Emily Chu: Playful & Clever Prints & Cards

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!

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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?
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?
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.

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RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
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!
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?
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 ;)

Visit Emily Chu’s website to check out more of her work that she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: heyemilychu.com

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Emily Chu Illustration & Design is a staple-hold at Royal Bison and this year she's pulling from her mildly rebellious youth (her words not ours hahaha) with some gangster rap/dr.dre/outkast rap lyrics AND WE ARE SO EFFING EXCITED!! Emily first joined us in the spring of 2014 under the pseudonym HYMN Graphic Novels and joined us again for the holiday 2014 fair under the now familiar Emily Chu Illustration & Design. We are so thrilled to have her again for both weekends of the fair and cripes almighty are we excited to see her new mildly gangster work!! Check out Emily's online presence on instagram / twitter and read on down below to see how thoughtfully she responded to our Q&A:


Q: What does it mean to be an Edmonton maker/designer/artist?
EC: It means a lot of hard work and passion. But it also means that I have the priveledge to share my work with such a supportive and encouraging community.

Q: What are your top 3 influences (artists, things, etc)?
EC: It's cliche, but I do get most of my ideas from my travels. I try to stay off the internet as much as possible to come up with concepts that are more personal and authentic. I love going to modern art and design museums – A year ago, I randomly stumbled across a Keith Haring exhibit in Berlin, which was incredible!!! I also love capturing interesting patterns, shapes, colour combinations.

Q: Favourite Bison item you’ve picked up at a previous fair?
EC: Ah! So many. How do I pick one? Well, one of my most meaningful purchases from a bison vendor this year is my wedding jewelry set, custom made by Les Arts Plastiques. Alicia and I started vending around the same time and got to know each other well (I can also say this about many other bison vendors). This summer, she created my wedding bands, earrings, and a custom belt. I also have a selection of sick prints, collected over the years from Bison vendors.

And head on over to her site www.heyemilychu.com to see her full collection of illustration work. It's really very good!!