1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hello! I’m Ileana — I grew up in a small seaside town in Borneo and am now currently based in LA as an illustrator. Working as an illustrator, some of the companies I’ve worked with include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Oprah Magazine. Throughout my career, my work has also been recognized by American Illustration, The World Illustration Awards, and a Medal by 3×3, amongst others.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I would estimate that my work falls somewhat between a fascination with painting, an abstraction of shapes, light, and color. More importantly, my greatest hope is for the work to have some sort of emotional resonance with the viewer (if the context of its use allows for it).
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I love painting with gouache! Perhaps its because it is the medium that I started out with and thus it serves as a vehicle that rekindles my joy of painting.
4. What is your artistic process like?
It depends a lot on the purpose of what I’m creating. Do I have to solve a visual problem? Tell a story? Provide entertainment? Create a feeling? Does the client have something in mind or is it a personal project with my own agenda? Depending on the context of what it is I am trying to create:
I start with a problem > try to solve problem visually > create an intention of a feeling I would like to evoke > plan compositions to best capture the feeling > do a colour/value pass > Finish/Refine the painting
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
These days, I’ve been looking at a lot of Impressionists, most notably Degas and Caillebotte. Other than painting/painters, I find myself mostly drawn to photography and cinema too. Thus, photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson, Saul Leiter, Steve McCurry, and Peter Lindbergh. Filmmakers like Terence Malick and Jane Campion, amongst others.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art makes my life so much sweeter. Being able to make a living as an illustrator is a great blessing and a very fulfilling one. Viewing the world through its lens has forced me to see the world with eyes wide open, and everything that entails.
7. Where did you study?
I have 2 bachelor degrees, so I went to 2 different universities. For art school, I went to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, but prior to that my first degree was in Finance at the University of South Australia.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years ago if you would have asked me this question my answer would have been drastically different from my present situation. Things are way better than I would have hoped but have never turned out the way they were planned. Moving forward, in the future I hope to make use of every single day I am given, and also, more importantly, continue striving to be a better person in 5 years than I am today.
9. What about in ten?
Same answer as the previous question on 5 years.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope my art has or will have the ability to create emotional resonance with anyone that crosses its path.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
My hometown (North Borneo) has a deliciously special bowl of beef noodle soup called Nqiu Chap that can only be found there. Sadly, it is not available elsewhere in the world (yet).
12. Favourite book?
It’s a 3-way tie between Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey, and I Feel Bad About my Neck by Nora Ephron.
13. Favourite genre of music?
14. What are your hobbies?
Travelling would be one, reading would be another.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Probably a tossup between a financial analyst (Finance degree would be something to fall back on?), or maybe an Economics Professor? (my love for economics has lasted way beyond school).