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Thursday
Mar172011

Batter Chatter: Interview with Cupcake Artist Joyce Wan

I love reconnecting with friends from my past, especially when our new connection involves cupcakes. I had the pleasure of working with artist Joyce Wan when I was an art director at iPop years ago; these days, we maintain contact because of our shared love of cuteness and cupcakes (she just came out with an adorable new book, You Are My Cupcake !) Here's a sneak peek at what else this talented (and supercute) artist is up to these days:

CakeSpy: I have had the pleasure with working with you as an art director, but at that time your sweet art was mainly focused on cute animals. How did you make the jump to sweet anthropomorphic food?

Joyce Wan: Food has always been a major part of my life. My father owned a restaurant when I was growing up, my mother can cook a Chinese home-cooked meal like nobody’s business and my brother recently graduated from the French Culinary institute and is now working as a professional chef in New York City. As an artist, I am frequently inspired by memories from childhood and things that make me happy so naturally food has found it’s way into my art.

CS: How does food as a subject matter compare to other cute characters? Do you enjoy illustrating one more than the other?

JW: I love all my children equally. However, the only problem with drawing food is that it can make me very hungry in the process which is not quite helping me get bikini ready. An occupational hazard, I suppose!

CS: Can you tell us a little bit about your illustration medium/process?

JW: Most of my art is digital. I sketch the drawings on paper. Then I scan it into illustrator, trace and color.

CS: Your new book, You Are My Cupcake , focuses on sweet terms of endearment. Do you and your husband have any pet names for one another? Be honest.

JW: I’m “sweetie” and he’s “hun” - although sometimes I think he really wants to call me “devil’s food cake”.

CS: What is the last excellent sweet thing you ate (baked good, frozen treat, dessert, etc)?

JW: The strawberry cheesecake from Junior’s in New York City – simply sublime!

CS: Your other book, we belong together, brings up the question: what dessert flavor combo do you think belongs together?

JW: Warm, crumbly apple desserts with vanilla ice cream – one of my favorite combos!

CS: You live in the NYC area. What are some of your favorite bakeries?

JW: Levain Bakery, Two Little Red Hens, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Billy’s Bakery. (CakeSpy Note: Oddly, I think I visited most of these in the course of 24 hours once!)

CS: Tell me more about how your product line has developed--what are you selling, and where can we buy it?

JW: My style merges contemporary yet whimsical designs with Asian cultural influences and traditions. I started my business with greeting cards and now have expanded into other goodies such as infant apparel, tote bags, prints and pendants. One of my most popular products is my zodiac infant bodysuit packaged in a clear takeout box. I had my first children’s book published in 2009 called Greetings from Kiwi and Pear ;. My two new books You Are My Cupcake and We Belong Together; will be out later this summer. I’ve also just recently ventured into the digital world with the release of “Kiwi and Pear World Adventure” which is an iPod, iPhone, and iPad application for kids which is based off my first picture book. You can find my cards and gift products on my website at wanart.com and at various stores and boutiques across the country. In the Seattle area, Uwajimaya and the Seattle Art Museum gift shop carry a nice selection of my products. You can find my books on amazon.com. The app is available in the iTunes App store.

CS: As an artist, how do you stay inspired? (doesn't have to be dessert related)

JW: I try to keep things interesting by experimenting with new styles, mediums, and characters/subject matter. I always keep my eyes and my mind open and look at nature, people, and everything in between as possible sources of inspiration. I read or see what the trends are in other industries such as fashion, entertainment and technology. I visit galleries, festivals, and museums to see what others are creating and are inspired by. I also have an inspiration board that I keep on my wall in my studio where I pin up photographs, quotes, scraps of paper, fabric – anything I find that resonates with me. Also, I just love making people smile when they see my art – that in itself motivates me everyday.

CS: What is the next big thing you're excited about?

JW: Besides the new books (which can’t come out soon enough!) I’m excited about expanding my business this year through more strategic licensing partnerships and digital ventures. And, of course, I’m always excited about my next food adventure.

To see more of Joyce's work, visit wanart.com. To buy her books, visit Amazon.

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