Artist name： 集cep
Career： University student
University： Hubei Institute of Fine Arts （HIFA）
This interview is a translation based on the original interview.
──First of all, please make your self-introduction!
Hello everyone, I am 集Cep, The ‘集’ and ‘cep’ are the same means in Chinese, so either name can be used. It is my pleasure to meet you guys and for this interview, I might provide some creative ideas for friends who also aim to be illustrators, hope you enjoy it.
──When did you start drawing, and what was the opportunity?
Since I was in kindergarten, I always drew on the walls of my parents' house and it annoys my family, they sent me to drawing class, hoping that I could able to draw on paper. However, interest class feeds my desire stronger to express myself, certainly, the walls are even dirtier than formerly(lol).
──How did your family feel about you taking up drawing? Do they support your dream to be a professional artist?
My family is very supportive if I take drawing as a hobby. On other hand, they are hesitant and even opposed with take drawing as my career option, which is still the case today. In their opine, it would be unrealistic even if you had more achievements in the art industry without a stable job and earnings. Therefore, I am trying to prove to myself that artists also have their way!
──You seem to prefer a modern European style and theme, why do you choose this direction to develop your work?
It's a long story, I didn't have a mobile phone before I went to high school because it was a strict tutor in my family. At that time my paintings were all school teenage, ancient or modern stories in China. In high school, I became very interested in European style when I filled out the Black Butler which is a classic manga written and illustrated by Yana Toboso. Then when I learned the masters' paintings from the Western and knowledge of oil painting, I was unable to extricate myself and fell in love with this style.
I realize my inspiration continues to spring up as long as I create European-style works, we are a match. Certainly, I did try different styles such as wafu or techno, but in comparison, I am a layman for those themes without the feeling that I paint European style.
──How do you usually collect inspiration, any action will you take inspiration from?
I have a friend who is talkative in creation and also good at writing articles. I was mostly an audience for her stories, then we would discuss and create stories together. That’s where my most completed work XIII comes from. (XIII: name of Cep’s manga.)
For the rest of the content, I will take inspiration from different countries' poems and oil paintings. I try to imagine the characters' stories behind the canvas, such as their personality, past, and future. Any words or sentences in the poem may support my imagination. Every night before I go to bed, I like to think about how my characters spend a day, it is happiness and very friendly for insomnia (lol).
──Would you mind talking about the composition and visual representations that you are good at?
I often virtue of characters' eyes, actions, as well as the interaction between characters to shape the whole atmosphere. It is a pleasure to express emotions with paintings.
──Would you like to introduce your OC and worldview?
I have made various attempts in the creation of works, the most completed work is the XIII (Thirteen) I have introduced before. As the name suggests, there will be 13 characters on the stage, but with limited space, I will not be able to introduce them all.
It's a story that I co-created with my friends, basically, these characters are the epitome of my different personalities magnified in dramatic ways: the arrogant and paranoid perfectionism, the rebellious and tough devotee, the crazy Epicurean, the callous rulers, etc.
Time set at the end of the 18th century to the end of the 19th century, the characters are respectively from two countries, four aristocratic families, they deduce the story of two generations fighting, lineage, they linked by blood, trust and betrayal, face the choice in the power and identity...Now the story is still in creation, also there are many settings and details that haven’t been described. Wish I can have the opportunity to publish the complete story in the future!
──May I ask if you have had a new creation idea recently?
A new creation idea has been put on the agenda, but it involves drawing different kinds of animals, it’s a bit hard for me, and still need time to learn about it. In addition, I want to summarize my high school life and draw some memories... it’s never much for fill-in-the-blanks.
──What content or performance skill would you want to challenge in terms of future creation?
Currently, the first important thing is complemented story of XIII, I prefer to tell the story through comics, illustrate books, and update the preview on Bilibili or character memes. And seriously I always felt that my painting skills aren’t so good. In catchwords that will be "skill defeat my passion". I really regret never listening to the theoretical knowledge taught by my school teacher, I don’t love studying in school, and now I usually feel I need to practice more basic skills when I create. In terms of technique, I will still retain the form of a semi-thick painting. Recently, I have tried many different methods in the color section, also want to try digital oil painting or printmaking, hoping to find a way to make my style more stable and unique.
──What experiences have been unforgettable or distressing for you in your artistic career?
I feel lucky to have a friend who created with me, pretty sure I would not be what I am today without her. Her imagination and shaping force pull me up and grow with her. Also, I am grateful to have people who support me all the time on the way to creating these characters. I believe that for many artists, their art getting recognition is more joyful than people loving themselves. It will dilute any negative feelings like insecurity and loneliness.
──Can you tell us about the creators you respect and what do you admire about them?
My first teacher was Ozoconite（@siroimorino） from Japan. At that time, her art portfolio was very popular in the China market, and I bought the portfolio at first sight. I marvel at her line manipulation, deformation based on a deep understanding of the human structure, amazing design, accurate color expression, emotion and behind the meaning of the work, even if my paintings do not seem to have much of her shadow now, but I still remember the impact she gave to me. I bought three copies of the same art portfolio, one for tracing and reading, the other one for careful reading, and the last one just holding for pilgrimage.
──Would you mind telling us what business projects have you been involved in?
Sadly I haven't been involved in any commercial projects, this is also the problem I said before I am not good enough at painting, just encourage myself I still need to practice harder.
──We can see that you are a BJD owner from your social media posts. Do you have any plans to engage in related industries or business projects in the future?
Yes, personally I am interested in BJD and related co-branding. I deem it to be a process of combining beautiful things with personal style, which is my dream project. How wonderful if I work in the BJD industry in the future! I’m very excited if I could do it immediately.
──Thank you for being interviewed, is there any words you like to say to your audience or other creators?
I am very grateful to everyone who likes my works, hope my works can bring you the imagination and energy of another world.
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