Illustrator Su Nan’s work worships natural power and the energy that connects man with the universe. During the last decade, she has lent her design sense to top luxury brands, such as Chanel, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.

Better known by her pseudonym Nanguazi (pumpkin seeds), Su graduated graduate from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute with a degree in comic product design. She won her first award for illustration at the age of 13.

Su’s dream of a career in art began with a childhood drawing of the moon and Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess. Since then, dreamy tones and mysterious night skies have featured prominently in her work.

Her album on is defined by white negative space, dynamic themes and starry night backgrounds that reflect her personal feelings. “There is no specific connection between these three styles. If I had to name one, it would be my own interest in deliberately painting this way,” she said.

Heavily influenced by spirituality and yoga meditation, Su embraced a vegetarian lifestyle. The choice had a significant effect on her work, and she seldom preconceives a structure and main idea for each painting. Once you apply yourself, your art will complete itself, she said.

“When I noticed people were leaving home just to find a path back home, I discovered my own home in spirituality. I learned how to get along with my ego,” Su said.

Su’s painting Bali depicts the origin of inner peace in her understanding of spirituality. Against a background of numerous shimmering stars, a little girl floats in the air while looking at lush tropical plants and flowers on the earth below. There is an energy hidden under her brush that invited viewers to take a deep breath and escape their daily routines. “This painting was born from an out-of-body experience while meditating in Bali,” Su said.

The short-haired girl in many of Su’s paintings resembles the artist – a figure standing in too receive the paintings’ indirect answers to her questions.

Su has explored many careers related to illustration. From 2009 to 2013, she published Miss Nan, a comic featuring a short-haired girl and a deer Ruby Nan. She has also worked as a product designer, photographer and member of the band Guiguisuisui.

Currently, Su is working on a novel with her husband and developing her a line of spiritual household accessories. She said the current work has helped her find her true self.

In next phase of her work, Su said she hopes to produce more images that reflect the power of love to remind viewers of the significance of unconditional affection.

“My artwork is me. It is the keys to open every gate in my inner world,” Su said.

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Karena Hu

About Karena Hu

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Karena was born with the English name Karen but decided to add an “a.” She dreamed of a career in astronomy, but bad scores in physics kept her out of the science department. She seeks other worlds in reading and writing and is a super fan of the Hunger Games trilogy.

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