Andrea Wan’s Imaginative Illustrations Provide Social Commentary

by Elizabeth MaskaskyPosted on

Born in Hong Kong, raised in Vancouver, educated in Denmark, and currently residing in Berlin – Andrea Wan is an artist with a diverse and culturally rich background to draw upon. Inspired by her relationships with the various people and places she has encountered throughout her journeys, Wan’s illustrations and ink paintings seek to communicate narratives that seem influenced by folktales and children’s stories. Indeed, the surrealistic and whimsical scenes that Wan creates could be illustrations straight out of a trippy children’s book, à la Dr. Seuss, Lewis Carroll or Shel Siverstein.

In her most recent “Exploding Heads” series, miniature versions of extinct animals emerge unscathed from hollow human heads that look as though they were made of shattered porcelain. These human subjects ironically appear to be wearing clothing that alludes to the possible cause of their respective animal species’ demise. Meanwhile, the illustrations in Wan’s “Fakelore” series juxtapose wild jungle and desert animals with familiar technologies. In these drawings, Wan creates bizarre storybook-like scenes that pair 21st-century products with exotic creatures. While remaining ensconced in a playful aesthetic, these works also allude to the more sinister corporate and technological forces that pervade every aspect of modern life. Ultimately, a common thread that runs throughout Wan’s entire output is her ability to create compelling scenes that inspire a feeling of vague familiarity, while still remaining strange and elusive.

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