Stephen Chan is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer based in the UK, who creates super funky wall decor. I asked him some questions to see what makes him tick.
Where are you from / where are you currently?
My family moved to the United Kingdom (UK) from Hong Kong (HK), so most of my relatives are still over there. Currently I’m based in Liverpool, the Northwest of UK.
Who / what are you influenced by?
I grew up on a healthy diet of Japanese animations by Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Toriyama, and many others, plus popular British and American cartoons. These animators and directors transport you to new worlds with their excellent storytelling and imaginations. I think everyone should watch more animations, whatever age you are.
Recent viewing of choice is Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, plus Anime, Attack on Titan, Ghost in the Shell : Arise, Silver Spoon… etc.
Gaming is also a great influence. The artwork, animation, storytelling, music, sound effects, the interaction and involvement of the player, the mechanics, the purpose of each action. Illustrators such as Aya Kato, James Jean, Vault 49, and Autumn Whitehurst, influenced me a lot when I first developed an interest in illustration – and I guess they still inspire me indirectly, creatively.
What inspires you?
I think nature, objects and things that you didn’t really notice, (or didn’t really have any effect on you before) can suddenly inspire an amazing idea. It depends on the current project you’re working on, and current frame of mind.
How would you describe your work?
My style can be defined as Vector based, Character driven with simple colour palettes, sometimes involving Isometric, large detailed landscapes and scenes. I try to implement as much detail and make the illustration as fun and interesting as possible.
What is your favourite artistic medium?
I’ve been experimenting with laser cut wood crafts recently. So, I would say that, that’s my current favourite medium of choice. There’s something really lovely about the tactile, engraved wooden surfaces, the small details and the burnt edges.
What are you up to currently?
I’m currently working on a resin toy design, as a part of the collective Midnight Polygon, with my 3D artist friend. Hopefully it’ll be out of the prototyping stages in the next month or so. There’s some ‘work in progress’ shots on my instagram (@stephen_chan_) for those that are interested.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I’m not sure, I don’t really have a clear plan in my mind. I kind of just set achievable short term goals and targets that I try to accomplish, and then move on to the next thing. It’s really difficult to say, llustration and design is such a flexible skill, being applicable to most creative areas, from print (packaging, posters, apparel, etc) to digital (games, apps, animation, etc).
I do have a dream of opening a gallery / studio / shop / café to provide a space for all the creative friends I’ve made through the years, and hold exhibitions and shows that I would like to attend. I have a long list of targets written down, that I hope I can complete by then.