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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Talent Spotlight: Jen Wang

Don't you hate it when you cant remember some of the people you've known or met? Imagine how harder it is for people you haven't even met or interacted with. When all you have is just a name. I mean yeah, it's easy to remember celebrities like actors, actresses, singers etc.; but that's only because you have a face attached to the memory and the media for one time or another has probably bombarded your consciousness with their existence.

Artists like painters, illustrators, sculptors and writers gets the short end of the stick in that regard. Especially if you're not a historical figure (yet?) or even someone on the top the so-called niche of whatever it is you decided to break in to. Of course today the internet changed all that, literally everybody can now be a celebrity to at least 3 people if we wanted to. So what does Jen Wang have all to do with that very long rambling of an introduction and who is she really? The honest answer is I really don't know. Well I used to, then completely forgot about her and whatever works of her I encountered, and then now I sort of remember. Try reading this first two paragraphs aloud and you'd probably think I'm some kind of airhead. Trust me, I could have edited this all out, but I do feel this fits this particular entry and of the message I'm actually trying to convey. So please bear with me some more.

The funniest thing in all of this is, had I just changed perspective and if someone had asked me if I knew what Strings of Fate was, I could probably give you an answer or at the least a bit of inkling within seconds. It's an online comic that I liked and used to follow years ago. Part of my problem of being a pack rat in real life is that it also transitioned into me being a bookmark junkie. I almost certainly will bookmark any webpage that manages to get my interest. And this has been the case with my knowledge of Jen Wang. It was her work, that particular one that made an impression on me. With the online comic now gone and the domain name used by a cyber squatter, it could have been virtually impossible for me to know who she was. Good thing she wasn't a one trick pony and I have managed to found who created Strings of fate with the help of Google. One amazing thing I have noticed, she has improved a lot from what I remember of her sketchy online comic to her being an actual high caliber professional artist. She has now been a 2 time contributor for the first two volumes of the highly successful Flight anthology series as well as the You Ain't No Dancer black and white anthology.

Her art has often been praised as an amalgamation of manga and Disney, which is actually funny considering the history of manga and the influence of Disney to legendary mangaka Osamu Tezuka, but that's another story altogether.

I must admit that I really know very little about her even today. However, her work speaks to me. Not just the online comic I used to follow but also from all the stuff I have seen now on her official website here. It may not be high art or anything, but the playfulness of her works, the ways she tells her stories with, heck the stories she comes up with in itself, the overtly naughty or edginess (a term I usually hate to use but is rightly appropriate here) counteracted by the whimsical appeal of her visuals really does command attention. Well at least for me that is. I like the playfulness inherent in her works, a sense of being familiar in her style yet completely claiming it as hers.

So what I was trying to say about her works in the first place, is basically I like her style. I don't know anything about the person, but as an artist she's really good. That's it!

Please don't kill me.

Please note that I actually recommend to check her Monster Sex series of art in the gallery part of her site. They look absolutely beautiful and she is actually selling a set of prints of it. I myself will be trying to find a way to purchase them without the shipping cost crippling me, since I live waaaaay outside of the U.S.

All artworks featured in this entry is copyright Jen Wang and is taken directly from her website found at


Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. Not remembering an artist or writer who's work is very enjoyable in the muck that's usually pushed as "quality" and "trendy" is very shameful to me because I can name more cliche artistts or writers, but forget the ones that I love. Her art is exactly as you described and very fresh in a business where "realism" is pushing out the individuality and diversity of my favorite medium. Thanks for introducing us to a very good artist, who's work I hope to see more of.

Anonymous said...

Monster sex?!?!?! You deviant! :-P

Poking fun aside, it is indeed a very interesting style that I myself find interesting. Good work; now go find more neat stuff to show us.

Anonymous said...

ooh I'm really liking her work from what I've seen. I've been meaning to try those Flight boooks for a loooong time but can't get around to it. I'll check it out next time I'm in a bookstore.