Born to a Taiwanese family in the City of Angels, Maggie Chiang is a full time artist and part time dreamer. Inspired by both places real and fictitious Maggie’s illustrations evoke a longing for adventure and the pursuit of the unknown, exploring impossible landscapes and places unseen. A central theme of her art is the relationship between humanity and nature, oftentimes the underlying thread that ties together her work and establishes her individual artistic voice.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
LUCIA PASQUALE: You mentioned that your work embodies the relationship between humanity and nature, can you tell us a bit about what that relationship means to you?
MAGGIE CHIANG: I have a love for traveling, and being able to explore and discover new landscapes. Not necessarily new to the world or anything, just new to me and from my own perspective of the place. I notice that wherever I go, there’s always this relationship between the people and the landscape. My favorite moments are watching the sunset, and seeing around me how I am not the only one whose enjoying the same view. I guess it’s the same as knowing someone across the world could be enjoying the same exact thing, but you don’t know them and yet you are somehow connected to them.
I notice that wherever I go, there’s always this relationship between the people and the landscape.
What influences (music, books, films, nature, etc.) have helped your artistic identity develop? Would you share with us some words on your artistic process?
Growing up I loved music, I played the piano, flute, violin, marimba. With music, it has taught me rhythm and melody in which lead to discipline. These elements definitely help drive my work and my own motivation to constantly make work. Nature is just so beautiful and resilient, and I guess in my own way I want to be resilient and create beautiful work.
My process as of right now seems to be all over the place. I don’t necessarily always off with a concept or idea in mind, sometimes I just want to experiment and try something new. Then as I create the piece, it will slowly come to life into what it was meant to be. There are times where I know exactly what I want, and create it right away. But there are a lot of failures that happen in my process, a lot of pieces I create have been hidden or thrown away. I learn a lot from these pieces, from what worked and what didn’t, and what I could have done better.
Nature is just so beautiful and resilient, and I guess in my own way I want to be resilient and create beautiful work.
What drew me to your work was it’s ethereal and dreamy quality, the whimsy of the watercolors and the tiny inserted bits of text. How would you say your work blends and draws upon both your internal and external realities? Would you consider dreams to be an inspiration?
A lot of times, I feel stuck in one place. Which leads to my love for traveling, to get outside my comfort zone and learn to adapt to new environments. A lot of my work seems to be reflective of the places I wish I could be at. My mind is constantly racing, thought after thought after thought. I feel that my work gives me a way to relax and be at peace with my mind, my daydreams are closer to an inspiration than of my dreams.
How has growing up Taiwanese in Los Angeles influenced your work? The imagery in your pieces reflect deeply the beauty of your cultural background, and the colors you use remind me of the colors of Southern California.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I remember as a child my grandparents took care of me. I remember the stories and songs they sang to me, which has left a deep impression on my life and has seeped into my work. I never really thought about the colors I use and how they seem to reflect the colors Southern California, that’s really interesting. Everything around me influences me, whether I want it to or not, and I like the beauty of that.
I feel like art is just another type of vocabulary that helps people be able to communicate their ideas, and impacts people thought provoking way.
What are your favorite places that have inspired your work?
Some of the most beautiful places that I have visited are Northern California and in Taiwan, which have definitely influenced and inspired me in my practice.
What does art and creativity mean to you? What sort of impact do you feel art has on the world around us?
I feel that it is just a way to express myself through imagery. I can describe my emotions and feelings better with imagery than I can with words. I feel like art is just another type of vocabulary that helps people be able to communicate their ideas, and impacts people thought provoking way.
How has art impacted your life, or what role does art play in your life?
Art has definitely helped me in creating my voice, and has connected me to wonderful communities of inspiring and amazing people. It definitely drives me, to continue doing what I love to do, even at the most difficult times.