Musings: Interview With Andy Westface

Andy Westface draws upon the indefatigable spirit of friendship, to explore the depth of emotional connections. Through his insights into nature, Andy portrays a universal yearning for companionship, the fulfillment of which infuses life with colour and vivacity. He paints a picture of hope for the eternal and ethereal.

In a chat with us, Andy reminisces his childhood and the inspiration he draws from his experiences with everything around him.


INTERVIEW

Hello Andy, it’s a pleasure to have this conversation with you, tell us more about yourself.

Hello, I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I really think it’s one of the coolest cities. It’s the city that never sleeps. Here are so many skyscrapers, this puts the city at the top of world rankings. Hong Kong is a fast moving city which depends on foreign investments and tourism. It’s the heaven of shopping for the locals and tourists here. And it’s very safe walking on the streets of Hong Kong in the day or night as Hong Kong city is well-known for the lowest crime rates in Asia.

I liked drawing, football, swimming and being outside when I was a child. And I love animals, so I love to stay in a zoo always. I was allowed a considerable amount of freedom. I am now a freelance graphic designer and illustrator based in Hong Kong.

How did you realize that art was your calling?

I started to draw when I was a child and I loved sketching on my school books all the time. Since my high school graduation, based on some personal reasons, I have tried few type of jobs not concerned with art or design, but I feel it does not suit for me, in my heart I was tempted to try to create something different. Therefore I chose go back to the school and majored in graphic design. Afterwards I was the art director of a local graphic design company for two years. And now I like to be a freelancer since I can be ” The boss of myself “, and I truly love to be an illustrator so much.

Best Friend by Andy Westface | Cupick
Best Friend by Andy Westface | Cupick

Does your artwork reflect any cultural traits? Do your surroundings inspire your work?

My works are mostly a reflection of dreams, childhood, liveliness and personality.

And I’ve always wondered if there will be a day that the animals can communicate with humans and be our friends. It will make our world become such a real fairyland. I love fairytale stories because they are so wonderful and hopeful. It is the message that I want to share. I always want to create a world that is full of positive power. In that world, humans and animals can have their own personality and they can pursue their own dreams. Just like the fox in my artwork ” Rainbow Fox ” who wants to be different from the others, the elephant in ” Fly High And Dream Big ” who wants to fly, and the crocodile in ” Croco Rock ” he loves rock-and-roll as his lifestyle. They are also the dreams of many people. When I put humans and animals together in my artworks, the animals always represent a kind of feeling or the theme of my artworks. I love to use the universe to create the animals because it makes the feeling and the theme of artworks not limited by time. Sometimes, it can be a memory from my childhood. The Orangutan in ” Papa ” represents memories of my father.

In fact, I like to observe and find points of inspiration so everything can become the themes of my artworks. This inspiration can come from a movie. It can come from the daily news. It can come from conversations between my friends and colleagues. It can come from the view out the window from a restaurant or in a car. When I get something, a moment of inspiration, I jot down in my sketch book instantly.

Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from the moment you form your idea to the moment you complete it?

It’s hard to say, I think it’s depends on the condition. If I have a very clear idea and image in my mind, I usually can complete the works in few hours or a day. But if not, these kind of pieces can take me a week or month.


MY WORKS ARE MOSTLY A REFLECTION OF DREAMS, CHILDHOOD, LIVELINESS AND PERSONALITY.


Who are your top three favorite artists that you take inspiration from?

I love artworks of Joan Cornellà in Spain, Blanca Gómez in Spain and Yoshitomo Nara in Japan. Their works were inspired me very much.

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Papa by Andy Westface | Cupick
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Give Me a Hug by Andy Westface | Cupick

We’d like to know more about the art scene in Hong Kong. How do you see yourself in it?

It’s a real struggle for people to become artists in Hong Kong. I really feel people here do not pay attention to or nor spend time on art, they only love money. Compared with other major cities, it’s easy to imagine Hong Kong as something of a cultural desert, with its creative soul smothered in dunes of cold, hard cash. For most people here art is more a little hobby than a career, therefore freelancer designer or illustrator like me was not mainstream. Artists feel helpless always under the Hong Kong Government’s policy.

We believe that art acts as a singular platform which every person can relate to, do you agree? Or do you think language can sometimes act as a barrier?

Yes, I agree with this. I think art just like music has no boundaries, which every person can relate to. So I can say my words and share my stories in my illustrations.

Are you working on any project at the moment? We are curious to know what’s been up your sleeve.

I’m not working on any projects at this moment. After my vacation, I’m currently work on some personal project. It’s a series of illustration about the Contradiction between reality and ideal.

How do you manage to divide time between personal projects and commercial work?

Specifically, I will deal with commercial projects as a priority, and then the personal projects. But in my experience, some of my commercial projects have happened from my personal projects. Anyway I’m still learning to get a better balance between these.

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Curiosity by Andy Westface | Cupick

How do you tackle problems or constraints you face while working with clients?

I think listening is the most important part. I will listen carefully to the needs of customers, and try to thinking in their position.

Procrastination-what is your relationship with it?

I don’t think I have a procrastination problem. If I do feel like I am not in a good creative condition, I will find some old idea which keep on my sketchbook and just complete it first, Because I have a habit, when any ideas come out, I will keep it down on my sketchbook immediately.

What do you think about India and the artists here? If you had the chance to visit this country, where would you want to go first?

I love that Indian art includes a lot of religious elements, like the Hindu Gods and Goddesses symbols or pattern. I think religion has been an important part of Indian life and most art, including literature have religious elements to them. If I had the chance to visit India, I think I will visit the capital ” New Delhi ” first.

What does success mean to you?

Success to me means someday, my works can push someone to chase their dreams. I always want to create a world that is full of positive power. In that world, humans and animals can have their own personality and they can pursue their own dreams.

How important is music in recreating visions off your mind?

Music really inspires me a lot, I love to listen pop music when I was drawing.

According to you, what is your greatest work so far?

I can certainly share my favourite.
“Promise” – The black bear in “Promise” represents our promises to ourselves and the question: “When the time passes, do we still keep our promises?

Promise by Andy Westface | Cupick
Promise by Andy Westface | Cupick

“Gray” is inspired from a feeling of ‘right or wrong’. When I was young, I thought the line between ‘good or bad’ ” and ‘white or black’ was clear. For example, it is wrong to tell a lie. The ferocious animals like wolves and crocodiles are evil things. However, I found that there was no clear-cut between ‘right and wrong’ when I was growing up. There is always a big ‘Gray’ area between ‘white and black’. I kept thinking of this concept over the years, and one day, I forget the exact time and place, I remembered that a white bear came into my mind slowly and then a black bear appeared. At that moment, I knew that they would be the most suitable characters of ‘ Gray’, and my idea crystallized.

Gray by Andy Westface | Cupick
Gray by Andy Westface | Cupick

SUCCESS TO ME MEANS SOMEDAY, MY WORKS CAN PUSH SOMEONE TO CHASE THEIR DREAMS.


If you could wish for one, and only one superpower, what superpower would you chose?

Time Travel.

If you could give one piece of advice to budding artists, what would that be?

I’m a budding artist myself, but I think learning how to build up your own style is the most difficult thing to work out when becoming a great illustrator. No one can tell you a shortcut to find the way, trying and practicing should be the key to opening the door of success. And I am still trying my best to establish my own style now. And I would say the following to other artist: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. You should start your illustration career as early as possible and no matter what the results are, just do what you really want.

How has the journey been with Cupick thus far?

I’m so glad I can be a part of Cupick. It’s really been a great experience and can’t wait for many more to come.

Visit Andy on Cupick to discover more of his work.

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