Friday, 17 February 2012

AMBER HSU: One of the Six Illustrators Chosen for SCBWI-BI's Undiscovered Voices Anthology 2012

* Congratulations, Amber, on achieving a coveted place in Undiscovered Voices 2012! and welcome to tall tales & short stories.
The floor is yours, please tell us all about yourself, your journey as an artist/illustrator and anything else you'd like to add.

I’ve been drawing since I can first remember. As a child I’d always wanted to be either an artist or a veterinarian. Drawing animals and making up stories were a private retreat and way to deal with the solitude of being an only child in an immigrant household – I was born in Taiwan, grew up in the US and am now based in London. That mixed background influences me to this day and as I grew up my interests were equally peripatetic.

I have a degree in Biophysics, Fashion design and now an MA in Comparative Literature. I have worked in such places as a flea market, a dentist’s office, a pharmaceutical lab, a newspaper, a bank (gasp!), a fashion studio, and a social network. Once, I worked in a morgue.

But stories and art have always been true to my heart. I’ve exhibited photography, sculpture, sketches, made costumes, and most recently, just completed an attachment at the National Theatre Studios to adapt a play by the Nobel prize-winning playwright Gao Xingjian. I’m still hoping all of this will make sense one day. Until then I’ve decided I’ll just start making things up and drawing them out as I go along.

*  Could you tell our readers all about the story behind your chosen entry, and most importantly why they are going to love your work!

And so Chairogo Brought Forth the Stolen Voice...

I am always imagining little characters floating around in different worlds. This one is a finder of forgotten things—broken dreams, lost thoughts, hidden voices—all left behind in a callous, cold and unfeeling factory of a world. He’s a bit of a quiet but curious character that senses something amiss in his surroundings but doesn’t quite know what. When he takes up this discarded object—this stolen voice—and tries to keep it, he goes on an adventure, eventually discovering an authenticity and meaning otherwise missing from his existence.

I think I relate to that kind of character. I pity lone objects. I will project whole interior lives onto something as plain and simple as a lost shoe or fallen french-fry (a habit I suspect is not uncommon with most illustrators and writers). I sometimes take home discarded, broken things. You’d think this only leads to enormous amounts of clutter, which is true, but it also leads to random ideas, unexpected thoughts and curious coincidences—all wonderful and meaningful in and of themselves.

Other than that, I just try to infuse my work with some kind of feeling—and a bit of humour when possible. I am happiest when my images evoke an emotional response, or convey some unknown depth or world beyond its borders. That is something I am always struggling for and hoping to achieve. I can only hope readers will feel something similar and find something in the work for themselves.



...WIN a copy of Undiscovered Voices, by Working Partners & SCWBI-BI.
Your chance to read all the selected excerpts, see the fabulous illustrations
and read what the judges had to say!


It’s easy to enter -- Here's what to do!

•  Leave a comment on the blog; say hi, leave your name and tell us if you'd like to be entered for the draw. 

If you want to leave your email address that's great, if not, we'll be announcing the winners after midday on the 1st March, UK time. So make sure to check in here and on twitter.

All entries go into a hat and TWO winners will be chosen at random.

Sorry, but this competition is open to UK entrants only.

Competition Deadline: 
Midnight 29th February 2012, UK time.



Bridget Strevens-Marzo said...

Amber - I reckon you've found many readers including me, who've found a world and a powerful emotional story within your pictures - me for a start! I can't wait to read the full story of Chairogo and the stolen voice in a book. And thank you for finding the tiny nut that came off a music stand - a miracle. I think it's a gift for finding things in general!

Sue Hyams said...

Congratulations, Amber. I'm so pleased for you. You are clearly an extremely talented lady and I wish you every success! x

Anonymous said...

i can't wait to read the story and experience the depth charge explosions they create in the subconscious. they are very powerful and speak to a depth of understanding that seeps beyond your years, even potentially to worlds aside, dark and light. i hope that someday you will see in your mind the drawing of a unicorn and a dolphin, merged together into a single entity to cast intelligence and magic into the stratosphere of literary arcs and achievements. the supreme ruler of otherworld depthiness. call it Dolphicorn, Star Arcer and think of that lost world. in this you will find your future

Anonymous said...

Amber, many happy congratulations. It was good to meet at the event, and I'm sure you must be chuffed to receive so much well-earned recognition. The Chairogo story synosis you told me is incredibly compelling. You are a gifted storyteller with a unique perspective capable of synthesizing many genres and themes. Moreover, I suspect readers will appreciate the story's allegorical underpinnings. It was wonderful meeting you and best with all your pursuits.
Helen Bach.

Shanarama said...

Well done Amber! Ditto for the nice photo and your work is fantastic. Your words and pictures are very compelling - I really look forward to collecting your published work!
All the best,

amber said...

Thank you guys for all your congratulations and well wishes! really happy to be here! xx

Polly said...

Congratulations - Amber, I enjoyed very much meeting your little characters in the world of your imagination. With great drawings, there is no doubt that both children and adults will delight in it. Looking forward to your published works and wish you every success in the future.

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