Instagram: @nekoojiang 
Website: www.nekojiang.com

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

Hey, I’m Neko Jiang! I’m from Chengdu, China. Currently, I am based in New York, USA.

I came to New York City four years ago for my graduate studies in illustration. The reason I why selected New York was because some artists I respect a lot are mostly based there. This gave me a sense of expectation and imagination about New York. Having actually come to the city inspired and embraced me more than I could have imagined. I am now living and working in New York as a freelance illustrator.

我是Neko Jiang,也可以叫我捏口酱。我来自中国四川成都,目前我居住在美国纽约。

四年前我为了插画研究生的学习来到了纽约。选择纽约的原因是基于一些我很尊敬的艺术家他们几乎都在纽约发展。这让我对纽约抱有一种期待和幻想。实际来到了这座城市,它带给我的灵感和包容超乎我的想象。目前我作为一名自由插画师生活和工作在纽约。

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I enjoy creating animal characters and bringing them into human behaviour or seeking a common point between animals and people. This brings an ironic yet adorable style to my work. In recent years, I have been exploring and creating animal characters, bringing them into my illustrations, comics and graphic novels. I also like to combine my own experiences and build metaphors into the stories, like easter eggs, for the viewer to discover.

我喜欢创作动物角色并将它们带入到人类行为当中,或者在动物和人中间寻找一个共同点。这让我的作品有一种讽刺而又可爱的风格。在我近两年的作品里我也有持续探索和创作动物角色,把他们带入到插画、漫画以及图像小说里。同时我也很喜欢结合自己的经历创作,给故事埋入隐喻,像是彩蛋一样,期待着观者发掘。

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Most of my current works are illustrated in Adobe Photoshop. Especially for my commercial work, the digital medium makes it more effective for me to complete a work, and easier to modify. However, for some of my personal works of self-expression, I would prefer to use more traditional mediums such as acrylic, gouache, colored pencil, pencil, and colored ink. Painting with these mediums on real paper gives me a sense of the primal joy of painting. The tactile feeling and the textures that come from traditional mediums are the most organic expression for me.

我目前大部分作品都是用Adobe Photoshop绘制完成的。特别是在我的商业合作中,数字化的媒介让我完成一副作品的效率提高了,并且也方便修改。但是对于一些自我表达的个人作品而言,我更喜欢用一些更传统的媒介,例如丙烯、水粉、彩铅、铅笔、彩色墨水。用这些媒介在真正的纸上作画,这能更让我感受到画画的最原始的快乐。传统媒介带来的触感和质感,这对我来说是最自然的表达。

4. What is your artistic process like?

If it’s a digital medium, I will create a mood board based on a theme and then create some thumbnails. I will eventually choose one of these thumbnails as the final sketch and then complete it with details. This process is usually done in Procreate on my iPad. Then I will color and polish it through Photoshop on my computer.

For traditional mediums, such as acrylic and gouache, I will still draw the sketch in Procreate, then print out the sketch, transfer it onto paper with pencil, then color it. This process will reduce the damage from failed coloring.

如果是数字化的媒介,我在基于一个主题创作的时候,会根据这个主题制作一个情绪板,然后创作几幅粗略的草稿。我最终会在这几幅粗略的草稿里选择一副作为最终的草稿,然后对它进行细节的补完。这个过程我一般会在iPad的Procreate里完成。然后再通过电脑里的Photoshop进行上色和细化。

如果是传统的媒介,例如丙烯和水粉,我还是会在Procreate里画出草稿并细化整理线条,然后将草稿打印出来,用铅笔转印在纸上,再进行上色。这样会避免了直接在纸上画草稿后上色失败的损失。

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

I believe cats are my biggest source of inspiration, and they show up in many of my works. I’ve had cats in my family since I was very young, and I still have one at home in Chengdu that has stayed with us for 11 years. I love to observe their behaviour and guess their inner world. At the same time, cats are the biggest antidote to my anxiety and worries.

Another source of inspiration for me is my daily life and growth experiences. I love to pay attention to the little things that happen in life. For example, during the epidemic, I was obsessed with house plants keeping, and my recent personal artworks revolve around various plants and self emotions. I also like to explore food, and I have created zines about food exploration and drawn comic recipes. I enjoy sketching outdoors, finding a corner to stand on, observing people in a hurry, and capturing their moments in my sketchbook. While sketching, I always get inspired by the small things that happen around me, thinking about who they are, where they come from, and where they are going.

