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Fiona Chinkan

New York, NY

"I began by exploring graffiti lettering and studying typography, but have grown to use the lines and marks as a way of expressing myself and interpreting the world around me."
“Starting” is my favorite part of the artistic process. It can be argued that my entire journey to create a piece is “just starting” because each mark is determined in relation to the previous mark. My drawings are completely free handed, meaning I do not pencil it in ahead of time. I feel decisions are best made through the act of creating as opposed to pre-planning because I believe too much planning will rob an artist of their creativity. My colour palette is also decided as I work. I make a choice about one, maybe two colours, then I will pick my next move after I finish those layers.

This way of improvised working creates a dialogue between myself and the work. I listen to my instinct, energy and emotion. There is also a sense of self in that I don’t worry about a mistake. I only react to what I see, knowing that anything can be adjusted and reacted to. To me, it’s improvisation and trust that are the basis of how I create. This really allows me to enjoy what I do and fully invest myself into the work.

I’m often asked where the symbols in my work come from and if they have any meaning. The origin of my mark making comes from a time when I was learning lettering from a graffiti artist. He told me that people would normally add a symbol at the end of their name to give an identity to their signature, such as an exclamation point or a star. With that idea, I started adding my own symbols, (triangles, circles, etc.) around the words I was graffitiing. Eventually, I dropped the lettering altogether and focused on expanding my own “abstract language” using those different types of shapes. I became obsessed with filling pages upon pages with these shapes. In regards to the meaning of the marks, I prefer to think of them as a tool. Individually, the marks do not mean as much as they do together, as an entity. Their density, movement and scale can all change to convey emotions I’m feeling around a certain subject or thought.

I’m fascinated in how something may make you feel. For instance, I’m deeply moved by images of outer space from the Hubble space telescope, but I do not try to recreate those photographs in my work. What does not exist in those photos, is how they may make us feel. This is why you won’t see any “realism” in my art. When we send astronauts to space, they can discuss factually what is happening, but what truly moves human beings is when astronauts describe how they felt while they were there. So, I choose to express how I feel, as opposed to illustrate what I see.
Wescover creator since 2020

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