THE ARTIST SERIES is a new capsule collection that celebrates original artworks and their creators. For our very first edition we're excited to feature four of Chan's original paintings on a limited edition collection of cashmere and 100% silk scarves. A longtime painter, her large scale canvases depict flowers and natural forms that border on abstraction.
We sat down with Chan in her Los Angeles studio to talk about the role of painting in her life and the creative process.
Tell us how you began creating art …
I grew up in a small beach town in Vietnam during the war. It wasn’t easy to travel around the country or abroad so my exposure to art was mainly through crafts that the local village people made — baskets, pottery, things like that. When I started French high school I studied European history and literature. I remember coming across a book on Monet’s life and works from the library and instantly falling in love with his paintings of water lilies. Vietnam is full of beautiful water lilies everywhere … Monet opened up a whole new world to me and inspired me to be an artist ever since.
Colors, shape and texture, have always effected me emotionally. Even as a kid I was always making little sculptures and things with my hands.
Like designing, making art was not really a conscious decision — I like to dive right in!
Can you tell us about your flower paintings? What draws you to florals?
I love painting flowers, I find they are incredibly complex and very sensual. Even the petals of a flower feel like skin ...It’s like painting a woman’s figure!
“Nature definitely is my biggest source of inspiration.”
I know you like to play the piano. Do you listen to music when you paint?
Can you take us through your creative process? How do you come up with ideas / themes / concepts and translate them until physical works?
Nature definitely is my biggest source of inspiration and always has been. I need to feel very connected to my subject matter and what nature offers are strong, complex emotions that are always changing, never still.
When I come up with the idea of what to paint, I like to do a series of paintings over and over from the same theme. From these studies I slowly discover how to create the composition, the palette, how colors mesh with each other in harmony or in sharp contrast. It takes a lot of time and patience. I make a lot of bad paintings before I come up with a good one!
Painting is a very humbling experience , it forces you to be honest with yourself yet it’s utterly rewarding. For me painting is a soul nurturing experience , it’s the best way to spend time alone and where I can reflect on my true self.