I think there are two reasons why I love Zarina Liew's artwork. I believe it combines two very beautiful types of art; Manga and Fashion Illustration, both of which are very dear to me.
There's an innocent, playful side to Liew's pieces, with the characters, their expressions and poses, which look as if they were born from Liew's own fantastical, anime world. At the same time, there's a very feminine, elegantly-fashionable, mature side, with delicate blowings of watercolours and Parisien-style pencilling, leaving just the right amount of detail in every piece.
Zarina was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.
B: What is your inspiration for your work?
Z: "Anything and everything really – mainly fashion though because I follow the main trends/catwalk shows and fashion blogs too. But I could be inspired to paint a beautiful outfit that I need to “draw out of my system” or by an event or moment that I want to illustrate. I believe it’s healthy to seek out inspiration, in order to bring out inspiration in your own work!"
B: When and where did you start making art?
Z: "I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember, but I never went through the “art route” at all, in fact, I studied Psychology at university! I only started drawing seriously about 5 years ago. It’s a continual development; I think you always have to keep practicing, trying out new things..."
B: What is your favourite aspect about making your art?
Z: "The freedom to draw whatever I want! Ha! And being able to create something interactive – I always get feedback about my work and that is really exciting – knowing that I’m putting my work out there, and someone loves it, I feel like I’m creating for other people’s visual pleasure in a positive way. That’s really fun."
B: Can you also please explain what Cobalt Cafe is?
Z: "Cobalt Cafe is really a visual hub of all the creative things I do – fashion illustration, self publishing, art workshops, traditional art. It’s a pipe dream that will eventually become a physical space – a place for me to showcase art, hold workshops and open up a little cafe perhaps. I’d love to be able to create a creative and relaxing place of interest, I guess, watch this space?"
I didn't hesitate to purchase a number of Liew's prints at the recent London Super Comic Convention (which I politely asked her to sign and she happily and humbly agreed to do for me). The idea of framing them and hanging them around the house fills me with joy.
Thank you again, it was a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to more of your work!