Instagram: @charlene_man

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

I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in the UK. After graduating from BA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, I continued freelance for 3 years and decided to move back to Hong Kong and have been basing in Hong Kong ever since.

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

Colour and humour takes a big part in my work, it won’t be fun for me to just draw something for the look without any meaning. Working on something with humour not only makes my work more enjoyable but also rewarding to get to see other people smile/laugh when they interact with my work.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I have always been interested in working in three dimensions, but I also found myself easily comfortable working in 2D format. Lately I have been making ceramics again and I really enjoy seeing my drawing get transformed into 3D and I like how it becomes more tactile and interactive.

4. What is your artistic process like?

For my personal work, a lot of my ideas came from idling or when I am not busy with all my other work. In general, coming up with a concept is always the parts that take the longest, after that I would usually work on a pencil sketch and depending on the idea I will choose the most appropriate medium for the execution, e.g. digital, hand drawn or three dimension etc.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

This changes in time but if I have to name my all time most inspiring people, it would definitely be Picasso, Keita Takahashi and Miranda July. Picasso for always expressing the true feeling and reflecting the different stages of his life through his work, Keita Takahashi for his playfulness and genius work on the game Katamari and Miranda July for her transparent and quirkiness in her work.

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

Growing up from a traditional family in Hong Kong I have never thought that I could pursue art as a career until I met my art teachers in High School and art foundation in the UK. Before I met them I thought being an artist would only be a struggle but they made me realise that art does not have to be just an interest, if I believe in it, it can be a big part of my life.

7. Where did you study?

I studied BA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts in London. The course was a complete eye opener and I have kept in touch with some of my tutors, which are some of the most influential people in my work and life.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

If this was asked last year I probably have a more definite answer but now I am definitely just taking a day-by-day approach. The beginning of this year I drown myself in client work and thought that was the most important thing. Realising I have just been stuck in my studio working non-stop, I am now taking a more relax approach in my work and future would love to just see where it takes me J 

9. What about in ten?

Again, I am just enjoying the NOW. Ten years seems so far away to me. 

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

When I first graduated I have always thought about the importance of being known for what I do. In recent years, from going to different art book fairs and having lots of face-to-face interaction with people that like my work. This has allowed me to realise if my work is reaching the right audience that truly connect and appreciate what I do, then that’s the most rewarding feeling I can ever have.

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

Mmm… I love food and I really enjoy cooking. I have always thought if my art career didn’t work out I could do something cooking related. It’s really hard for me to choose my favourite food, but I love sweet things especially cakes. Also the fact that I am not very good at baking makes me love it even more.

12. Favourite book?

I am so bad at reading books and I can never complete a novel. The only book I have completed and it’s definitely at the top is How To Be Bored by Eva Hoffman. It’s almost a bible to me, it’s a book that I keep re-visit and learn new things from time to time.

13. Favourite genre of music? 

I like a lot of different kinds of music, it’s hard for me to choose one genre. The Musicians that I have been quite drawn to recently are Ana Roxanne, Visible Cloaks, Eartheater and Frank Ocean, which is quite a mixture of genre.

14. What are your hobbies? 

Lately I am cooking a lot and I really enjoy preparing food. Chopping food is one of my favourite parts in cooking, it’s a part that I don’t have to think much and super relaxing and meditative.

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

I felt like I almost answered this from question 11 already. Yea I guess either making coffee or cooking.