. I've lived in several other cities but now I'm back in Hong Kong where my family is. After graduation I worked in a school teaching Visual Arts and Liberal Studies; I was also managing the school library then and it was a totally different experience. My drawing 'career' didn't take off until I moved to Shanghai in 2011 - back then Shanghai was really fun and offered a lot of opportunities to artists like me.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.My illustrations used to be only black, white and grey and there was a lot of linework. I also only worked with analog for a long long time. Now I'm working more with colors although I find it hard to depart from all the fine lines and details.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?My favorite medium is a combo of pen & colored pencils. I am quite meticulous with my drawings and the fine tips of technical pens can help achieve all the details I want. A couple of years ago, I got an iPad and Apple Pencil for my birthday so I started playing with them and fell in love. It's so much fun exploring what digital drawings can achieve.
4. What is your artistic process like?Whether I draw digitally or on paper I always start with a pencil draft. And because there's usually a lot going on in my drawing, I do a lot of research to try to get the details right.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?When I first started drawing I was mostly inspired by people I met during my travels. At that time I was traveling more frequently. Now I've become very nostalgic with the past and I'm always 'interviewing' the elderlies in my family about their lives - there are some bigger moments and more trivial ones. Regardless of the scale, I find these stories fascinating and it's become my motivation to record them in ways that I know - writing and drawing - because it'd be a pity if these memories become lost and forgotten.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?I started drawing at a young age because that's the one recreational thing that I was good at. I couldn't do sports and had no talent in music so drawing made me feel somewhat 'accepted'. It was also an 'excuse' for why I was so bad at sports and music. Now that everyone is social distancing, art plays a very crucial role in keeping me sane and entertained.
7. Where did you study?I went to school in many places including Hong Kong, Adelaide (Australia), North Dakota and Missouri. I got a Bachelor's Degree in Commercial Arts from a university in Warrensburg, Missouri.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?That's a long time into the future! I really don't know. It's also hard to think about the future now with all this craziness going on. There are just too many uncertainties.
9. What about in ten?I can hardly imagine what my life will be like after a year, let alone 10...
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?Right now, I want to use art to record as many personal events as possible. There is so much I want/need to record and while I'm writing everything down, a better way for me to present my thoughts and findings would be through drawing.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?I love cream! When I was living in Shanghai there was this old bakery chain called Ruby's and I love their signature cake "Little Square". It's basically two pieces of sponge cake with LOTS of cream in the middle. My friends find it amusing that I'm in love with such an unremarkable cake, haha.
12. Favourite book?Growing up I read a lot of Japanese comics. Then I became obsessed with Murakami Haruki. Now I read a lot of books about historic events because the past fascinates me.
13. Favourite genre of music?In general, I think I'm drawn to sombre music?
14. What are your hobbies?I love watching scary movies in the daytime haha! I also really enjoy walking around in cities - it's fun to observe people.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?Maybe I'd continue to be a teacher! Who knows! I wish kids would be less cruel though...