Whooli Chen’s Vivid Imagination

Taiwanese illustrator Whooli Chen creates worlds teeming with flowers and plants and fills them with characters from her wildly active imagination. In these fantastical worlds, you might see flowers sprouting from a girl’s eyes, flames leaping from a boy’s heart, or a pair of hands manipulating reality from the side of the frame. Her illustrations are like fables or fairy tales, but a happy ending isn’t guaranteed.


来自台湾的插画家 陈狐狸 (Whooli Chen),喜欢营造一个充满花花草草的世界,让一些胡思乱想的人和动物穿梭其中。在她的幻想里,女孩的眼睛可以长出无名花,男孩可以拥有一颗野火燎原的心脏,或是一双手从旁生出来操弄现实。她的画是无数则不一定会有美好结局的寓言童话。

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, Chen moved to the UK to pursue a master’s degree in illustration. It was there that she chose her artistic name. “A few months before I left London, looking out from my window to the house across the way, I noticed a red fox that would often bask in the backyard sun,” she says. “It’s one of my last memories of my time there, so I chose the name ‘Chen Whooli’ on a whim as a tribute to that fox and that city.” (Whooli is pronounced huli, which means “fox” in Chinese.)


大学时期念的是纯美术,之后到英国继续学插画,陈狐狸这个插画家的身份就是在此时诞生的。“大概在离开伦敦前几个月,发现从家里窗户看向对街房子的后院,常常有一只红色的狐狸在晒太阳。牠是我在伦敦最后一段时光的一个记忆。“陈狐狸” 就是为了纪念那只红狐狸和伦敦而乱取的名字。”

 

Chen likes the tactile simplicity of pencil and paper, so when working on a new illustration, she often starts with a hand-drawn sketch. Afterward she’ll scan and color it digitally. Attentive to details, her illustrations often include subtleties that are designed to be appreciated by the keenest of observers. Her illustrations feel like pop-up books – they’re immersive and beckon viewers into each frame.

While her style is soft and delicate, a sense of melancholy seems to linger. But rather than asking the artist to define the messages and themes behind her works, it’s much more fun to wander into Chen’s make-believe worlds and conjure up stories of your own.


创作时,陈狐狸说自己很喜欢铅笔和纸张那种质朴的手感,所以画画时通常会先在纸上打草稿, 最后再扫描进电脑上色。她特别注重细节的处理,每一个角落的画面都细细勾勒,充满很多得好好花时间欣赏的小物件。她的画好像是立体的故事书,从什么角度看,都可以找到不一样的切入点。画风看似温柔,寓意却不全然是美好的。关于她想透过画,对我们传递的讯息到底是什么,这部分我们不想请陈狐狸为我们定义。凭着你的想像,进入她的创作世界解读出属于自己的故事,才是最好玩的地方。

Chen’s rich, vibrant style is revealing of the artists who’ve influenced her. “I think artistic creation is a process of gradual change. You’re constantly taking in new stimuli, integrating them into your own style. I really like early Western naturalist prints, along with Persian miniatures and early Japanese woodcuts. Every so often I’ll come across a new artist I like, such as early 20th-century French illustrator George Barbier, who I recently discovered and think is really great.”


繁复多彩的创作风格,也许是受到平常喜欢艺术家的影响。“我觉得创作是一个缓慢变动的过程,不停地吸收新的刺激,再融入原本的风格。我很喜欢西方早期动植物学的版画,也喜欢波斯细密画,和日本早期的木刻版画。通常每隔一段时间会接触到新的喜欢的图像作品,我最近的新发现是百年前的法国插画家 George Barbier,觉得很喜欢。”

Now that she’s a full-time illustrator, Chen often finds that her professional and personal interests are hard to separate. Still, even with her busy life, she likes to take things slow in her free time. “I mostly like to read, watch films, go on easy hikes, stroll around the nearby alleyways of the old city, and spend time relaxing,” she says.

But aside from her passion for illustration, Chen is also an avid writer. Sometime-Else Practice is a side project she runs with graphic designer Chen Jibao. “It’s a way for us to freely practice creative forms we enjoy outside of our jobs,” she tells us. “We write about art, illustration, and photography in an expressive style – almost going overboard in talking about works we like.”

If you like Chen’s drawings, you can see a different side of her work by clicking here.


现在作为一位全职插画家,工作和兴趣时常分不开,但她总能在忙碌的生活中,享受平缓的前进步调。“平常我还喜欢看小说、看电影、爬一些难度低的山、步行在附近老街区的巷子里,度过一些轻松的时光。”

除了画画,陈狐狸也写字 —— 以后, 练习室 “sometime-else practice.” 是她和伙伴陈吉宝一起经营的计划。“这是一个在工作之外,让我们自由练习喜欢创作方式的地方。我们用比较抒情的文体去书写艺术、插画和摄影,有点自溺的去讨论我们喜欢的作品。” 如果你喜欢陈狐狸的画,也可点击此处,看看她另外一种创作形式。

Behance: ~/whoolichen
Instagram: @whooli.chen

 

Contributor: Yang Yixuan


Behance~/whoolichen
Instagram: @whooli.chen

 

供稿人: Yang Yixuan