Hoi Chan Translates Everyday Experiences into Dreamy Candy-Colored Illustrations

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a blue and pink illustration of a translucent figure wearing wide-leg pants. the frame peers up from below

“Bioluminescence.” All images © Hoi Chan, shared with permission

A slight breeze brushing across her body during a morning run or observing a butterfly’s winding flight pattern are likely sources of inspiration for artist Hoi Chan.  “I usually jot it all down in a notebook, filter it down into visual ideas,” the Hong Kong-born New Orleans-based illustrator shares. Chan translates these fleeting feelings and moments into radiant scenes, their candy-colored palettes drawn from photos she takes of her surroundings.

Each piece originates with a primary subject,  and then Chan turns “to the lines. I spend quite some time on this stage because my illustration is often related to the authentic emotion of a human, so I try to make every line look a bit different to show the organic quality of our nature,” she says.

Perspective and scale also play a pivotal role, and many pieces, like “Bioluminescence,” look up at a translucent figure that, despite its towering proportions, appears delicate and lightweight, as if dreamily floating in space. Conversely, “Climate Change Emotions” and “Dry January” shrink their subjects to a minuscule scale, positioning them among daunting, otherworldly settings. Textured gradients add an element of intrigue, too, and offer “a certain type of intimate feeling that no other graphic elements can convey,” she says.

Chan collaborates with myriad brands and editorial clients including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and REI. She’s currently incorporating animated elements in her works, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.

a figure walks through a garden holding a flower in his hand

“Silent Walk”

left: pink swirls around a figure dressed in blue. right: small orbs float between a man and woman

Left: “Close Contact.” Right: “Male Birth Control”

a small figure sits on upside down wine glasses

“Dry January”

a small figure retreats into a pinecone like object

“Climate Change Emotions”

a small figure hides in a large tree root during rain

“Auspicious Elements”

small orbs swirl around two men

“Two Fathers One Egg”

a figure floats amid yellow leaves


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