I first encountered Dawn Tan at a market more than a year ago and completely fell in love with her work. She was selling prints of her food recipe creations and I just loved her use of watercolour, her lovely style, distinctive compositions and most of all, the subject matter! Yum! I began following her delightful blog and early last year snapped up the chance to be in Dawn's very first watercolour class for adults where, with her guidance, I created a very special artwork I will treasure forever.
Dawn is already a talented educator giving private art lessons to kids and adults but will add another string to her bow this year when she begins a Diploma of Education. This will qualify her to unleash her teaching and artistic talent in schools. Oh, how I wish I could be one of her lucky, lucky students.
|Dawn with her partner Darren at Finders Keepers, Sydney 2011 (Photo credit: Dawn Tan. Source.)|
Dawn's star just keeps rising. She is regularly commissioned by Frankie magazine to create product illustrations, has collaborated with Douglas and Hope on a limited edition 'Burger and Fries' melamine set, created a 'Kitchen Range' with Harvest Textiles and continues to sell her amazing foodie prints in her shop. And did I mention her Meaty Pillowcases? You have to see these! But enough from me. Let's hear from the lovely Dawn Tan herself!
Tell us a bit about yourself, your work and achievements.
Hello! I am Dawn and I'm an artist, art teacher, blogger and big-time foodie all rolled into one! I spend most of my days painting food that makes me hungry. I have just only an ever-so-slight obsession with food. No. Actually, I'm lying. I have a HUGE obsession with food. So much so, I spend ALL MY TIME reading up on recipes, and the history of foods, drawing and painting them. And my love doesn't stop with the 2-D form, I turn my drawings into useable things such as cups, plates, pillowcases, bags and tea towels. You see, I have separation issues. I need to surround myself with my food 24-7! Even when I sleep! Oops! I think my biggest achievement would be making it into the press, with my over-the-top love for food! At least I know I'm not crazy and over-obsessed! Especially when others share my love for meaty pillowcases and give them as gifts to friends and family! I think it's really nice when others appreciate what I do and share it with others. Hehehe!
|Prep for watercolour class Dawn ran for a corporate event recently. (Photo credit: Dawn Tan. Source.)|
When did you know you wanted to work creatively (from a young age or did you come to it later?) and what steps did you take to make it happen?
So anyway, right after high school, I went straight to design school and taught little kids art while schooling. I fell in love with painting and illustration towards the end of my design diploma and after a year of working, I hopped onto a plane and moved to Melbourne (from Singapore) to do a degree in Fine Arts (Painting) at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). I graduated early last year and haven't stopped making crazy bits of art!
Could you describe a typical work day? How do you balance art and the administration side of freelancing?Do you have any routines or rituals you perform before starting a day's work or before you start working on something new? How do you motivate yourself?
|'Fruit Chart' by Dawn Tan. Source.|
What are your favourite tools/materials for creating?
I absolutely love creating with pencils, nice buttery paper and watercolours! I love how versatile and portable watercolours are. The transparency of the paint attracts me to it too! I think there's something ever so soft and gentle about it. I just love it!
|Photo credit: Dawn Tan. Source.|
What do you do when you have a creative block and need to 'refill the well'?