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?
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?