Chyworks has a busy career as an art director for a publisher, making the time he sets aside for personal creative projects incredibly valuable. Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting to Chy about his creative process and the tools he uses to bring his artwork alive. In this Featured Artist interview, Chy discusses the complexity to be found in everyday simplicity and the influences of his tropical-pastel palette.
"I adore simplicity. Things that seem insignificant at first glance but speak to me in big ways long after I have seen them. I find the things that I am smitten by are always those that are simplest in form."
I have to ask how do you make your artwork with just your iPad? I think it’s incredible! Can you talk us through the typical process of making one of your artworks?
Thanks for your compliments about my artworks, Beth. I like to experiment using different apps to create the artwork that you see in my portal on RB. I have tried almost all of the notable drawing apps from the AppStore, some work for me and some do not. However, the one app that I find indispensable and I use extensively to create my artwork is Indeeo iDraw, it is like a basic version of Adobe Illustrator which allows me to create scalable artwork. The advantage of using an iPad, or any digital tablet, is that I can take it with me anywhere I go – I created the pineapple back in March when I was traveling to Perth. The only typical process when I’m making any artwork is to pick up the thing (iPad in my case, pencil, brushes, or whatever it takes to draw for others) and, it has probably been said a gazillion times before that once you start using it, things will flow naturally.
Could you tell us about your background?
Currently I work as an associate art director for a monthly magazine in a local publishing company near where I live. When I finish work at the end of a day, it is so relaxing to take out my iPad in contrast to working on my desktop computer in the office. It is like a Doraemon pocket: watching YouTube, reading news, checking emails, logging in to RB, browsing the web for ideas and inspiration, and drawing and uploading my artwork to sites like RB all at one place. And that place could be anywhere, at home or a drinking hole outside.
I love the simplicity in your artworks and think that it’s hard to pull off with such effectiveness. Can you talk about your style and how it has evolved into what it is today? Was it always so simplistic with such an emphasis on line work?
Speaking of style, I adore simplicity. Things that seem insignificant at first glance but speak to me in big ways long after I have seen them. I find the things that I am smitten by are always those that are simplest in form. Back to creating stuff, I ask myself questions on how I can bring out the essence of a subject without adding too much detail to it.
From the very beginning, lines are the core of my work but I constantly find that I want to explore further to develop an artistic identity. Through this process, I sometimes create work which, when I look back on it, seems to be not what I intended, but that’s fine … “that’s evidence,” I tell myself. I have taken a step further and the flaws become a testament of my search to develop and improve my art. Then, there is this constant challenge in digital art of not falling into the trap of doing the same thing as everybody else, using the same techniques and doing what people generally perceive as good. In the world of art, I only recently realised that I don’t have to follow safe rules. I need to find an identity for my own creations, if it means breaking some rules, then so be it. Sometimes, it’s hard for people to actually comprehend the true meaning of breaking the rules without first trying to experiment in order to understand the rules that either confine or liberate their work.
I love your light and bright palette that is almost reminiscent of tropical surroundings. Can you tell us about your palette and aesthetic, who is it inspired by and why do you enjoy light and bright colours so much?
I’m glad that my palette speaks of a tropical climate to you. This is probably due to the fact that I was born in a tropical country and I absorbed all these colours consciously and subconsciously, so I do have a soft spot for gentle colours. The artists who have inspired me are, oh so many, but right now the ones that come to my mind are the late American illustrator Charley Harper and the great English textile designer William Morris. The way I work on colours is that I will try to set different combos before I tell myself, “Ah, yes! That’s the one I want for this particular work,” and then will either stick to it until the output stage or fine tune the density of the colours later.
"In the world of art, I only recently realised that I don't have to follow safe rules. I need to find an identity for my own creations, if it means breaking some rules, then so be it. Sometimes, it's hard for people to actually comprehend the true meaning of breaking the rules without first trying to experiment in order to understand the rules that either confine or liberate their work."
I really enjoy the “You and Me” shoes as well as the pineapple artwork, and also the work “Strange Familiarity.” Do you think that making artwork allows for artists to become engaged in a sentimental part of themselves? Do you feel a strange familiarity with the works you’re creating as you’re making them? Following on from this, do you think you use nostalgia or melancholia in your artwork to give a feeling or impression to the work? I think I see that happening a bit and think it’s truly remarkable and wonderful! Have you used a lot of memories from real life to make these artworks?
Thanks for liking these artworks! I think creation in any form, including drawing, is a therapeutic process which I enjoy tremendously. I have this not so desirable or even eerie ability to remember dreams that I have had when I was sleeping. When I wake up, I can recount the dream from the very beginning to the end. It is just like recounting a movie I have seen in a cinema. Sometimes it is strange for me to jot it down visually … it is like staring at my own dream before my eyes. “Strange Familiarity” and “Snake On Crystal Mountain” are such creations I made based on the dreams.
Lastly, we ask everyone this, if you were stranded on a desert island with only three art supplies with you, what would you take? A pen? A pencil? An iPad?
To answer the question of having to choose a pen, a pencil or an iPad, if you read the above, you probably would guess the obvious answer. If you haven’t, it is iPad for now.