Andy Westface is an illustrator from the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong. His young-spirited artwork is a reflection of his childlike soul and yearning to live a fairytale life. We sat down with him over a soda and had a chat about his favourite animal, his path to becoming an artist and the positive message he would like to carry into the world with his artwork.
What’s your favourite drink at Happy Hour?
I’m always up for non-alcoholic drinks. In general, a cold glass of Coke or Sprite with a slice of lemon is my favourite. You live in Hong Kong where everything is bigger, better, newer...
What do you like most about this metropolis? What could you do without?
I was born and raised here. I love Hong Kong’s fantastic mix of cultures from the East and the West. I like the convenience the city has to offer; you don’t have to drive, you can go any place you want via the public transportation system, or even on foot. And I also think Hong Kong is the safest city in the world. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what time of day or night it is, I feel supremely confident and secure. Best Hong Kong snacks: Gai Dan Zhai Egg Waffles, Bo Lo Bao, Shrimp Wanton Noodle...I just love them!
You discovered drawing in childhood. What did your path to becoming an artist look like?
I started drawing when I was a child, and I used to love sketching in my school books. After graduating from high school, I tried range of different jobs, which weren’t related to art or design. But I didn’t feel anything suited me. In my heart, I was tempted to try to create something different, so I went back to school and majored in graphic design. I was a graphic designer for six years and an art director for two, in a local graphic design studio. Then I wanted to be a freelance illustrator so I could ‘be my own boss’. I truly love being a freelancer.
Your artwork carries an air of childlike innocence. What are you inspired by?
My works are mostly a reflection of my dreams, childhood and lively personality. I always thought that as grown-ups, we lose our childlike spirit and dreams. And that makes me sad. I didn’t want to be like that, so I found a way to maintain the two with the help of my creations.
My childhood memories, experiences and interactions always inspire me to create. I’m a sensitive person and an observer. My inspiration can come from the daily news, conversations with people, or just something I see outside of a window of a restaurant or bus. I always present the positive side of things. I think you can sense this from my colourful work.
A message that I want to share with my work: I always want to create a world that is full of hope and positivity, just like the perfect world in fairy tales. In this world, everyone can have their own personality, they can pursue their own dreams and they never give up.
Animals are frequent subjects in your artwork. What is your favourite animal and why?
It’s hard to pick... I would say sloth. I love their personality so much; they are a bit stupid and super slow, but they are happy beings. Life can be hard sometimes, and the sloth always reminds me to ‘keep calm and live slow’ in my own life.
Who or what has had a strong influence on you as an artist?
I think my desire to create has had the strongest influence on me. I have so many messages and emotions I want to share with my work. I really like the Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara and I’m greatly inspired by his works because they are also full of childlike innocence.
What do you do when you’re not busy creating?
I like watching movies at the cinema. I love the feeling of having a moment away from the real world. Moreover, I like having gatherings with my family and friends; family time has always been important to me. Sometimes I also just stay home with my cat and enjoy the view out of the window.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Time travel! Who doesn't want to go into their past and make their wishes come true? If I could travel back in time, I would visit relatives that have passed away and spend more time with them. I would celebrate the good and learn from the bad. And if I revisited times that were difficult, I would whisper to myself that everything will be OK.
Shapes or colours?