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Art & Life with Po Yan Leung

Today we’d like to introduce you to Po Yan Leung.

Po Yan, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Growing up near the rural part of Hong Kong, I spent most of my childhood roaming the tropical wetlands and observing animals that shaped my love for the outdoors. I was raised by my parents as a “Free-Range Child” which is the philosophy that children should experience as many things as possible with limited parental supervision, and learn to problem solve independently at a young age. For that reason, I often went exploring on my own and followed my imagination. Crawling through fences, climbing trees, jumping into puddles, and more – everything was a new, magical adventure. I always imagined myself as the protagonist of fantastical stories, full of excitement, mystery, and even a little danger. These colorful childhood memories are the power source of my creativity. By tapping into that wonder and fun I had on my childhood adventures, I want the characters in my creations to invite us on their delightful quests into the fantastic unknown.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I experiment with multiple mediums: from painting, collage, to embroidery, depending on the what works best for the specific piece. But I’ve recently been captivated by an embroidery technique called punch needle. This is a method of looping threads on stretched fabric to produce shapes and areas of color, similar to making rugs or tapestries but on a smaller scale. To me, punch needle is like meditation — it slows me down in this hectic and fast-paced world. Truth be told, it is one of few things I can actually sit down and do for hours at a time. I’m constantly figuring out new ways to use this technique to convey my story-based illustration, but this is a challenge that inspires and excites me.

Whether the medium that I work with has a tactile element like with punch needle or is purely visual like in painting and collages, I always aim to create pieces that engage people to look out for small details and clues. The stories in my work reveal themselves when viewed up close or felt by hand. My artworks are often brightly colored and lighthearted, with a dash of whimsy to spark the bright imagination we all have within. They are little reminders to have fun, recall the joyful feelings and memories we had as kids, and bring that magic into our adulthood.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
Now that we live in the digital age, opportunities are clicks away. It has never been easier to get your work across the world with the use of the internet and all the social platforms available at our fingertips. But at the same time, as more people have access to the internet, it’s also difficult to stand out amongst the millions and millions of amazing creators out there. All career paths (including that of an artist) are like roads, there is no one way to do something, and I believe this is the age where we need the mindset of work hard but work smarter as well. As our community is no longer restricted locally, we need to be flexible and adaptable in order to keep up with this rapidly changing, more globalized world.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work will be available for purchase at conventions and local craft fairs such as DesignerCon and Jackalope Pasadena. All convention plans, gallery shows, and online shop announcements will be posted on my Instagram account (@postthepo). My website portfolio is also available at poyanleung.com. I’m always open for art collaborations, commissions or even a friendly chat through Instagram, email, or by meeting in person at a convention.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Monica Kim

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