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Illustrator Andrea Wan and Her Stories on Photography

Meet Andrea Wan! She is a Vancouver based illustrator and visual artist in Vancouver BC, who loves to take analog photographs as one of her hobbies. Andrea is definitely a gem in Vancouver and is growing strong as an artist. She has a strong passion for storytelling and creating visual images! For the first time, she is sharing some of her photographs! Check out some of her creative shots that reflect her character, and inspirations.

What is the difference between telling stories by taking a photograph, and creating your own stories with your illustrations?

I am not a professional photographer and my knowledge of photography is limited. I carry a film camera around to take snap shots of things I find interesting. It could be anything; an inanimate object on the ground, strange looking trees, someone’s toes, or textures on a wall. Since everything is always fleeting and no one/nothing ever stops, the shutter is like a pause button for me. With my art I find myself coming up with ideas in a spontaneous manner and drawing them down immediately before their escape. I use both photography and art to create a visual diary, to keep a record of my feelings as I ‘travel’.

Do you think there are any similarities between photography and visual art?

Definitely, because photography is an art form and they both provide endless possibilities for self-expression.

Could you tell us how you and your first camera met or how you became drawn to that camera? Would you say you have a special connection to any of them?

In Winter 2004, I bought my first Lomography camera, the Colorsplash while visiting my hometown, Hong Kong. I remember using it to shoot vegetables at the outdoor market with a green filter to make them look greener. A couple years ago I picked up one of my favorite cameras, a Minolta Hi-matic, from the shelves of a local thrift shop. It was cheap and it came with decent lenses so I thought it would make a nice and simple camera for snap shots. I went on a couple of trips with it before it stopped working. Lots of good memories captured.

Why do you prefer an analog camera as to a digital camera?

I like film grains and the sharpness of the images. What are irreplaceable by digital technology are the unpredictable accidents (or surprises) such as scratches and light leaks, fingers in the frame etc. To me, an analog camera functions more as an extension of the mind than the eyes. The fact that the image doesn’t show up right away lets me use my instincts to capture a moment as how I sense it. The anticipation is also part of the fun.

What are some things that motivate you as an illustrator? How do you portray your creativity so unique and keep your individuality while communicating your story with your audience?

I think my ADD might be what motivates me…. I’m never totally satisfied with my own work and I always have the urge to move on to something new and different from the previous thing I made. Sometimes I’m fascinated by the most random and silliest things. People who are passionate about their own thing also easily inspire me. It doesn’t even have to be art related.

Please let us know about your recent shows, or recent project. What was it about, and how did it start?

I ‘m currently showing a series of my latest work titled Dream On, Little Ghosts at Catalog Gallery in Vancouver. These series are a self-exploration through revisiting subjects I used to draw when I was a kid. I imagined what challenges these little characters would be facing if they grew up with me. It all started when I was digging up old drawings and storybooks I used to make as a kid and trying to analyze them like a child psychologist. Right now I’m also working on an on-going mini journal that started during my trip to Europe a few months ago. They’re small, quick drawings of random thoughts that might be developed into bigger pieces later on, or not. Andrea’s MINI JOURNAL

What are some objects that catch your attention when taking photographs? Do you ever incorporate it to your illustrations?

I especially like shooting landscapes. They are strange and full of character. It’s also a recurring subject of exploration in my personal drawings, as a reflection of my inner emotions.

Please tell us about your favorite photograph you have taken so far! Was there any special method you shot it with? Did you incorporate it to your work afterwards?

It’s hard to choose a favorite, but for some reason I really liked the photo I shot in San Francisco. I was taking a walk with my good friend at the beach and lots of kids were running around. I just like how the wind, the dust and my hair were all captured in the photo. I shot it with my beloved Minolta.

Do the colors of the photographs you have taken mimic your colors in your work?

My work is usually more colorful whereas the colors in my photos are slightly faded.

Are there any exciting up-coming plans for your work?

I will be having a solo show in Barcelona early next year and then relocating to Berlin after. It will be a new chapter for me and I’m both excited and a little nervous.

How did you hear about Lomography?

I don’t remember how I heard about Lomography when it first started, but I was instantly drawn by the dreamy quality and the experimental shots from some of the photos taken by these cameras.

Are there any words of wisdom or tips you would like to share for our Lomography community?

I believe that as long as you are truthful and honest about your work, it will have a life of it’s own speak for itself.

If you are interested to see more of Andrea’s work, please check her webpage: www.andreawan.com
It is very interesting to see the connection between art and photography. Andrea’s unique narrative poetry in her illustrations are truly amazing, and it was great to have had the chance to see her photographs that she shoots in part of her process when creating her work, and as her hobby!

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written by jeanettelee

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