interview | getting creative with shanghai-based artist MOHOUQIE
Guangzhou-born illustrator and all-around sweet girl Mohouqie currently lives and works in Shanghai. A graduate of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, she has previously worked at Beijing’s Outlook Magazine and the Wang Xu Design Agency, and has currently taken up post at Shanghai’s Power Station of Art. Her work has been featured in art & design publications LEAP Magazine, Art World Magazine, Outlook Magazine, Design360, and 1626, among others. She has participated in exhibitions in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
NeochaEDGE had the chance to get to know Mohouqie a little more intimately. Check out the exclusive interview below!
For more from Mohouqie on NeochaEDGE, link here. /// Xiaoyu Wang
Can you tell us about how you got started as an illustrator? When did you first start drawing?
MHQ: A long time ago, I set up a personal Weibo account where I shared images from other artists that I liked, and started to gain followers. I would post up some of my own works as well and started getting sought out for commercial projects. I guess that’s my official start as an illustrator. I’m kind of a lukewarm person, so a lot of people will ask me where I get my creative drive from. It’s hard for me to describe. I think it’s kind of like the drive to keep a diary… how can you turn writing a diary into a kind of business?
Can you tell us about your style and influences?
MHQ: My style is kind of hard to pin down. Bright or gloomy colors, a sense of loneliness within space, those are the things I hope to draw. I’m really influenced by Japanese artist Tadanori Yokoo… he’s my idol!
Can you tell us about your creative process?
MHQ: I’ll start by doing some research on the topic I’ll be working on to have a more complete background. Then, when I’m skimming through reference images, I’ll start to choose a color scheme. With these colors in mind, the feeling of the piece will start brewing. In the beginning of the process, I prefer digital illustration because of its duplicability. It’s easy to make changes and get kind of random. I usually don’t have a final image in mind when I start, and I’ll just draw out different elements that come to mind, so a lot of my works will contain an assortment of elements from my daily life. If I’m working on a project, I’ll be more definitive in picking the elements, and then give them a kind of story or headlining theme.
What are some difficulties you’ve encountered during your work?
MHQ: I’ll often be doing something and then get distracted by something else that I want to do. Being absent-minded keeps a lot of my works incomplete. I have so many different thoughts, and not enough time to realize them all.
Any particular memories that have left a deep impression on you?
MHQ: During my second year of university, my grandmother got really sick and had to be hospitalized, so I would be at the hospital every day. To pass the time, I would just wander the halls, observing the other patients. One day, when I was taking the bus away from there, I felt a kind of existential dread. What was it that I was living for? That day, I started to draw to release some of my heavy feelings, to have a conversation with myself. I don’t think I’m really expressing anything to anybody else. My art is actually just for myself, to give myself something to look at, I don’t really need anyone else to affirm what I’m doing and I don’t think of it as illustration. When I’m doing commercial projects with a set topic, I’ll think of them as illustration. But I hope that people won’t confuse the digital work that I’m doing with illustration.
Are there any new things that you’re interested in lately?
MHQ: The combination of sound and image always tingles me. I think that if I had the opportunity, I would dabble in new media.
Can you tell us about your plans for the future?
MHQ: I’m currently preparing to launch my own label, and taking a lot of my previous works and designing them into products. For the shoe apparel stuff, I need to work on both the creative side and the actual production of the shoes. The shoe part comes from my previous collaborative partner’s love for shoes. We used to talk about starting our own brand, but didn’t really think of what to do. For me, I just want to find a way to present my designs on a product, to have something that’s useable. The more I do, the more I realize that I’m not a genius, just a person who’s good at keeping accounts, it’s just that I get lost in imagination sometimes. I want to take this opportunity to kind of organize my creativity.