Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | 1 Comment

Andrea Wan

Memories, the subconscious, and the anxieties in our everyday lives are some of the themes I’m interested in.

– Andrea Wan

The illustrations of Vancouver-based artist Andrea Wan read like dreams, mystifying yet lucid. Her characters explore environments of the subconscious, seemingly suspended in a white void. The usual flow of time breaks up and objects take on a life of their own.

After graduating with a film degree from Emily Carr University, Andrea shifted her strong visual sense and love of storytelling to studying illustration and design at Designskolen Kolding in Denmark.

While exhibiting her fine art works at San Francisco’s Gallery Hijinks, Andrea has rocked editorial illustrations for a range of publications like Nylon, Montecristo Magazine and the Globe and Mail.

The Wait by Andrea Wan

The Wait

Q. Your personal work seems to draw heavily on the logic of dreams and the subconscious. We love some of the recurring images such as houses nested within each other like Russian dolls. Can you tell us a bit about the themes you address, and how you approach your personal work?

Cat by Andrea Wan

A. Houses has always been an ongoing subject of interest to me. I grew up in the suburbs where I spent most of my time until I moved out last year. In a place with urban sprawls and shopping malls everything seemed to have a recursive pattern.

There were very little interactions between people on the street as they are busy with their own lives. In the evenings, I used to take long walks alone in my neighbourhood, observing the houses and trying to imagine the lives of people inside by looking at clues from their lawns.

I often felt isolated while living in the suburbs and only wanted to stay home and draw. In my art I explored my response to the surrounding environment, integrating personal feelings with imagined landscapes.

Memories, the subconscious, and the anxieties in our everyday lives are some of the themes I’m interested in. I simply see my personal work as an outlet for my emotions and an on-going process of self discovery.


Q. After completing your degree in Film, Video and Integrated Media at Emily Carr University you went on to study illustration and design at Designskolen Kolding, in Denmark. What prompted the switch to illustration, and why choose to study in Denmark?

A. During my final year at Emily Carr, I worked on an animated film with a hand-drawn, illustrative look for my grad project. Some people asked if I have ever considered doing Illustration after watching my film. I didn’t have a concrete idea what I wanted to do but I was opened to trying new things.

At the same time I really needed a break from Vancouver to travel around and live somewhere else. Designskolen Kolding happened to be one of the few schools in Europe offered illustration and design courses in English, so I stayed and studied there for about 7 months after traveling around for a month.

Untitled Self Portrait by Andrea Wan

Untitled Self Portrait

In my art I explored my response to the surrounding environment, integrating personal feelings with imagined landscapes.

The Only Way In.


Q. We love the prints “Untitled Collage” that you did with the Swedish creative team Rasterosett. Can you tell us how this collaboration came about, and how you approach working with other creatives?

A. I met Sandra, the co-founder of Rasterrosett, during my first year of Emily Carr while she was on exchange. We’ve worked on a few crazy and fun projects together for school and we’d always talked about collaborating on something on our own. During her latest visit in Vancouver we finally had a chance to do so.

Since we’re both inspired by the cityscape and the environment we decided to base our collaboration on that. She collected sources for the collage while I drew some things that came to mind in relation to the environment that surrounded us. It’s always a rewarding experience working with other creatives, combining two very different styles and work processes to create something new and unexpected.

Untitled Collage by Andrea Wan

Untitled Collage


It’s always a rewarding experience working with other creatives, combining two very different styles and work processes to create something new and unexpected.

The Deconstruction Of... by Andrea Wan

The Deconstruction Of…


Q. You’ve done beautiful commercial work for a number of big publications. Do you approach commissioned projects differently from personal work? What has been your most exciting project to work on so far?

A. I enjoyed working with art directors who are open-minded and those who would give me a certain amount of freedom in terms of how I conceptualize the subject. The process for commission works is usually more straight forward, I would keep the finished art work pretty close to my sketches.

Personal work allows a little more time for experimentation, and my work process varies depending on my mood. Sometimes I feel like drawing directly on the paper, other times I might fiddle around with colors and composition on my computer before I start.

Hippie Love by Andrea Wan

Hippie Love


Editorial Illustration for Avenue Magazine, June 2010

Editorial Illustration for Avenue Magazine, June 2010

Q. Given unlimited time and resources, what would be your “dream project”?

A. I’d love to collaborate with artists I like to create something for the public space in Vancouver, because I feel that’s what we’re lacking in the city.

Q. What are you working on right now? Anything coming up we can look forward to?

A. These days I’m trying to pick up painting again. Besides a few commissions I’m also working on some artwork for a potential solo show in the near future. I’ll keep you posted!

State of Mind - Understanding Mental Health, Editorial Illustration for Montecristo Magazine Volume 3 Issue 1, 2010

State of Mind – Understanding Mental Health, Editorial Illustration for Montecristo Magazine Volume 3 Issue 1, 2010.

Andrea Wan’s studio (left), and sketech  “Fragile”.

Andrea Wan’s studio (left), and sketech “Fragile”.

S&TM: We would like to thank Andrea Wan for making amazing work and taking the time to do this interview.

Comments (1)

  1. 安全な電力平準化と金

    私の個人的な 誠実 後悔 への感謝を表現するいないためあなた 早く