In Focus: Claudia Chanhoi
Splitting her time between Hong Kong and London, Claudia Chanhoi crafts a unique blend of provocative humour and surreal whimsically.
Who is Claudia Chanhoi?
Claudia launched her illustration career in 2016, after working as a full-time graphic designer since graduating from the London College of Communication in 2013. Currently living in Hong Kong, much of her work comes from outside China. Consequently she spends a lot of her time on the road, traveling to meet clients and collaborators in person. A self professed travel addict, she can’t get enough of the excitement from discovering a foreign city! We chat to Claudia to find out more abut her unique, quirky, provocative style…
How has your visual identity evolved over the last few years?
While working at the design company, I always felt like I was being held back, that I couldn’t be as creative as I wanted to be. So I decided to open an Instagram account and showcase my own work and portfolio, focused specifically upon the continuation of my university project from back in 2013, “The Sexual Objectification of Women”.
I used to do a lot of oil and acrylic paintings when I was a kid, and imagined myself as a painter when I grew up; I loved painting portraits, especially women’s portraits. When I chose to study graphic design my creative direction completely changed, and though I don’t paint or draw portraits anymore, my work retains these roots and aspects, combining a cartoon-like aesthetic and exploring vibrant colour palettes.
What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I am a huge foodie! To me, food is definitely a mood booster! Trying new restaurants and getting to know the concept behind different dishes really inspires me. I struggle with insomnia – like a lot of creatives perhaps? That’s why I try to work out at least 2-3 times as week as well. I spend a lot of time when I’m not working making sure I’ve I’ve a healthy body and mind.
I think as a creative, you need to be mentally happy and healthy to get those creative juices flowing!
If you had unlimited budget and time what would your dream project look like?
I have a few illustrated artworks of imaginary rooms in different settings. I’ve always imagined it would be fun to try and recreate them in real life, and hold an exhibition of installations where people could walk through them, experiencing them in person. Another dream project would be designing a concept restaurant! I would love to design a restaurant and collaborate with a chef. I imagine a restaurant that would serve the food I’ve illustrated. The love the idea of guests experiencing the crazy surreality of my illustrations!
Describe your workspace. Do you collect any interesting ephemera?
My workspace can be VERY messy during my bigger projects, like the time I was preparing for my solo exhibition in Miami. Most days I can’t be far away from my acrylic paint, MacBook Pro, sketchbooks, and tea (or coffee).
Can you list the most read and treasured books on your bookshelf…
For me they’d be… “Alexander McQueen. Genius of a Generation”, “Make Your Own Luck: A DIY Attitude to Graphic Design by Kate Moross”, and “The Monocle Guide to Good Business”
Can you tell us a little about what you’re currently working on?
I’m currently working on a piece to be printed on a pocket square! I can’t wait to see it printed on material. I’m also doing another collaboration with Swedish fashion brand, Madlady. We collaborated last year for the first time, which was really fun. Its was particularly special because 10% of the sales are donated to a Breast Cancer Charity!
I’m not really a planner… I tend to go by my instincts.
What recent creative project have you seen recently that you wish you’d done? Or that you particularly admire?
I really admire Hattie Stewart’s work! The project she did with The House of Holland was so slick and on trend. Her work really inspires me to try and collaborate with other creatives, working in other disciplines. I’d love to collaborate with a fashion brand sometime in the future, and push the boundaries and formats of my work!