Express Myself in Collage, New York and Shanghai-Based Illustrator Luyi Wang

Luyi Wang is an award-winning illustrator and gallery artist based in New York. She finished her BA in Camberwell College of Art in London and her MFA in Maryland Institute College of Art, respectively. She creates whimsical and childlike works spanning both narrative and commercial illustration. Her work has been recognized by several awards and exhibited in New York, London, Beijing, Cremona, Culver City, etc. 

UN-Camp, 6x4in, Digital Collage, 2020

Can you tell us a little about yourself as an inspirational creative? 

Hi, I’m Luyi! I was born in a small city in northeastern China. I finished my BA in London’s Camberwell several years ago and then I went to the US to do my master’s in MICA. After working as a freelance illustrator and educator in New York for 3 years, I have now moved to Shanghai. 

The Sea, 22x16in, Collage, 2017

What is your art about? Do you have a subject or theme that you’ve been particularly interested in?

I do a lot of collage. The theme I explore has been changing, because many of my works are meant to express myself or reflect my thoughts. I love to make works that make people happy though. 

Summer Buying, 10x7in, Collage, 2019

You’ve been very active during the past few years. What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far?

I feel more than excited every time I see my works printed on newspapers, magazines, packages, books, and think that my work probably would make the content more fun. I still remember the first time my work got printed in The New York Times and I was almost screaming when I got the newspaper. I’ve also done a mural for the Street Road Artist Space, and an installation for Playtime New York, I get very thrilled every time when I see my work gets magnified by hundreds of times, it’s just so different from what I usually do on paper. 

It Is OK, 18x17in, Digital Collage, 2019

What does “community” mean to you? How do you see yourself in a community?

As an illustrator, I work at home pretty much all the time, and my art friends make me feel that I am not alone. I see myself as a “member” in it, we share thoughts about the industry, offer suggestions to each other, and support each other. I appreciate I am part of the community, and it is important to me.

Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice which has influenced your practice?

Luke Best, who was my tutor in Camberwell once told me that, “Style, is actually your perspective of observing the world, and your attitude of life, and it has nothing to do with material or medium”. I never forget those words, and every time when art directors replied to my email with “your style is not a good fit”, I accepted it as I know I shouldn’t feel upset about being myself. 

Nightmare, 8.5x4in, Digital Collage, 2018
Big Island, 26x22in, Collage, 2019

What are you working on right now?

Recently, I am preparing a new brand focusing on soft stuff, like rugs, blankets…My friend and I make all the designs, which really excites me. 

Is there any advice that you would like to share with others?

Take a walk every day if you can.

New Yorker, 25x25in, Collage, 2018
Welcome, 6x6in, Digital Collage, 2020

text & photo courtesy of Luyi Wang

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