Committed to observing the ordinary and converting her findings into art, illustrator Nykie Ngan takes inspiration from her everyday surroundings. Amid a graceful, charming and gaudy outcome, Nykie’s fresh perspective continues to explore familiar themes twisted with new eccentricities.
“My main inspiration comes from daily life; this can be from a conversation I heard on train, a weird-shaped fruit I bought from the supermarket, an emotion which is uneasy to describe or an environmental issue,” Nykie tells It’s Nice That. “With all these elements collected, we can explore the diversity and celebrate the unseen of the everyday.”
Hailed from a recent exhibition, Let’s Play Ping Pong, that took place at Museum für Kommunikation in Berlin, Nykie’s latest project draws from this distinctive observational mindset. By adding a hint of romance to the theme of ‘lunch’, Have Lunch With Me: Goodbye to the Same Old Sandwich illustrates a colourful depiction of the small matters that usually go unnoticed. This “in-between” or “rushed lunch” is an all too recognisable scenario, which is why Nykie’s attitude towards meal time strikes as a fundamental reminder to enjoy this time out from your day-to-day. “The origin of the word lunch relates to the small snacks between two main meals that tends to get overlooked pretty often,” she says. “The artworks are not about the food we eat, but the quality time we spend together."
When asked about her thought process and ways in which she transcends ideas onto paper, Nykie explains how she aims to “purely transcend” concepts into “abstract shapes, colours and characters” — creating bold settings filled with hand drawn illustrations. At first the images may seem garish, but that’s all part of her practice: “I’m into exploring how signs and symbols linguistically connect with the audience."
“My artwork consists of a series of risoprints and screenprints…Before I start new works I will push myself to try something different, like drawing digitally or even a colour that I have been avoiding,” she says. “In this age of information, the imperfectness and roughness of risograph suggests a free-will spirit and purity. It’s also an environmentally friendly way to print, as it uses soy-based inks to produce unique outcomes. The beauty of this printing method is in its warmth and vivid colour range.”
Having previously studied graphic design in Hong Kong then moving to pursue illustration here in London, Nykie’s background has given her a breadth of experience from two valuable creative cities. “The demand on the illustrators [in London] is less intense than the illustration market in Hong Kong, but that doesn’t mean the town is lacking in talent or stylish artists. Hong Kong and London are both dazzling and fascinating cities — if you’re not careful you might get lost on the way to exploring your own style.”
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