我认为猫我是最大的灵感来源,我有很多作品里都会出现猫。我在我很小的时候家里就有养猫,到现在我在成都的家里还有一只陪伴了我们家11年的猫。我很喜欢观察它们的行为,并且去揣测它们捉摸不定的内心。同时它们也是我停止焦虑和烦恼的最大解药。

另一个我灵感的来源是我的日常生活和成长经历,我喜欢留意生活中的小琐事,比如在疫情期间我迷上了养植物,我近期的个人作品也围绕着各种植物与自我情绪。我也喜欢探索美食,我制作过关于美食探店的Zine和绘制漫画菜谱。我还喜欢去户外速写,找一个角落驻足,观察匆忙的人,在速写本上捕捉他们的瞬间。每次画速写的时候,我总会从身边发生的小事中获得灵感,思考着他们是谁,从何而来,又要去向何方。

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

When I was a child, art was a way for me to escape from school and relieve stress. I could immerse myself in my own creative world. When I was an undergraduate studying animation, art was a medium for me to express my growth and experiences. When I came to the U.S. to study illustration, art became an integral part of my life, and everything that surrounds me and all the emotions and feelings can be my inspiration. Now that art is part of my career, it brings me profit and I try to keep some of my personal styles within the limitations of commercial work. However, art also brings me the pressure of an unstable income, but I’m trying to adapt and balance that. With growth, I think what art has brought me is an expansion and inclusion of my understanding of the world, and that anything can become art.

在我小时候,艺术对我来说是一种逃避学习和缓解压力的方式,可以沉浸在我自己的创作世界。在我本科学习动画的时候,艺术对我来说是一种表达自己成长和经历的媒介。在我来到美国学习插画时,艺术对我来说成为了我生命中不可分割的一部分,任何事任何情感任何感受都能成为我的灵感。现在艺术成为了我职业的一部分,它能为我带来收益,我会尝试在商业合作的限制中保留部分自我风格。但艺术也带给我不稳定的收入压力,但我在努力适应并去平衡这一点。随着成长,我认为艺术带给我的是对世界认知的扩大和包容,任何事物都有可能变成艺术。

7. Where did you study?

I studied Animation Design at East China Normal University as an undergraduate, and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration.

我本科在华东师范大学学习动画设计,研究生毕业于纽约时装学院的插画研究生专业。\

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I will keep developing my unique style, and in terms of forms, I will try to combine illustration and animation. I expect to have more commercial cooperation with more brands, such as posters and packaging for brand promotion. I also want to keep creating independent zines and selling them in art fairs. If the opportunity arises I would also like to publish my own picture book or graphic novel.

我会继续发展我的个人风格,在形式上我会尝试结合插画和动画。我希望能与更多的品牌有商业合作,像是品牌宣传的海报、包装等。我还想继续创作独立Zine和售卖周边在艺术集会里。如果有机会的话我也想出版自己的绘本或图像小说。

9. What about in ten?

I intend to become a well-known artist with a recognizable style as “Neko Jiang”. Maybe it won’t happen in ten years, but I will make it the goal of my life.

我会以”Neko Jiang”这个身份成为有风格辨识度的知名艺术家。或许在十年内它不会实现,但我会以它作为这一生的目标。

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

I hope that my artistic works will bring sensory and emotional resonance to others.

希望我自己的艺术作品能带给别人感官和情绪上的共鸣。

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

All the Sichuan spicy foods, as well as Boba Milk Tea! :3

所有的四川美食以及珍珠奶茶!:3

12. Favourite book?

The most recent favorite one is Liu Cixin’s “The Three-Body Problem”.

最近最喜欢的是刘慈欣的《三体》。

13. Favourite genre of music? 

Indie pop, Dance rock, and Synth pop.

独立流行音乐和舞蹈摇滚乐,以及合成器流行乐。

14. What are your hobbies? 

Plant keeping, Nintendo games, occasionally hiking as well as food exploration.

养植物,任天堂的游戏,偶尔爬山以及美食探店。

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

Maybe I will be a food critic!

可能我会是一个美食评论家!