Shan Jiang possesses mind boggling skills as an illustrator. From the looks of his amazing website it looks like he’s been pumping out solid gold as part of the design company I Love Dust since 2005. He’s got one hell of a body of work including a poster for the Alamo Drafthouse series of Star Wars posters. The level of detail in his work is unmatched by anyone and I took this rare opportunity to catch up with him to discuss a variety of topics. Read below for the full interview…
Your distinct work stands out and I always recognize it as yours right away. Could you describe the visual influences and personal choices that have contributed to your work?
Shan: Style of my works partly come from my life and visual experience. As I was born and grew up in Shanghai, an east cost city in China. I think the fine lines and details in my works more or less are influenced by spider-net like roads; numerous tower buildings and bungalows. And maybe the colour pallette I always use comes from what I seen through the badly polluted air. I also largely inspired by local and east asian arts including Chinese meticulous (gong-bi), Ukiyoe, and of course a lot of animes I have been watching.
I absolutely love….LOVE the Star Wars piece you did. Are the Alamo Drafthouse Star Wars poster series complete? Or do you see yourself working with them in the future?
Shan: One of designers I knew, called Olly Moss introduce to the client and they asked if I could design a poster for an classic movie about a year ago. That s how it started. I think that the poster I did belongs to a project produced by the client. I saw other designers and artists’ posters for Star Wars theme. Most of them I really like. That s the only job I did for them so far.
I noticed you do alot of vehicle illustrations. Do you have a passion for nice cars?
Shan: All the works about cars or bikes are commission works. Right now I m working on project for a quite famous car brand as well. However I dont have licence for driving. Sounds unbelievable but seems it s not that necessary to drive a car if people live in Shanghai, London or small town such Southsea where I m staying now.
What is your working environment like?
Shan: I working as senior designer at ILOVEDUST and work at home for all personal works and commissions. Both working enviroments are bit similar: I have a big desk but a lot of used or un used paper, books, computer, scanner, printer, pens, mugs, cameras, keys, tapes, cables on the desk so eventually I only got a tiny place to do works.
Is Shanghai a good environment to fuel your creativity?
Shan: Shanghai was a beautiful city. I had really good memory with the city through all 80s and early 90s. I dont really like what it looks now. Sometimes when i went back, i couldnt recognize this is the city that gave me so many inspirations. However the design industry was not very good but now I think it s getting better. I have been living and working overseas since 2003 so I dont have very much to say.
Are you a fan of anime? Did you enjoy Summer Wars?
Shan: Yes, I m a huge fan of anime and have been starting to watch animes since 2 years old. I enjoyed Summer Wars. I always like Sadamoto Yoshiyuki’s characters.
Describe your experiences in London. What was that like?
Shan: I really like London. Maybe sounds wired I quite like the weather here. When I live and work in other places, I feel I m there as a resident. When I live and work in London, I feel I m always a traveller.
What is your overall approach to promotion, both in terms of “getting out there” and contacting clients directly?
Shan: I have been working full time for a company all of these years. And I also have my own clients. Most of clients I worked with contacted me first. Or I m introduced by someone to these clients. I havn’t promoted myself a lot partly because I m already working about 16 hours working per day, both for myself and ILOVEDUST, the design studio I m working for.
What do you like about your work, and what do you feel you could improve upon as an artist?
Shan: I think I feel more comfortable to be a designer instead of an artist. So I can stay far from ART and do what I like to do.
To see more of Shan’s work catch his newly renovated website below: