Illustrator Charlene Man isn’t one for staying put. “I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the UK,” she explains. “Since I graduated from illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, I have been working in between both Hong Kong and UK depending on the project.”
Recently, she ended the tour of her exhibition Down Time in Osaka, Saga and Hong Kong, which explored the idea of relaxation through depictions of simply drawn, carefree spirited women pictured lazing around in tracksuits. “My recent solo exhibition tour Down Time was definitely a highlight of last year,” she says. “When I became fully freelance I came up with a rough project idea about ‘doing nothing’ and thought it would be perfect to do it in East Asia because of the often intense work ethic. Then I started contacting galleries, lucky enough I had several replies and it gradually became a tour from Osaka to Saga in Japan then to Hong Kong. The idea is having me act as a missionary to share the spirits of laziness and the joy of doing nothing. The amount of work and experience I achieved in those three months was incredible; it was all thanks to all the lovely people that helped me there and one strong belief which is ‘you never get what you don’t ask’.”
Now, Charlene is planning her next solo show in Taipei and finalising a series of illustrations for a mindfulness book for Penguin Random House. “I have worked on my own children’s activity book before, but working with an author and a book for a different audience makes the project challenging which is something that I thrive for with client projects. The theme of the book also ties in with my recent personal works, which makes it fun to work on as well as being useful research.”
“‘Make Happy Images’ is something that I bear in mind whilst working,” Charlene comments of her work. “For instant choosing bright and pastel colours combining with light hearted content and a little bit of my strange humour. I would say ‘happy’ is what identifies me in within my work.”
About the Author
Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.