Instagram: @cat_mover
Behance: www.behance.net/xinmeiliu
Website: www.catmoverart.net


1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

My name is Xinmei Liu. I am from Shanghai. I’ve secretly wanted to go to art school since I was a teenager. In China, a career in art wasn’t exactly considered ‘decent’ for educated people and may require hard training since an early age. When I was an exchange student in Texas, I found out that being an artist can be just so easy if you are an artist at heart. So I went ahead, applied to and got admitted into Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After I graduated, I moved back to my hometown Shanghai and started my career as a freelance illustrator (and part-time portfolio tutor).

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2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I prefer ornate and lavish to minimalist visual elements. I also appreciate elegant compositions and designs. Finally, add a touch of playfulness and things will be perfect!

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I work a lot with brush and ink because I love the subtly different marks the brush leaves on paper. But what I enjoy more is the digital process to put all kinds of handmade textures together, which is almost like a collage.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I sketch in pencil. Then I do an ink drawing with brushes and scan it. Sometimes different parts of drawings need to be on separate layers. Sometimes I introduce pencilwork too. Then everything is assembled and colored in a digital file. As the process moves along, I may add other elements such as patterns painted in watercolor or textures scanned from paper samples I own.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

Cultures, literature, history and animals (cats, and bunnies recently). For a long time my hometown Shanghai has been my biggest inspiration.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

I feel I am the kind of person that need to create things just to survive. I am shy and can get uncomfortable talking to people. Art is how I communicate with the world.

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7. Where did you study?

I studied illustration at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. But I learn new things every day everywhere.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

I have actually never thought about that. I don’t know where I see myself tomorrow. I like letting life make its own turns, and I just keep creating stuff. Maybe in five years I’ll be a bartender?

9. What about in ten?

Maybe in ten years I’ll be a bar owner.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Best case scenario, my art changes somebody’s life. But artists are not doctors. So I will try my best to let my art bring something positive to the world, even if it’s just funny and makes people laugh.

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11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

Well it changes from time to time. Now it’s avocado.

12. Favourite book?

I enjoy a lot of books. I would say my favourite has been ‘The Song of Everlasting Sorrow’ by Chinese author Wang Anyi, as I created a whole thesis project based on it when I was in art school.

13. Favourite genre of music?

This is a tough question…I don’t categorize the music I listen to and I like a bit of everything. Alternative rock and playful folk songs are among my favourites.

14. What are your hobbies?

I like making things by hand and I like paper. So I enjoy bookbinding and making paper dolls.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Maybe a journalist. I feel journalism is a profession that can actually make a change to the world. But bartending sounds good too.

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