Note: English interview has been modified for translation purposes but remains with original interview intergrity.
A wonderful illustrator from Taiwain is the focus of this weeks Creative Spotlight series. Like many of us who find ourselves with a passion, Jung-Shan is an illustrator at night. But, by morning, she is a general office clerk in a technology company. Soon to be super famous and quit that technology job in the near future I am sure, I jumped at the opportunity to interview this talented young woman. Her style was something I don’t see often and immediately fell in love with her work. She combines Asian art style with Western technique drawing. We chopped it up on a variety of topics ranging from movies, to her creative process, & more. Read below for the full interview.
Could you give us a bit of background about yourself?
Jung-Shan: My name is Chang Jung-Shan from Taiwan. I am a freelance illustrator. I use [ JungShan Ink ] as my name, as JungShan is my given name, while the Ink part represent my illustrations are Chinese ink combined with digital pen (Photoshop brush) and Photoshop effects. I like to combine Eastern style with Western techniques. Most people think the Chinese ink technique is an ancient and serious art tradition in Asia, but I believe it can be modern and fun.
What inspired you to first start drawing? Did you struggle in your formative years or did it come easy to you?
Jung-Shan: I took lessons in art education for 3 years during high school; I then stopped drawing for 7 years, Because after graduating from school, I tried to join many competitions and illustrate job interview, but almost was eliminated. My art style is not popular in my country I thought, so I stopped drawing. I changed to learn insurance and business management.
Until I discovered the digital tablet and started drawing again in 2006, first used the digital tablet to draw that only draw for fun and relax after work whole day. I tried to join different countries’ website and art forum. We all used the simple English to communicate and learn the art, show the arts together. We usually play the “collaboration art “, use my ink material combine with their digital or graffiti painting, more people notice this kind of art, and write the comments in blog and forum. I finally understand that the world is really huge and everything is possible.
What is it about Japanese samurai’s culture that interests you so much?
Jung-Shan: I love boldness spirit of the Japanese samurai. Calm action with wild eye contact, simple style and not many colors on their clothes. Especially the samurai image combined with traditional Japanese music “shakuhachi” and “shamisen”, it is perfect. I think this is a projection of inner feelings, hoping to use samurai style painting to express my own personality and thoughts.
I know you’ve traveled to Spain, France, among other countries, but have you traveled to America?
Jung-Shan: I have never been [to] America before; I’d love to [visit] USA. In these 2 years that I touch more artists comes from America and South America in internet, I’d love to go to travel America and have collaboration exhibition with them, of course if I have had chance. I [take] trips [to] many countries in Europe and I have many friends there. Since, I joined a website “Fotolog”, 6 years ago; I uploaded my diary drawing, and knew many artists from Spain, Portugal and Italy, etc. We collaboration [on] drawings and communicate everyday.
You’ve produced the poster for Resurrection, a 2011 Chinese film by director Leste Chen. Tell us how that job came about.
Jung-Shan: Leste Chen is my ex-classmates in high school, and roommate in collage. We disconnect for many years until this [project] that we connected again. He knows that I am making the Chinese ink drawing and ask me to draw the poster for the film image design (leading poster, not the publication poster in cinema). But this film is still preparing.
Are you a fan of anime or any particular Asian films?
Jung-Shan: I preferred the history film and Japanese fantasy film, like Chinese film, A Battle Of Wits, and Japanese fantasy films, like Dororo and GeGeGe Kitaro. About the information of the Japanese samurai, I watch the TV series, Fūrin Kazan, Tenchijin, and more.
What are the pros and cons with working with inks & digital penning afterwards?
Jung-Shan: Traditional ink painting created by the nature of the atmosphere and level of digital drawing is very difficult to achieve. I am meaning the nature line or water logging and grey level. I have to made hundred of ink textures in process that just only can use 1 or 2 pieces textures in draw. However draw the background by Chinese ink or draw the character by digital brushes, it is needs into emotional. My art style is less color, so I have to use character’s emotion and atmosphere to describe the theme of the drawing.
What do you think of the more recent computer animated films as opposed to traditional cel animation?
Jung-Shan: I am admire both of animation films, no matter the computer 3D animated or traditional 2D and hand drawing animation, they are both have own markets and irreplaceable. It is illustrator’s point of view to compare these two kinds film; it is needs to exist side by side. Artists need more stage to show their idea and specialty ability.
Any exhibitions in 2011 we can see you and/or your work at?
Jung-Shan: My ink works will publication on a new art book, ArtcorePress Vol. 1. This is my new career cooperation with a famous illustrator Yu- Cheng Hong, and this book collects many famous artists’ works and interview from different countries in the world. We collect the CG, Illustration, Graffiti, 3D, photographic and more arts. It plans to publication and sale on March, 2011.
What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
Jung-Shan: I think the most artists get blocked when [there] is no one to appreciate. Especially [if] you already work hard for many years. You start to doubt yourself and lose most of [your] confidence. I asked many artists from different countries, [and] all have had this situation. (Include me, of course).
But my phrase is “There are hundreds of millions of people in the world”. A world view is very important. Just try to take the 20 hours flight to trip. Or try to join different groups and art websites from around the world. Draw want you want to draw, make the art you want to make, it’s not really about using the correct tools and techniques, because art should not have correct way and formula. Maybe somewhere out there someone will love your art style, and your arts can touch their hearts.
Interested in following her work? Follow her cookie crumb trail below: