CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
HL: It’s a kind of a documentation. I juxtapose elements within reality in a surrealistic manner to create a “photographic” image that captures both visual and emotional factor of the subject matter.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
HL: I draw inspiration from experiences a person has living in this contemporary world. It is obvious that I am the only person who can describe my own perspective of the world, therefore it only makes sense for me to use self portrait to express that.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
HL: I don’t work in a typical, idea-sketch-create type of process for most of my works. I feel that when I get an inspiration, it needs to be poured or spilled out onto a piece of paper as quick as possible before my logical thought processes blur or alter my initial idea. The process is very much like writing in a journal. You don’t edit, think through what you’re going to write on your personal journal. There is no concern for other people judging your story afterwards. You feel like you have something to say, and you write it down.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
HL: I don’t like to tell people what my works are about or tell people about my story because that is not the point in showing my work. My work really deals with individuality. I’ve always had a hard time recognizing who I was growing up. As an immigrant at an early age and not being easily accepted by others throughout childhood and adolescence, I was conflicted because I didn’t fit into moulds that existed around me. Then I realized, what is the purpose of being fit into a mould made by other people, and I began to question and doubt the possibility for people to be categorized or grouped together in the first place. I want people to embrace the little quirks they have as an individual as I am learning to do for myself.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
HL: My day as an artist starts late at night. It’s often much easier for me to focus on my drawings after everyone has gone to sleep and everything is silent.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
HL: I guess I answered this question on question three. But yes, I definitely follow my impulses a lot more. I think when there is structure imposed onto a pure idea, it starts to breakdown and somehow becomes irrelevant and faded.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
HL: Rejection is good for the soul of an artist. Any kind of criticism, constructive or not, should always be very much appreciated.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
HL: First and for most, I place the highest importance in meaning or purpose of a work.
Secondly, I think that art is meant to stimulate people visually and emotionally, so there is a certain visual aesthetic I try to create to convey my personal emotional expression. Having said that, stimulating the audience visually does not necessarily equate to making your art look pretty or beautiful.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
HL: I can’t think of anything that’s hard about being an artist, really. I always challenge myself to develop as an artist but that’s something I enjoy and believe it to be necessary.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
HL: I am very appreciative of the fact that I found what I love to do. I’ve recently realize that, not many people find what they truly want to do in life for a long time.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
HL: I was introduced to Eva Hesse in my fourth year of university and ever since then, I’ve kind of been obsessed with her. I love her philosophy behind art.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
HL: Technology has a love/hate relationship with me. I love the fact that I can reach so many people from different countries instantaneously with a flick of a finger. However, I do have trouble with actual technical process of getting artworks online. I am not efficient in photoshop and sometimes final image is not to the standards I would like it to be.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
HL: I’d like to believe that everyone views the world differently and creatively regardless of their reputation. I just decided to express my creativity outwards as an artist but others just keep it in their own heads.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
HL: I love travelling. I had an opportunity to go around Europe for a month. My favourite city during that travel was Florence. I overcame some personal hurdles there, and that city also ended up being the most memorable city I’ve stayed at.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
HL: I haven’t encountered an author or a book to solidly call it a favorite, but a book I’ve recently finished, 1Q84 by Hakuri Murakami, was an interesting one.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
HL: I don’t have major goals or plans. I just want to try my best in things and ride the waves that come along my way.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
HL: Being an artist means everything to me, as cliche as this might sound. I found myself through art and I can’t imagine life without it.
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
HL: My work can be as simple or as complicated as you see it. I can only hope to evoke something within the viewers’ minds.
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