Instagram: @rickyleungart Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickyleungart Behance: www.behance.net/ricky-leung Society6: www.society6.com/rickyleungg Website: www.rickyleungart.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I was born in Guangzhou, China, and moved to Toronto at a very young age. I was a very bad kid and caused a lot of problems. My mom then realized the only time where I am quiet and not causing troubles is when I’m doodling. So she decided to enrol me in extracurricular classes. The more I went the more I loved drawing.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.I like to keep my work visually lighthearted and somewhat naive, which pays homage to my own doodles as a kid. Back in high school, I always saw the white spaces between my colouring to be a mistake and would try to fill in my colouring perfectly. Later on, I saw the beauty behind those white spaces and strokes, and ironically it became the key to my drawing style.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?Pencil crayon is my favourite medium because it’s a medium I grew up with and most comfortable with, as I used it to make my first ever doodle. I especially love the connection and relationship between a crayon line and the white paper. It’s why I love incorporating white spaces as a visual element in my work.
4. What is your artistic process like?My process has been a lot less labour intensive ever since I got Procreate and the Apple Pencil. I don’t have to scan every single drawing just to see how the layers look together. Both planning and final touches have become a lot easier.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?I’m heavily inspired by illustrators and film photographers, especially the ones from Asia. A lot of the illustration work over there tends to be more light-hearted and lifestyle based. Magazines such as Kinfolk, Obscura, and Cereal are all great publications that I love reading. There’s a bookshop/café called Tegamisha in Tokyo which I’m absolutely in love with. Their locations are beautifully designed and they also sell a lot of zines and merchandise by local illustrators, some of which are my favourites.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?This has probably been repeated many times by other artists so it will sound cliché, but it’s very true. I’m surrounded by art and design everyday because practically anything around me can be an inspiration to an idea. Music, architecture, fashion, photography, floral design, and even the culinaries are all things that I pay attention to even though they are different fields. Being a designer/artist isn’t necessarily a job, but a lifestyle.
7. Where did you study?I studied at OCAD University, for their illustration program.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?Hopefully being able to do what I love to do everyday, and have the freedom to travel to places I’ve always wanted to go.
9. What about in ten?Quite a far time from now. I’ll try to take things step by step. Having a game plan is good, but sometimes following it too closely may blind you from seeing other opportunities along the way.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?I hope to bring joy and a moment of leisure to people who run by my work. We are living in a weird time right now, and a lot of people seem to be going through stress and anxiety. I hope my work can let people unwind and loosen up a little.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?Growing up, noodles (not rice) have been my staple. Any noodle incorporated food is great (ramen, wonton noodles, pho, pasta, instant ramen, etc.).
12. Favourite book?I enjoyed reading the first book by Taiwanese illustrator Vita Yang. Learning the life experiences and feelings another illustrator has gone through is very interesting.
13. Favourite genre of music?I listen to a very wide range. I do find myself listening to Chinese music more than Western by a little, especially artists from Taiwan.
14. What are your hobbies?I enjoy having adventures by myself, whether it’d be a walking in gardens and parks, or searching for cool cafés. Another huge hobby of mine is basketball. Playing and watching basketball has been a part of my life ever since I was 7 or 8.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?To be honest, I really don’t know. Drawing is the thing I love doing most. I believe that if you don’t have a passion for your craft, you can’t do it well.