September 21, 2016

Based in Sydney, Nancy Liang creates animated images that show the urban environment and suburban landscapes of her hometown. We spoke to her about the city’s art scene and how she’s using digital media to make her illustrations more interactive.

UO: What is your background in illustration?

I am an illustrator based in Sydney and studied Design at the University of New South Wales. I have no formal training in illustration other than a foundation in drawing and painting (I attend extracurricular art classes). My illustrative practice came about after a year of personal research, experimentation and play!

UO: Your illustrations are heavily influenced by Sydney, where you’re based; what is your favourite thing about the city?

I really love the architecture of the city. It doesn’t seem to have a specific style, but rather a mish-mash of the old and new with hidden gems, like the incredible American Romanesque interiors of the 350 George.

UO: What is the art scene in Sydney like?

Sydney has a great, supportive art community who loves to socialise! There are always a large number of exhibitions and events going on where we get together to drink and draw. We work on a huge range of visual art styles and practices: from bold, colourful graphics, to delicate watercolours and public art installations.

UO: Describe your work in three words.

Whimsical, urban, nostalgic.

UO: What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve ever been given?

Differentiate or die

UO: What is your go-to playlist when you’re trying to be creative?

It changes all the time! I am currently listening to Takagi Masakatsu. His music is incredibly experimental and fantastical. His pieces ‘New Flat’ and ‘Primo’ from his album “Coeida” are an all time favourite.

UO: Your paper-work is very intricate! What has been the most difficult object to cut out?

Quite possibly the moth from ’The Forgotten Sydney’. Her movement is made up of about 9-10 frames, so it means I have to cut her out around 9-10 times as well!

UO: You also use aspects of animation; what made you move into more digital work?

I tend to think about my work in moving scenes. While I would love to create longer animations, they do take more time. So the GIF is the perfect medium to express my ideas and feelings without designating a long period of time to planning and animation.

UO: If you could choose one other illustrator to collaborate with, who would it be?

I always wondered what it’ll be like to collaborate with Australian illustrator Shaun Tan

UO: What projects are you excited about in the future?

There are two projects in the pipeline I’m really excited about: I’m collaborating with Plini, a very talented musician also from Sydney. I won’t say too much about it at this point, you’ll just have to wait a few months and see! Secondly, I am currently experimenting with Processing (a programming language) in my work to create interactive illustrations. I am interested in how code can be integrated into illustration to generate new discourse and experiences.

You can follow Nancy’s processes on Instagram @under_over_themoon and #overthemoonforcode