Interviews | November 18, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

Interview: Esther Tang
Luca Curci talks with Esther Tang during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 17th Edition at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

I am an illustrator and designer based in New York City. Throughout these years, I have honed my skills in creating narrative and informative illustrations across various domains, including editorial work, design projects, and pattern creation. My approach involves seamlessly blending traditional drawing techniques with modern computer-aided methods to craft my pieces. I particularly enjoy incorporating the textural nuances of watercolor and ink drawings into the digital medium. Central to my work is the aim to provide an engaging visual experience that deeply resonates with the audience. I’m passionate about infusing my illustrations with the power to connect and communicate effectively. Notably, my work has been showcased in prestigious exhibitions such as the 64th Society of Illustrators Annual, the 63rd and 64th Communication Arts exhibitions, the 101st ADC Annual, and the World Illustration Award.

Since childhood, I have enjoyed my daily experiences and emotions through drawing and painting. I have been drawing since I can remember, and my artworks are closely connected with my emotions. Sounds, smiles, touch, and the environment I am in influence my illustrations in many aspects, as I realized that drawing is a means for me to connect with the world. Coming across from Shenzhen to New York City, city life has been a significant source of inspiration for my artistic creations. The urban environment with its architecture, transportation systems, cultural diversity and social dynamics has frequently impacted my creative thinking. I have utilized this influence to create various art pieces that reflect the vibrancy and complexity of city life.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Esther Tang – Art serves as a profound medium for me to convey the depths of my spiritual world and emotions. It allows me to encapsulate moments of passion, joy, and introspection through a vibrant interplay of colors and strokes. Every time I take up the brush, it feels like a dialogue between my inner self and the canvas.

As an illustrator, I often find myself conjuring fictional worlds in my mind, and art becomes the perfect vehicle to bring forth my diverse and vivid ideas. Through my creations, I seek not only solace and self-understanding but also aim to evoke emotions, ignite conversations, and inspire others on their personal journeys of self-discovery. For example, one of my exhibited works, titled “Bubble Bath,” is an exploration of unbridled imagination. It portrays me surrounded by floating bubbles, each one symbolizing a distinct dream, thought, or idea. This piece illustrates the boundless depths of my creative mind. Furthermore, I firmly believe that engaging with art, whether as a creator or an observer, can offer therapeutic benefits. Artists have the ability to infuse their feelings and energy into their artwork. Personally, I gravitate towards themes that exude healing, tranquility, and positivity. My aspiration is for my art to act as a conduit for communication, enabling people from diverse cultures and languages to experience the joy and serenity conveyed through the visual language of my creations.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – What are you currently working on?
ET – I have always enjoyed independent creative work and editorial projects. However, recently, I had the opportunity to venture into children’s book illustration, which has been a long-held aspiration of mine. I’ve just completed an exciting project—a children’s book focused on preschool education. Simultaneously, I’m in the early stages of working on my own illustrated book. This upcoming project draws inspiration from my “Lunar Dinosaur Fantasy World,” a concept where dinosaurs inhabit the moon. I envision expanding this idea into a book that unveils an even broader and more enchanting universe-a world brimming with wondrous energy and limitless possibilities.

Another recent source of inspiration has been the Blaschka Glass Models of Plants displayed at the Harvard Natural History Museum. I am captivated by the intricate and exquisite detail with which these glass models capture the diverse structures of creatures and plants. Nature’s inherent richness and variety have injected fresh vigor into my creativity. As I plan for my next project, I aim to embark on a creative journey that explores and celebrates the incredible diversity of life, drawing from the boundless beauty and intricacies that nature offers.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – In your opinion what role does an artist play in society and contemporary art?
ET – I firmly believe that one of the pivotal roles of an artist is that of an observer and questioner. Rooted in societal phenomena, artists have the ability to scrutinize and challenge prevalent societal problems, ecological concerns, and more. They can employ their artwork to stimulate critical thinking within their audience. Art extends beyond the realm of showcasing aesthetically pleasing and decorative objects; it serves as a platform for raising discussions and contemplations about issues that artworks bring to the forefront.

Over the past years, I have been exploring ways in which artists can actively contribute to inspiring inquiry and even addressing real-world challenges. As an example, in one of my exhibitions in 2022, titled “Witches Feast 2,” I created a zine filled with fictitious news stories, employing satire to highlight the concerning fixation on celebrity gossip, unhealthy beauty standards, and the distorted obsession with privacy. My intention was to use this work to draw attention to the dangers of fake news and clickbait. In my perspective, an artist’s distinctive sensibility, emotional depth, and intuitive approach to these social issues constitute some of the core values within the realm of creativity. Artists possess the power to shine a light on pressing concerns and provoke meaningful conversations through their work.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – What’s your background? What’s an experience that influenced your work the most?
ET – Relocating to different cities has played a pivotal role in shaping my outlook and perspectives as an artist. Whether it’s my experiences in Shenzhen, a bustling city in China, or the vibrant urban life of New York, each locale has served as a rich wellspring of inspiration for my artistic endeavors. I find myself drawn to the intricate interplay of elements like architecture, transportation systems, cultural diversity, and the social environment, all of which leave their mark on my work.

My artistic creations often mirror the dynamism and intricacies of urban existence. One particular aspect that captivates my attention is the psychological state and emotions of city dwellers. Amid the benefits of modernization, people can sometimes grapple with the relentless pace of urban life. These physical and emotional experiences find their way into the elements of my illustrations. For instance, in my artwork titled “City Chaos,” I sought to depict the tumultuous and anxious lives of New Yorkers during the pandemic. I used vibrant, flowing brushstrokes to convey the cultures and social dynamics that have shaped my own experiences. This piece earned recognition, including the ADC Award and the Platinum Muse Award. These urban and contemporary elements, such as a modern print aesthetic and bold line work, are recurrent themes in my art, including the piece featured in the Venice International Art Fair, “Bubble Bath,” as well as numerous other works in my portfolio.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
ET – My creative focus tends to evolve organically in response to new experiences and observations. While I harbor a multitude of ideas that I’m eager to explore, I often find myself drawn to certain recurring themes such as nature, urban life, and mental health, which have a significant influence on my work. However, my artistic journey is one of continual exploration and experimentation, and I remain open to diversifying my subject matter and embracing a wide range of topics as I evolve as an artist.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
ET – Yes, I wholeheartedly resonate with the vision of the Venice International Art Fair. In our ever-evolving world, I’ve observed a growing emphasis among artists on understanding and delving into the multifaceted forms of identity within contemporary society. This fair presents a wonderful opportunity for artists from all corners of the globe to come together and engage in diverse cultural exchanges, fostering a rich tapestry of artistic perspectives and experiences.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
ET – ITSLIQUID indeed serves as a fantastic platform for artists on a global scale. I can sense the encouragement and acknowledgment of creativity that radiates from the ITSLIQUID community. Establishing such an artistic platform plays a pivotal role in supporting emerging artists as they work towards building a sustained career in the art world. It also provides a means to incorporate the art and design trends of the past year, ensuring that artists remain in sync with evolving creative landscapes.
Moreover, platforms like ITSLIQUID facilitate interactions with art enthusiasts, industry professionals, and potential collaborators who can appreciate and support our artistic journeys. This collaborative and nurturing environment is invaluable for artists seeking to thrive and make meaningful contributions to the artistic community.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
ET – Absolutely! I greatly appreciated the assistance of the friendly and trustworthy staff who helped with transportation and exhibition. It was reassuring to see that my work was well-protected and appropriately displayed throughout the festival.

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Image courtesy of Esther Tang
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Image courtesy of Esther Tang

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