Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jean Liang Interview: DBZ Gals and Cat Guys

You can see the Kame House at the bottom in the distance in Jean's latest DBZ Gals piece: Launch.
Jean Liang

Jean Liang is one of the many artists part of the upcoming Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary/Akira Toriyama Tribute Art Show on Nov 15th at QPop. You may have seen her work featured online or at the various cons going on in America. Below is a interview TTDILA had with her about her piece on what's going on in the show.

TTDILA:Good God women, what's with the artistic talent? Just saw your piece for Meatball head, the sailor moon art show. It's great, like the other work I've seen online.

Let's start with the current DBZ art show. Are you re-releasing your DBZ Gals or are we going to see a new piece I might purchase? Any details you can reveal. I spotted a lovely Launch sketch over your social media.

Jean Liang: For the show I've just made a new piece in the DBZ Gals line up. This time I painted Launch from Dragonball in a classic pin up rendering reminiscent of vintage Japanese posters and print illustrations. The piece is a first edition 1/1 print, and the price is quite high because I won't be reproducing it hehe. I won't be re releasing the DBZ gals at the show since they're not framed prints, but they might make a release online once I set up a print shop.

Could you tell us the inspiration behind DBZ Gals. I spot each of the ladies' boyfriends on them as pins and the upside down crosses on eighteen look like a fashion choice. I like how Bulma has BULMA spelled out on her shirt, that reminds me of her Dragonball days when she would wear such apparel.

The inspiration for the series began with my love for Android 18. I just thought she was such a badass when I was growing up. So I just thought I'd illustrate Android 18 with a 90's fashion kind of spin. Then from there naturally it had to become a super-rad-girl-gang-fake-band, with Bulma on keyboard and Chi-chi on bass. The pins of their boyfriends are because I like making pins and brooches, and I thought the girls would've liked to wear some too! 

You created that DBZ piece before hearing about the tribute show, what's your connection to DBZ. You a fan, you like/love the strong ladies. Any favorite episodes or characters?

The new piece for Launch doesn't fit within the triptych world of the DBZ gals originals. She's more like the original baddie girl, like her poster is the poster that the DBZ gals have pinned to their garage wall when they gather for parties or something.
I created the piece before the show because I loved watching the show when I was young! 8pm every weekday, I was hooked to the television. My favorite part of the series is the Frieza arc. He's my favourite villain and his fight with Goku was crazy epic. 

You seem to have a connection to anime. Sailor Moon and DBZ you've already captured, any other animes and why?

Yep, I grew up with anime, it's become part of who I am! I love drawing in a graphic kind of way, so anime appeals to me visually. Also, the themes and fight scenes are really sophisticated for cartoons. Some favorites include Cardcaptor Sakura, Diebuster, Dennou Coil, Eureka Seven and Last Exile. There are so many more favorites in film and in TV series!

What would you say your style is, it's very pointy with straight lines? It reminds me a lot of Kevin Dart, he redid the Powerpuff Girls in CGI.

I'd say I don't really have a style yet but I like exploring the relationships between shapes and color and their size to each other. I love organizing overlapping shapes, textures and colors, so much of the drawing/design process is kind of like collage but done digitally. I think if I do enough of this, a style might come out, but for now, I think I have many outlets and nothing in particular is representative of all my art.

Jean as the cat man

Could you tell a little about your other work, you have a short up online, please tell us a about it.

My other work can be found regularly on instagram (@jeandrawstrings). I also make stickers, screen print and illustrate for an indie micro press/fashion label. All the non-graphic/shape stuff can be found on my instagram. The work is kind of like the regurgitation of my anime/art/manga consumption. Just a bunch of weird drawings of girls and bugs maybe with undertones of independence and rebellion.

I've also got a film online. It's called Happy Unhappy, and it can be watched on vimeo (here: The film was my thesis film made in 8 months during my graduating year at Sheridan college. The story is about a guy who often gets stabbed with a physical metaphor for pain and how he deals with it. Sounds kind of bleak, but what if I said he's a cat-man with a cactus shop? Please give it a watch if you have 5 minutes (and if you like super graphic looking animated shorts).