Meet Camille Chew, a freelance illustrator known for her fun color palettes, amazing masks, and the use of fantasy and occult themes.. Camille is from Ithaca, NY, and is a graduate of Alfred University where she studied Art and Design, with a concentration in Printmaking. She has also recently begun a fellowship at The Ink Shop, a printmaking studio and artist collective located in Ithaca, NY.
It's always amazing to see what Camille is going to come up with next! We have had the pleasure of working with Camille on several projects including the Skate or Die Exhibition, COSMOS Tarot & Oracle Deck, BOWER BIRD, and Omnibus Treasury among others. We are pleased to be able to share some of her work and process in this artist interview below- you can read about her workspace, inspirations, and artistic practice. You can also find all of Camille's work on her website, blog, and instagram (@camillechew).
Your work is such a treat to look at! Where do you find most of your artistic inspiration? What about inspirations outside of art?
I am often inspired by mythology, fantasy, the occult, and of course the many artists I follow online. Outside of art, I like to look at interior design and fashion for color and pattern inspiration as well as ideas for my characters' outfits.
A lot of your work involves mystical and fantasy elements. What are some of your favorite kinds of myths or stories that inspire your art?
Growing up, I always had an interest in fairytales, fantasy, and mythology. As I've worked on building a personal fantasy world and mythology within my artwork I've specifically looked at Greek, Hindu, and Pre-Columbian mythologies.
What’s your workspace like? What kind of environments do your find yourself to be most productive?
There's a studio in the back of our house with a loft that I've taken over as my workspace. I have a big desk that can usually be found covered with the remnants of previous projects, and a skylight right above me. Any well-lit, secluded room where I can sing along to some music while I work is the best environment for me to be productive.
What kind of materials do you enjoy working with?
Recently the majority of my work has been digital; illustrations drawn entirely in Photoshop. But I also enjoy traditional printmaking (which I'm excited to dive back into during my fellowship!), jewelry design, and paper crafts.
Can you tell us a bit about your process? You seem to really enjoy using pattern and decoration. How do you like to incorporate these things into your work?
Whatever I'm making, I always start by deciding on a color palette. For digital illustration, I usually don't do much sketching, maybe just a quick stick figure to map out a character's pose. All the basic shapes are blocked in and then comes the fun part- drawing in all the patterns and details. I keep a library of textures and patterns that I'm always adding to. It's full of digitally made patterns, scanned in watercolor washes and hand-drawn patterns, as well as brushes that can be used like stamps.
You’re involved in the upcoming COSMOS exhibition. Are you excited about the piece that you made for the show?
Absolutely! I completed an illustrated series of modern day witches earlier this year, one of whom was a tarot card reader, which got me interested in learning more about the subject. So when I saw LGAL was putting together a show with a tarot and oracle deck I was excited to participate. I got to illustrate the Phoenix constellation and it was fun to learn more about the mythology and try to incorporate all the symbolism into my piece.
Do you have a favorite piece of work or project that you have worked on?
A favorite project that I'm still really proud of is a series of large-scale, paper masks that were part of my senior show in college.They're constructed out of digital prints and embellished with mono-prints, paper, paint, ribbon, glitter, etc. Each one depicts a deity of my own creation, based on archetypes found in different mythologies.
Are there any current or upcoming projects you’re working on? Do you have a dream project that you’d like to work on?
Currently I am working on an astrology series illustrating each of the signs as stylish young women. I'm also planning several series I'd like to work on during my fellowship at The Ink Shop which will end with a solo show next year. A dream project of mine would be to illustrate my own tarot deck, hopefully I'll get to that soon!
Any other thoughts or advice?
Just a thank you to LGAL for always coming up with such fun and creative ideas for shows!
Thanks again, Camille!
*And just for fun- here is a preview at Camille's process: