Instagram: @jennliv
Twitter: @chemicalcolour


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

My name is Jenn Liv and I am a fulltime freelance illustrator based in Toronto, Canada.

Jenn Liv NPR Yogis Choice.jpg

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

Lately I’ve been really inspired by my roots and looking at Chinese artwork that I’ve grown up with all my life. Traditional Chinese paintings of clouds, dragons, cranes, fish, flowers, willow trees, mountains, water, I love that stuff. I think my aesthetic is currently a reflection of that inspiration. I’ve also been trying to connect more with my motherland and other contemporary Chinese art which is so politically charged and provocative. Unfortunately I only found out about Ren Hang just after his untimely death which makes me want to reach out and find out more about other mainland Chinese artists. Growing up in North America as a second generation Chinese person does add that degree of separation from my culture. My aesthetic is my way of trying to close that gap I feel within myself.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I work 100% digitally in photoshop using Kyle T Webster brushes and a few custom ones I’ve made on my own. I like it because it gives me the freedom to go back and edit anything I want. Being able to zoom in and out freely and pick out any colour imaginable at my disposal is pretty cool too. Basically it gives me a lot of power over my work and having a lot of power is nice.

4. What is your artistic process like?

Spend hours wracking my brain over creating concepts, draw the final fairly quickly, spend another eternity fussing over colour.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

My heritage, whoever is current and fresh in my Instagram feed.

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

It’s an extension of myself. Whatever I don’t feel comfortable sharing about myself to other people I let my art speak for me. Otherwise I normally don’t like to talk about myself very much, not vocally anyways. As I mentioned before, it is also currently a way for me to feel closer and reconnect with my native country.

Jenn Liv Corporate Knights China Climate Change

7. Where did you study?

I studied Illustration at OCAD University.

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

Realistically, I see myself living the same life as I am right now.

9. What about in ten?

Hopefully not dead? And hopefully not jaded about being an artist? I’d love to live in Asia for a bit at some point though.

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

I want to make more of it. I feel like I still haven’t made enough in my lifetime and that’s inexcusable to me. But as you get older you bear more responsibilities and have less time to do the things you want unfortunately. I’m always trying to find ways to make more time for art.

Jenn Liv Plansponsor Growth

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

In 2017 my favourite food is mackerel. But honestly I eat everything.

12. Favourite book?

I’m not sure if it’s my favourite but I do like ‘Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami. His short stories are great too. His other novels are kind of a hit or miss for me. But honestly that might’ve been the last book I’ve read in about a decade.

13. Favourite genre of music?

I don’t have a favourite genre so I’m probably into whatever’s ‘in’ right now. But right now I’m telling you to go check out a Japanese indie band called ‘Kinoko Teikoku’ which translates to ‘Mushroom Empire’, because I think their stuff is amazing.

14. What are your hobbies?

Gathering and crafting things in video games. Also farming, gardening and fishing in video games. Ugh I cannot tell you how cathartic and relaxing those activities are to me. I guess by extension they’d be my hobbies in real life too if I had the time for it.

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

If I wasn’t an artist I’d probably be a complete mystery.

Jenn Liv Year of the RoosterJenn Liv New York Times Book Review Refugees