Meet Angela An. Angela is an illustrator and designer living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Angela studied classical animation at Sheridan College, and is now a background artist and designer for DHX Media Animation Studio. She has participated in several Light Grey Art Lab exhibitions including In Place: Wish You Were Here, Station Zero, 6 Degrees, Great Personality, and the current Animystics Exhibition. We are always impressed by Angela's unqiue and colorful backgrounds, personality-driven characters, and design solutions. In this interview, you can get to know Angela and her practice, check out her piece for the Animystics Exhibition, and see some of her favorite pieces to date.
Tengu Wolf, the piece you made for the Animystics Exhibition is a different medium that you typically work in. Could you talk about your current studio practice, use of different mediums, and how you are challenging yourself right now?
I don't work in gouache for production work, but for special projects, it's the perfect opportunity to experiment and paint traditionally. In the past, I actually painted all of the backgrounds in my student film in gouach, and I have done a little bit of paper cut outs. For this project, I really wanted to include both techniques.
For this project, I made a full sketch and color blocked the sketch in photoshop, then transferred the image onto watercolor paper. I made light washes for the background and let it dry before I went in with another wash. Then, I painted the entire image with gouache.
Process of Tangu Wolf for the Animystics Exhibition
Animystics is all about the animal influences in our lives, our pets, and companions. Before this project, did you already have a spirit animal or creature that you identified with?
Dogs are amazing- I will probably never identify and know another animal like I do dogs. They are fascinating to me because they are one of the few animals that are as diverse in personality as they are in breed. They're ridiculously sensitive, able to pick up and understand feelings and body language better than we can listen to someone talking to us. They literally "turn on" whenever their human is around, and "shut down" when they're alone. They're very social and need their human family. At the end of the day, there's no feeling like the feeling of something furry and warm snuggle up next to you when you sleep.
Can you tell us about your pets and relationship to animals?
Hana (female Kai Ken) is not the first dog I've owned, but she's definitely the dog that taught and challenged me the most. She's the most shy and sweet girl ever, (and the inspiration of my piece) who has taught me the true meaning of patience. There were lots of tears, frustration (probably on both ends) and the frightened soiling on things, including the carpets, cars, leather bags, hands, and the list goes on. She's taught me to relax, not only with my actions but actually BE chill. She's hypersensitive to my feelings, and you can see how quickly and easily she is affected by my actions.
Yezo (male Hokkaido Inu) is my other dog. He's an evil genius. He has a plethora amount of plots and schemes and most definitely knows when he's doing something he's not supposed to, but he'll do it anyway because it's fun. He's hyper observant and learns at a extreme rate.
Made for Q Pop's Magical Girl Heroines: Sailor Moon and Sailor Senshi Show
It seems that most of your projects focus on character development and backgrounds. Can you tell us a little about your love for character or story? Where do your inspirations come from?
I think the story behind every character is most interesting to me. Miyazaki films are really inspiring, not just visually but thematically and in the way he tells stories. The characters do a lot of mundane, normal, everyday day things and I love that, making the stories relatable and real. He makes us believe that places like that really do exist.
Joan of Arc
Thanks Angela! You can check out Angela's work for the Animystics Exhibition on the Light Grey Shop here. You can view her work along with the 120+ other contributing artists. Proceeds from each piece will be donated to the Animal Humane Society, the Feline Rescue Inc., and Homeward Bound Dog Rescue. You can also view Angela's work on her tumblr here.