Being Alone To Be With The People - Interview with Dani Lam
There’s a saying that an artist is always alone, but it might be for a noble cause — to create works that touch people’s hearts. And Hong Kong-grown illustrator Dani Lam is living proof! Currently based in Vancouver, Dani is the creative brains behind a series of playful and highly relatable characters with distinctive carrot noses. Her approach to staying creative and passionate is just as extraordinary: being completely alone with her pajamas on, in the studio. Dani makes the most of solitude and pours every energy into a colourful world of art, our new happy place to unwind and connect. Read on to enjoy a sea of visual delights.
AWW: How has growing up in Hong Kong shaped or inspired you to become an illustrator?
Dani Lam: To be honest, I think it is difficult to become an illustrator in Hong Kong. Especially as we grow up in a rigid education system, we dare not to dream and need to follow a typical career path in the future. I didn't get much support at the beginning and needed to work harder to convince people to believe in my ability and creativity.
AWW: Can you share an illustration that best represents you and Hong Kong?
Dani: I was inspired by Serrini’s Cantonese song called “Let Us Go Then You And I”. Many Hong Kong people were gloomy, but we still continue to fight for what we want. If we have faith, that paper airplanes can also fly far and high, we can deal with fear and go for our dreams. If we have failed, just try again before we can get it right.
AWW: You’ve mentioned that you always find serenity by staying all day at the studio! Can you explain more? How do you keep your passion alive in your creative space?
Dani: I enjoy being alone so much and like to concentrate on work without any distractions. I always wear pajamas in my studio while creating artwork. It sounds strange but it is so comfortable and casual. For me, the best way to stay passionate is to choose a simple lifestyle and stay away from people haha.
AWW: You work with a wide range of media, from web design to illustrations, miniatures, animation and more. And you’re very industrious as an illustrator, always creating innovative work. What motivates you to stay creative?
Dani: I am obsessed with the art and design world and spend plenty of time admiring other artists' works. I like to infuse myself with the emotions from the artworks, so I hope audiences could get something from my works too. My boyfriend often reminds me that “If you never try, you will never know.” This encourages me to step out of my comfort zone. Support is something everyone desires and needs. It can make you feel valued and give you the confidence to innovate.
AWW: How do you develop your own distinctive style?
Dani: Once I heard that "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.", so we just wait for the talents to become lazy and it will be our showtime afterwards… Everyone is unique. If we show our personality through our work, we can attract people who think alike. These people are our source of motivation and we have to create more excellent works to repay them for their support.
AWW: Thank you for creating many lovely and relatable characters on your Instagram! Where do you find your inspiration?
Dani: Inspiration is everywhere, it can come from our daily life, music, movies, etc. I had anxiety and depression in 2019, and was unable to figure out what the meaning of life was. Later on, I travelled to Japan alone and went to a contemporary art festival "Setouchi Triennale”. This journey is like an art therapy session to heal my mind. When I looked at the sea and the sky in Japan, I felt thankful that I am able to walk, see and explore this beautiful world. This inspires me to share my happiness and positive energy with people through illustrations.
AWW: How do you maintain a work-life balance amongst the hustle and bustle of the city?
Dani: I always spend time on my own and listen to my inner voice. Connecting with nature can also help me cleanse my thoughts and fill myself with pure energy. I don’t have a specific getaway place but I feel more comfortable in a place that has few people.
AWW: Lastly, can you share with us 3 creatives from Taiwan, Thailand or Hong Kong that you love and would like to collaborate with?
About We Love Milk Tea Series
Since showing up on social media in 2020, #MilkTeaAlliance has been around for a while, and represents a shared love of tea drinks in Hong Kong (Milk Tea), Thailand (Iced Thai Tea) and Taiwan (Bubble Tea)! But the similarities are way more than that. Yes, people from all 3 cities love traveling and sharing their experiences, but there was also the way the youths were suddenly thrust into the world’s eyes as well. You could say that tea drinks are a powerful symbol of emotional connections and support!
In this series, we’ll be introducing the beautiful souls we met in these 3 cities. Let’s see what made their creative souls rise and shine!