1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Xiao Mei, a Brooklyn based illustrator. I grew up in a little town in the Canton region of China and moved to the United States when I was twelve years old. I was the quiet girl that love to doodle instead of going out when I was little. After I moved to the US and settled in New York, my cousin brought me to the MET, which was the first time I had ever been to an art museum. I still remember how powerful it was at the time and it was the point where I gained my interest in art and dreams of being an artist.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My works are graphic and vibrant. I love colors and often use limited color palettes in creative ways. I love looking at retro Japanese and Chinese posters and I think this reflects in my works.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
My favorite medium currently is risograph. I love the unexpected element and the printing quality it provides. Risograph is a process similar to silkscreen but in a modern printing machine, the printer makes masters for each layer and print one or two colors at a time. I done most of my works digitally in photoshop.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Normally I would start with rough thumbnails or go over my sketchbook and see what interests me during my free time. After a rough thumbnail sketch I will scan it into photoshop, decide the color palette, and work digitally until satisfied with my work.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Anything really. People on the train, conversation I overhear, my dreams, /r/nosleep, etc,. I am trying not to look at illustration as much and let myself be influenced by the real world, things that I experience, and feel strongly about.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
It is hard to separate art and life, to me they belongs together. Art changes the way I view the world by appreciating things I interact with everyday, whether is an art piece in an museum, street signs that inform people, or the train I took in my commute. Art can serve as a way to communicate and a conversation starter.
7. Where did you study?
I am currently finishing my BFA in illustration at the School of Visual arts in New York.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself still doing things I do now, being a freelance illustrator and managing an online shop at the same time. I see myself attending more events and meeting other creative minds. Start art directing and having a cat and dog. The last thing I want to do is stop creating.
9. What about in ten?
In ten years, I hope to be an art director possibly in publishing. And still doing things above, in my own art studio.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want to create works that make me happy. I hope my art can inspire everyone, especially women to express their own identities and not be afraid to be ordinary or to standout. It’s okay to be the person you want to be.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I love noodles, any shape and size of noodle! I eat A LOT and am not a picky eater. (except for tomatoes)
12. Favourite book?
Favorite book since I was a teenager is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. The book was rather depress and contradicted, it really challenge me into think deeply about who am I and the relationships I have with others.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I don’t have a favorite, it really depends on what mood or vibe I am having that day. I like 80s pop music from Japan, Songs by Sheena Ringo, Yaeji, Higher Brothers, BO EN, etc,. (Just to name a few)
14. What are your hobbies?
I like to visit museums and galleries, watch documentaries, and try new recipes.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Owner of a silkscreen and risograph printing lab that offers affordable services for established and emerging artist. As I found it hard to have access to those services other than in art college and university.