In the Artist’s Studio with Betty Liang
I recently got to visit artist and cartoonist Betty Liang in her studio in Ottawa. Liang’s works are cute with an eerie twist. She’s recently been featured in zines such as š!, and makes some herself! During my visit we discussed horror literature and graphic novels; watched a crime documentary and ate some homemade chili.
What do you like to create?
I mostly draw. I think it might be partly due to the fact that drawing is really coming back in vogue so I’ve been really exposed to that through the internet and in art school. I also think it’s because I love comics. I guess I’ve mostly been making comics recently, but I love printmaking and would like to dabble more in video and film. There is something so satisfying about video and film after you’ve spent most of your life making static images.
What are the themes in your work?
I think a lot of it is really about interpersonal relationships and, at times, romantic relationships. I like these ideals we have unintentionally built up around our interactions with each other, not even necessarily through our consumption of media, but simply through daily interactions. We have such a limited understanding of anything outside of our individual perspectives (if any at all) and I think we often like filling in the blanks like how to see a series of static, seperate images in a comic and can interpret that as a story.
List your top ten influences.
My top 10 influences in no particular order: Edward Gorey, Angela Carter, Hermann Hesse’s “Demian” (even though it’s certainly not a book of genius, I read it at an impressionable age and time so it definitely got me to think about the world differently after reading it), shoujo manga, Tove Jansson, the Pre-Raphaelites, Tarkovsky, genre films from the late 60s and early 70s, and this might sound cheesy, but it’s true, all the people I surround myself with, but in particular my art friends.
I just thought of this, but I guess the movie “Barbarella” kind of had a big impact on me when I first saw that! That’s 11, oops.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on quite a few comics and I am thinking of starting a series of drawings based on old family photos. I’ve been thinking a lot of my Chinese heritage lately. It’s kind of sad for me to admit this, but I feel a really huge disconnect between my heritage and myself.
For more of Betty’s art click here.
- Lee Jones