Lydia Chan dives into the colourful and romantic world of monsters and aliens in her vivid creations

Now, however, Lydia is more interested in creating her own characters to live in those environments. Her latest project, Beaded Monsters, came about six or seven years ago “inspired by colourful alien sci-fi monsters created based on a mathematical technique”. They are beautiful iridescent creations that prove the many facets of Lydia’s artistic talent, showcasing a wide range of interesting shapes, colours, and patterns that marry science with fantasy. “That difference in scale is what gives us space for grandeur, excitement, exploration and discovery,” she explains. But, what’s most important for Lydia is “the childlike energy” of these monsters. She notes how these feelings of grandeur from science are parallel to “how children see their existence in relation to their surroundings,” much of which she draws on in her own set design work. It seems that Lydia’s inner child is still very much alive and active, and rather than shy away from it, she embraces it in all its artistic possibilities. In fact, Lydia proudly declares her creative practice as always “playing catch up” with her juvenile ambitions.
Lydia invites chaos into her work with careful curation.“I think life is characterised by imperfection,” she says. The romance of imperfection is what ultimately leads her to chaos, as to “curate chaos is how you can create environments that have life”.
“I would describe my visual as immersive, large scale, maximalist with a capital ‘M’, colourful,” says Canadian-born and London-based multidisciplinary artist Lydia Chan. Working primarily as a set designer for the fashion industry, the dynamic world-building elements of Lydia’s work have become her signature. Oftentimes playful and incredibly textured, the environments she crafts are as immersive as they are fantastical. “I think the process of making and the material choices really inform the final result,” she tells It’s Nice That. Born from her childhood obsession with cartoon figures and designer toys, Lydia’s sets are characterised by cartoons and creatures, rainbows and romance, and bring a vivid pulsating energy that travels beyond the 2D realm of the screen into a fully-realised 3D world. “My intention is always to create a space with a very distinct aesthetic so you can jump into it and feel it anchoring you into a different story,” she describes.

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