Meet the Artist: Hsaio-Chi Chang

By Sherri Machlin, Adult Librarian
January 7, 2015
Mulberry Street Library

On view at the Mulberry Street Library on the Children's Floor are the whimsical illustrations of artist Hsaio-Chi Chang. Her work references known classics such as The Little Prince as well as her own vivid imaginarium of characters inspired by animals and dreams. I spoke with the artist recently about her work. 

Your work seems very inspired by children's books—are there any books in particular that have a special meaning for you? 

I love stories and get inspired by them a lot. The books and stories that I love usually communicate a big idea in a very simple way. One of the books that I enjoyed the most when I was a kid is The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. Both the illustrations and concept are very simple, but it tells of a situation that we may all encounter in life, whether we are children or adults. Another book that inspired me a lot is The Little Prince. The first time I read it I was 12 years old. I have read it many times since then and each time I find new and different ideas.

Who are some of your favorite artists and illustrators?

Paul Klee, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Nelleke Verhoeff, Tetsuhiro Wakabayashi and more.

You have a series of "Little Animals" illustrations—what motivated this series? 

This series was a project for a toddler’s game app. It was a matching card game for toddlers. While I was doing this project, I tried to illustrate all the animals in a cute and symbolic way while expressing my own style in the individual animal characters.

What kind of message do you hope your artwork communicates to children and to adults? 

I always have a strong desire to express my emotions through stories, shapes, composition, and all the elements of art. I also try my best to see things in a simple and sincere way, as I did as a child. In other words, I am trying to remind adults of how simple things can be if we stop being “adults” for a while.

What are your feelings about your artwork being shown in a public library? 

It is a great pleasure to have a show in a public library the second time. As an artist, I am very happy to see people have the opportunity to enjoy art everywhere in the city, outside of galleries. I find that I always need a rest after doing a lot of reading. And for me, enjoying works of art is a great way to take a break from words. I really appreciate having this opportunity to share what I love to do with people in the community.

What books are you reading right now?

The Little Prince, A Wrinkle in Time, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte’s Web, Where the Sidewalk Ends and more.