If you haven't noticed already we have started a weekly #ArtistSpotlight on our instagram account @shopecle (and if you haven't noticed you should probably toss us a follow). We at E:CLE want to highlight the amazing up-and-coming artists and their incredible talents. We are constantly inspired by the diverse work being released into the world, and we believe it deserves praise! We also like to get to know the artists a little more and so, ta-dah #EcleArtist Q+A feature is born!! First up and already highlighted on our insta is Rachel Wada (who by the way I haven't even met, but can already tell is a kick-ass human being). Anyways....
We cannot wait for what the future has in store for Rachel, her consistent aesthetic yet diverse forms of expression are truly intriguing. The detail and thought that goes into every piece draws the viewer into an intimate experience — the relation between the viewer and the work, and the work to the artist. Be sure to follow her on instagram and keep up with this lady!
1. Who are you and where are you from?
Hi! I’m Rachel Wada and I’m a freelance illustrator/designer Vancouver. I moved around a lot as a child before settling here, from my small hometown in Japan to Beijing and Hong Kong. Living in many foreign lands has forced me out of my comfort zone which allowed me to grow as an individual and has really shaped who I am today. The disorientation of cultural shocks and language barriers has allowed me become hyper aware of my surroundings, to adapt and absorb the customs and cultures of my environment. The language barriers pushed me to become more visually oriented, which led to my early interest in visual communication.
2. How would you describe yourself as an artist, and your work?
My current body of work is really inspired by drawing inspiration from my own cultural background.
Being raised by a Japanese mother and Cantonese father, my experiences as an Asian halfie in Canada is something I’d like to navigate more through my artistic practice. I like to incorporate many traditional aesthetic elements into my own illustrations, but put my own personal spin on it. All of these experiences has inspired me to come up with personal visuals and metaphors that combine Eastern and Western aesthetics, to create a body of work that resonates not only to myself, but to many other individuals who share this similar diasporic experiences.
3. How has your practice change over time?
Ever since I started to tackle more personal subject matter with my work is when things really started to click for me. In the beginning, I was so focused on brushing up my technical abilities, that my vision of what I wanted to draw started to get lost. But when I really began considering what it is that is important to me, and what kind of art I’d like to see more of, and what kind of discourse or conversation I’d like to contribute to, that’s when my interest in creating contemporary Asian-Canadian art really took off.
4. What is your dream project?
I would love to be able to participate in a large scale project like the Vancouver Mural Festival. I think this project is a great way to bridge the arts community closer with the city, in a way that makes local art accessible the masses. The idea of being able to have my illustrations come to life, and interact with the cityscape on such a grand scale is so exciting and enticing! So many great local artists have participated in the event this year, and I would love to one day be a part of all that.
5. What and who are your inspirations?
Like I mentioned before, I’m extremely interested in traditional Asian aesthetics, more so dissecting them, and tackling the question: ‘What makes something look ___nese?’. What are the motifs, color schemes, patterns, textures that make an image look like it belongs to a certain culture? I’ve been looking at a lot of Japanese ukiyo-e painting, Chinese calligraphy and scroll paintings, children’s books illustrations, folk art, etc. The longer I’ve stayed in Canada, the more I wanted to get closer to my roots, and to the places that I used to call home. And this artistic exploration is my way of doing that.
6. What is your daily routine?
My current daily routine is to try and go to the gym first thing in the morning. It feels good to do something healthy and productive at the start of my day despite how hard it is sometimes to drag myself out of bed.
7. Favourite food/drink?
Anything deep fried and cheesy. And buttery. Mmmm.
8. What have you currently been playing on your headphones?
Snakehips - Cruel (Ta-ku Remix). This song has been on repeat for the past month. Go give it a listen!
9. Anything else you'd like to mention?
I’d like to say thanks to Megan and the E:CLE team for inviting me to this Q+A in kicking off the artist spotlight! I think it’s amazing that you guys, as an independent and local business, are interested in developing the creative community around the city! Thanks again! :)
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