Kitty Unicorn is a Taiwanese street and caricature artist that is currently completing an artist residency in Taichung. Her creations are drawn on different types of materials; from paper to fabric, wood, plastic, glass or even on her iPad. She is not merely a cartoonist, she's an artist with a unique style and eye for detail. She is interested in understanding people’s souls and then draws from that interaction. She doesn’t just simply sketch how people look, but enjoys having conversations and playing psychological games to then customise and create special caricatures using different styles and materials.
We asked Kitty Unicorn about her work...
Where does the name Kitty Unicorn come from?
There are lots of different sides to my personality, the most privet version of me is like a cat; a bit grumpy, sometimes weird or crazy and I love cuddles. To me a cat can represent a woman, although I often resist my feminine side, I am beginning to accept that soft part of me now. Then I mixed these characteristics with my dream creature; a unicorn. I would like to be unique, so that is how Kitty Unicorn was born.
When did you know that you wanted to become an artist?
I grew up living in my mother’s art studio so I learnt how to draw as child and have always been very fond of painting. But the label of artist still feels like an honourable title to me, becoming an artist still feels far away and I am continuously figuring out what is the true meaning of art for me. But l do know one thing, art is the only tool I can use to heal and set myself free, it allows me to face my dark side. As long as I can feel my soul inside my creation, I will keep on doing it until I die.
Your personal artwork is often quite dark, where do these ideas and inspirations come from?
Drawing dark art work relieves my stress, everyone has different methods to make themselves feel better, and for me drawing releases my emotions.
I used to hate my dark side because of my family and my religion, I was depressed for a long time. But now I know my own faith is more important to me than religion, I need to be brave to explore what really is on my mind. All the good and bad make me become who I am, imperfect me is the perfect me.
Your personal and commercial artwork is very different, what would you say the distinction is between the two of them? How do you work between and separate these two different forms?
Creating my own personal art is deeper, it’s more of a long journey to find out who I am, to understand myself and express my feelings with different materials to let people know what I’m trying to say.
But design and my commercial work is more of a challenge, it can be difficult to keep my personality and fulfil the customer’s request at the same time. But I try force myself to blend my voice into every piece of work that I make, I do not want to forget and lose who I am. It is essential to understand other people’s needs but also important to keep my style present. I like to think of it as giving the client a gift, using my own way to express their topic, and hopefully make them happily surprised with the outcome.
How important do you think it is to still keep creating your own personal work? How do you ensure you have time to work on this?
I think it is important to continue creating. Art is who I am. Each piece of work I produce represents my experience, my emotions, and my soul; they show different periods of my life, like a small documentary it lets me review my work, allows me to improve and to become a better person.
If you are passionate about something you will keep on doing it. If you have lots of excuses to avoid what you are doing, maybe its time to re-examine the true interest of yourself.
You have been teaching children art for a while now, what do you think is important to educate youth about art?
Educating through art can be used differently dependant what age they pupils are. With the younger children, I teach them to allow them to feel happy and free to let them do any kind of creation they want. I let them use their hands and colours, it’s okay for them be a bit crazy, it helps them express their imagination. I try to let them create anything on any material, I don’t want them to be afraid of doing it wrong, I just want them to appreciate their work.
The older the children grow, I then teach them many different skills, they learn more about painting techniques and tools. But I still want them to return to their heart, to use their imagination just like the young children do to create, combine this with the focused techniques they have learnt I think they then have the ability to explode and create really amazing work, it is the best way to make a miracle.