Observe Humanity and Nature in Details, New York and Shanghai-based Illustrator Vikki Zhang

Vikki Zhang is an award-winning illustrator, exhibiting artist, and art director of Babe Lunar (年衣). Her work is widely used in packaging design, fashion, toys, film, books, and magazines. She is currently working on the children’s book — The World Inside Nan’s Soup, which will be published in 2021 spring. Her first art book Red Box is coming soon this Christmas. 

Home&Town – New Year Market, 10*14 in, Ink&PS, 2019

Thank you for joining us, Vikki. Can you tell us a little about yourself as a creative?

I see myself as creative with a wide range of interests. It’s hard to describe what I am doing since I suppose there are no boundaries within art formats. I admire poets, novelists, filmmakers, and folk artists; they remind me how many possibilities there are to look, feel and communicate. 

History fascinated most of my work. Compared to the present, the past time, the fictional world from old tales, dubious and hazy, provided me with more ideas to be creative. 

Babe Lunar – Theater, Watercolor, 2020

What is your art about? What are you focusing on?

My art is about discussing the connections between humanity and nature. I love setting the narrative scene in a delicately designed environment, and the details reflect my observations from life or museums, such as patterns on an antique milk bottle, floral engraving on grandma’s cabinet, a strange lady’s coat, and shapes of the cloud. I recently read Andre Breton’s Poisson Soluble and found the similarity between my creative process and automatic writing. I am focusing on representing a nonsexist image, consisted symbols people could connect with under their realistic experience. 

Jasmine Tea House, 10*18 in, Ink&PS, 2019

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

It has been an exciting period since I graduated from SVA MFA Illustration. I dived into this industry with my dream and passion for book art and fashion illustrations. I am happy with the Silver Medal of book category I won this year, in the 63rd Society of Illustrators, and the growth of Babe Lunar (年衣) so far. It’s a kid’s fashion brand I set up with partner Zeng Kuang in 2018, aiming to create a lifestyle based on oriented aesthetic. 

PS: Instagram @BabeLunar (https://www.instagram.com/babelunar/)

Babe Lunar – Flying Tiger, Watercolor, 2020

What do you find the most challenging in your artistic practice? 

To me, I think it’s how to spare enough time to make something just for myself, lost in pure thought, when taking commissions non-stop. The process of exploring personal projects, unconsciously and deeply, is an indispensable source of power that could later provide nutrition to my other work, either it’s commercial or not. The vitality of my artwork drained away after a period of time working blindly. That would disappoint my clients, audience, and myself. 

Home&Town – Hot Coca, 10*14 in, Ink&PS, 2019
Home&Town – Story Night, 10*14 in, Ink&PS, 2019

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

“Community” is a spiritual home for creative people. When you are in a community, you feel less lonely and have more courage to face problems. In a community, I hope to be helpful, especially to newcomers, as I understand how hard to begin a creative career. Though I am not that experienced either, I could start from small, such as recommending a nice ink or watercolor brush. 

Manufacturer of Fantasy, Chapter1, 15*15 in, Ink&PS, 2020
Manufacturer of Fantasy, Chapter2, 15*15 in, Ink&PS, 2020
Manufacturer of Fantasy, Chapter3, 15*15 in, Ink&PS, 2020

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

Life is a myth to be lived. Be brave to create your own path rather than looking for it on others’ maps, simply making things you love, being aware of your hobbies and where your passion leads you to go. Be patient. 

How do you see yourself in your future career?

I wish to publish a solid body of work and exhibit them on tour annually, in Japan, in European countries if possible. I am dreaming of opening the Babe Lunar store overseas. 

Red Box, Vikki Zhang Art Book
9AM, 10*14 in, Ink&PS, 2020

text & photo courtesy of Vikki Zhang

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