A Bison regular since 2014, Emily Chu likes to create clever and playful illustrations as prints and products. Her products include original paintings, prints, seasonal greeting cards, comics, t-shirts, and enamel pins to name a few. Catch her at the Bison both weekends, follow her on Instagram (@heyemilychu) and Twitter (@heyemilychu) to enjoy more of her work and read on to find out what inspires her!
Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Emily Chu: I look at art and creativity as just problem solving, and I love challenges and puzzles of all sorts. For me, creating clever and funny images is really enjoyable because I get to figure out how to best communicate a joke, or tell it in a new way. I am also an optimist, so I know that there is always a solution, which makes the brainstorming process even more exciting!
RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
EC: I am hoping to bring a whole new line of products to my markets this season! As for prints, I am hoping to cut down on my current inventory and bring in a new selection of paintings and risograph prints. With the success of my rose gold Mercat pin from the spring market, I am also very excited to launch 5 new enamel pins this holiday. On top of that, I am working on a number of potential new products: tote bags, new t-shirts, new Christmas cards, magnets, stickers, and maybe even some original painted nesting dolls!
RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
EC: I think the tone of my products are quite goofy and strange. Although I keep content lighthearted, I still take the illustration and design side very seriously. The humour is just like a little extra cherry on top. I figure that if my art can make people laugh (but still be nice enough to be hung on a wall), then the whole process from design to selling at markets is much more enjoyable for everyone.
RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
EC: I love Edmonton, and a lot of that is because of The Royal Bison and the local community of organizers, artists, and arts supporters. I came to Edmonton in 2011, and when I found this unique market in 2014, things finally began to fall into place. I've decided to call Edmonton my home because of its supportive and kind arts community.
RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
EC: Ooof, where do I start? I'm still trying to find my own voice, so lately I have been quite inspired by many Asian illustrators such as Doris Liou, Rachel Wada, and Joohee Yoon. I love how they are able to take aesthetics as well as nostalgia from their cultures/childhood, which is something that I aspire to do in my future personal work. I also love the work of American illustrator Carson Ellis and Mexican tattoo artist Luxiano.
RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
EC: Family-wise, not really. We only mildly celebrate Christmas. But personally, I like to go on a super long walk with my dog on Christmas Day. He also gets a real meal ;)