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Six of the Best, Part 31

Continuing the series in which I pose the same six questions to artists of different hue and strip. Today's interviewee is Lynn Tsan. a Chicago artist who has a distinctive way with grids, shapes, and colours. You can see more of her work here.

"Alphabet 5"

Philip Hartigan: What medium/media do you chiefly use, and why?

Lynn Tsan: For the past several years I have been creating digital drawings – hand drawn with a mouse using Adobe Illustrator. I create a graphical square then put another next to it and so on and so forth until the piece is finished. I call them “graphical collages.” I began creating these drawings because I was flat broke and had a computer but not enough money for art supplies. In fact, the first drawing was an attempt to create a black and white business card (color was too expensive to print) that was compelling and beautiful. Forty-five quarter-inch pictures later I had my business card. Sometime later, on a night I couldn’t sleep, I colored the piece and separated it into two. I added those two 25 square, 20” pieces to a series of pastel drawings and sold them both the day before my first gallery show. They are fun to make, exacting, problematic and puzzle-like. So began a of a very long running series of work.

Philip Hartigan: What piece are you currently working on?

Lynn Tsan: I’ve just finished a fifth alphabet. I’m going for six because although I like the alphabet series as 2D prints, I like them as alphabet blocks as well. Six alphabets mean I can create cool combinations of six letter words and switch the letters at will. Also, a new large black and white techno piece – acrylic and light?

Philip Hartigan: What creative surprises are happening in the current work?

Lynn Tsan: There’s a next generation in the works. The drawings are taking new form - laser-cut acrylic, steel and light; maybe some other media. Also...Furniture! The first art cabinet was a success. Wallpaper and ceiling art are in the works. Lots of experimentation right now.

Philip Hartigan: What other artistic medium (or non-artistic activity) feeds your creative process?

Lynn Tsan: I’m also a writer who should be writing more. Sometimes I think the art is giving me too good of a reason to not be writing. Dancing and singing at the top of my lungs always loosens me up when my body starts to resemble the shape of a hunchbacked 100-year-old, nearsighted computer hacker.

"Circle Cabinet"

Philip Hartigan: What's the first ever piece of art you remember making?

Lynn Tsan: Not sure. I do remember soaking a piece of paper, smushing around watercolors and watching them bleed, then taking a black pen to the picture when it dried and drawing all the trees I saw in the colors. I was about seven.

Philip Hartigan: Finally, and you can answer this in any way that's meaningful to you: why are you an artist?

Lynn Tsan: I’m an artist because I don’t know how to be anything else. I don’t play well with others. I think out loud and regale people with stories that I think explain a concept beautifully when the poor souls are just trying their damnedest to partake in polite conversation. I care more about the intricate act of solving a aesthetic or conceptual problem than I do about learning how do to something that someone else tells me to do the way they tell me to do it. I’m not very good at following a routine, or directions, for that matter. Creating anything is the act of communicating an idea, fashioning a thing of beauty, solving a problem, explaining a concept. It’s what I do to make sense of the world.

If you liked this interview, and you'd like to keep up to date with the series, why not Subscribe, or sign-up via Google Connect, using one of the options over on the right? Thanks, and keep creating.


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