Czech matchbox designs inspire An Chen’s angular still life illustrations

She discovers there the wealth of visual sources that today enrich her distinctive visual style. She encountered the work of British modernist printers, Russian avant-garde artists, and also began researching 1950s-1960s matchbox designs from the Soho Lipnik factory. Fascinated by the “warm gritty texture” of matchboxes, she set about trying techniques to mimic that quality. Today, she’s perfected the method, using single-print and the Photoshop mask effect to produce the pleasing, retro texture that characterizes her illustrations.

While the illustrator continued to work for a wide range of editorial clients, including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and Tribune Magazine, one of her favorite projects to experiment with is Instagram’s still life challenge. She likes to create “tension” by interpreting the natural, organic forms of plants with her bold, angular style. We recently saw these geometric plant designs adorn the packaging of the new OMSE X Sproutl brand alongside work by Thomas Hedger and Cha.

Using meditation and the “just breathe and draw” mantra to guide his practice, An infuses the rich historical references of his illustrations with a unique and contemporary twist. But recently, she felt the desire to return to her Taiwanese roots to find inspiration. In his future work, we can expect to see Czech and British modernist influences integrated with spiritual references to Taoism.

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