EightSix has admired the work of young illustrator Veiray Zhang for a couple of years now, and his recent typography shows his many talents. He has previously been featured both here and here. We caught up with Shanghai based Veiray to speak to him about his inspiration and his work.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself? Where you are from, where you grew up etc?
I was born in Shanghai and I lived there for 29 years. But the changes were too fast, which made it difficult to fully adapt. I liked the 1980’s and 1990’s in Shanghai, when it was referred to as “Old Shanghai” – a rich cultural era. I grew up in an old lane house, and now most of my creations are inspired by this time and place.
Where are you working right now?
I am working in the advertising industry and have done for nine years now. Currently I am Digital Art Director at an interactive design company.
Where did you study at University – a lot of Chinese designers often go overseas to learn design. What do you think about this?
I finished college in Shanghai. A good artistic environment is very important, but I do not think that just a few years of study time overseas will integrate you into the international arts and culture scene – you will learn the asthetics but not the essence. China also has unique art and culture – examples such as the color of old comic book covers, old posters of Chinese fonts, old product packaging etc. These are an excellent art education in themselves and are waiting for us to revive artistic elements from these.
People typically say that Chinese education from a young age does not allow you to be creative – is this true? How are you creative?
We learn the most from outside influences, which we have a lot of when growing up. But it takes courage to create, to create an adventure, a performance, because all changes are unknown as you get older.
Who inspires you?
My memories, my family and my life encourage and support me.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years time?
In the future, my children will give me my creative energy. I never thought I would have any major achievements in the arts, therefore there is no particular plan. I will keep creating my own ideas of childhood through my work for everyone to share and enjoy.