Elizabeth Lai is an Asian-American illustrator and graphic & brand designer based in the UK, who draws inspiration from her Asian heritage (among other things) and really loves her dog. She was born in the year of the Rabbit and a Scorpio.
Read the full interview by by clicking "read more" below and follow Elizabeth on Instagram and check out her website.
1. Elevator pitch?
Hi! I'm Elizabeth, an Asian-American graphic designer, and illustrator. I specialize in creating authentic brand identities for small female-led businesses!
2. What is your favorite piece you’ve created to-date?
To date, I think I'm still most proud of the "California" calendar I illustrated for a small female brand agency. It's not exactly my illustration style anymore, but it won me my first "adult" award which I'm really proud of. It focuses on inspiring women to travel alone (pre-pandemic of course), and I'd love to expand on the series by focusing on another location or state.
3. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from culture and personal experiences. I recently started doing traditional Chinese painting (guohua or 國畫), and the philosophy behind it has transformed my whole art process. I no longer mull over the details by letting organic matter look organic, and I try to find balance in composition by not sketching too much beforehand. So I'd say my Asian background has really been inspiring me recently especially because the Asian community on social media has really made me feel at home online. I often feel inspired to draw Asian-American-inspired art not just for myself, but for everyone else as well.
4. What’s your process like — start to finish — in ten words?
Let the art take command and go with the flow.
5. What medium do you not resonate with at all?
I could if I wanted to, but I despise oil painting. The pace at which it dries drives me crazy because I just don't have that kind of intense patience. And it smells!
6. What are your top favorite pieces from another artist(s)?
An artist I've really been loving is Maya Fuji (@fuji1kenobe). Her art is so insanely beautiful and bold, I just love it!
7. What is your favorite compliment given to you about your work?
My favorite compliment is when someone actually wants to pay full cost for my work with no negotiations. To me it shows that they trust me as a designer/artist and they value my work. So often, we creatives will hear people rave about our work and yet want to haggle down the price.
8. What is your favorite word that you rarely get to use?
9. What is your least favorite animal?
Do flying bugs count? Bugs that stay on the ground are okay, but once you add wings, that's evolution one step too far.
10. What do you want on your gravestone?
To be honest, I never really thought about a gravestone. I've always just known I wanted to be cremated, but I think I've forgotten that people still have gravestones. I want to just forego the gravestone now that I think of it and just pass on some badass jewelry.
11. What top three things keep you up at night?
These are more shower thoughts: 1) If my dog knows I love him, 2) how I will die, 3) what I'll be doing, who I'll be with, and where I'll be in the future!!!
12. You’ve been placed under witness protection program, but you get to make up your new identity. What’s your new name, occupation, and hobby?
Cléo, Chinese medicine and wellness practitioner who also does tattooing.
13. What’s your least favorite color?
I love a specific purple (Pantone 251 or 252), but every other purple just doesn't spark any joy for me.
14. Congratulations, you just adopted a tortoise! What are you going to name it?
15. If you could read the diary of one person, who would it be?
I'd really love to get into my dad's head. When I was younger I was really close to him, but these days it's more of a love with minimal communication. I think when it comes to older family members, you wish that they'd open up their heart to you first and that they wouldn't shy away from showing emotions. I'd like that from him, so I think reading his diary would be fascinating.
16. You visit a medium and a spirit responds. Who do you think will contact you first?
Okay, my dog hasn't passed away yet, but he's 16 and on his last stretch as he's also battling cancer and many other health problems. Again like I said earlier, I'd really want him to know that I love him and I think about him every day. You'll never meet anyone more obsessed with their dog after you've met me T^T.