Having picked up painting at a young age, Vaan Ip always had a passion for creativity. His path started with comics, sketching and slowly developed into oil painting. His original choice of study was in computers but he came to the conclusion that he did not want to spend his life in front of a screen. Instead, he studied Fine Art.
Upon graduating from this degree, Vaan has tried to create art on a full-time basis yet admits it is too difficult to maintain basic living expenses. He even lived a year without gaining solid income. He went to an Italian restaurant and took a job as a chef to earn his living. Vaan said the two years spent in the kitchen were very exhausting as long working hours simply drains one’s energy.
Yet the tables have turned for him and now he is happy to say that he is able to live on his creations and that he can create on a full-time basis. Still hardworking as ever, Vaan works seven days a week from 9am to the evening in his studio. He thinks this is the best way to keep him in the best state to create art.
City in a cage
The relationship between humans and city is Vaan’s focus in his work. As a creator who started from painting, his works are all intensive buildings in cities to express his feeling living in one of them. He suggests that living in a city is similar to being stuck in a cage. Concrete jungle and artificial construction are frequently seen in his works – all feelings of being caged.
Apart from 2D creativity, Vaan also does sculpture. The reason why he started sculpture was for using 3D medium to showcase his cities. The result wasn’t only interesting but also had multi-effects. Since light was added into his work, light from the inside of the sculpture formed shadows on walls surrounding the audience and strengthening the feeling of being trapped and that people cannot escape the city. As for materials, Vaan has tried brass, stainless steel and carbon steel. Other than the interchange between 2D and 3D, he also enjoys the change between different raw materials.
Led by dreams and flying out from the trap
Other than the symbol of buildings in the form of cages, there are also flying kites connected to the city in Vaan’s works. These symbolise a beacon. The idea is that when the audience looks at kites, they may be reminded of their own dreams and be encouraged to fly out of the cage.
The development of Vaan’s works has always been changing simultaneously with his thoughts: it starts with pessimistic oil paintings to optimistic kites that symbolize dreams which lead to a falling city. Vaan thinks that dreams can move a city forward: when everyone is looking for a dream and pursuing further, society will evolve eventually.
As a creator who likes to follow his thoughts, Vaan thinks that what makes an artist important is communication and the exchange of thoughts with artwork to make it experience changes.