Loot Wear is teaming up with female artists throughout geekdom to design and curate for our Loot for Her line. We’re calling this program “For Her, By Her“! Each month we’ll bring you a one on one with each artist we collaborated with, making unique apparel designed by talented women in the field.
This month we bring you star artist Ellen Wang! Ellen designed our Dungeons & Dragons item for us this month!
Where are you from originally and where do you call home now?
I’m currently based out of Southern California where my studio space is but I’ve moved around alot in my life. I was originally Canadian, born in Ottawa but my grandparents in China raised me at 4 months old. I lived with them for 2 years before coming back after my parents finished their PhD programs. My family then came to America where I spent the majority of my childhood in Oregon after which I slowly made my way down south after attending college in the bay area.
What is your artistic background and did you have any formal training?
I actually have a Bachelors in animation!
How did you arrive at your present skill sets and artistic style?
I think one of my strengths is my versatility. Im able to adapt to whats needed on a project relatively easily and I attribute that to my attention to detail and ability to figure out how something works. As a child I always liked working with my hands, taking things apart then rebuilding it or building elaborate models out of things like legos or random things I’d find at home. I figured I was on track to be an engineer especially since both my parents have a math background. Later in high school, I discovered my love of the arts. I was supported by both my teacher and my mother which helped me immensely because I really had no idea what I was doing at the time since I started so late. I got into art school and everything went from there. So I guess thats the very long answer to also what my “style” is which I think fluctuates a lot. I have a tendency to jump around when it comes to what I do and how I do it. Currently a lot of my illustrations have a very clay-like feel to them. I’ve gotten into sculpting which most likely influenced it.
Your art style is soft and somewhat dreamlike. Everything flows in a very fluid way. Which artists are your influences?
I’m a nerd and I grew up with cartoons, anime, and fantasy books. I had a Lord of the Rings phase in high school where I’d buy all of John Howes books. Takeshi Obata also drew me in with his tight line work and intricate detailing. I’m also influenced greatly by artists I follow online and by my artist peers.
What are your current fandoms?
Oh boy, so I have a confession. I am currently neck deep in the Kingdom Hearts fandom, but in all honesty I have been a “fan” for less than a year. Starting specifically June 10th 2017, the first night of the Kingdom Hearts orchestra concert in Los Angeles. My best friend dragged me to see it because she’s been a longtime fan ever since the first game came out. Like any best friend, I paid $200 to go see a concert about a game I had never played. I sat through the entire thing pretending to understand what was going on while everyone around me was bawling their eyes out over these kids with giant keys dying or something. The car ride back was eventful as 4 different people tried to explain the plot of the entire series to me in the span of 20 minutes. I’m not entirely sure how much of that I actually retained but Yoko Shimamura’s work is just so inspiring. Even as someone who had no context for what anything was about, the emotions her music provoked was so powerful that it lead me down the rabbit hole. So essentially it snowballed from there and here I am now.
This month you’ve designed a Dungeons & Dragons item for us! Do you play Dungeons & Dragons? What’s your favorite Dungeons & Dragons class?
I’ve only played some casual roleplaying games but I’m in the process of setting up a legit D&D campaign with my friends. If i had to pick a class I’d be a bard.
Can you tell us a little about the design process behind your item?
I was really excited when I was told I needed to draw a dragon because thats really my bread and butter. Before I was even doing art seriously I was drawing them everywhere. It was a pretty straightforward process. I wanted to depict the iconic dragon from DnD breaking free of the board it was confined in and coming out into our world. Because after all isn’t DnD about jumping into these other world you create with your friends?
How has geek fashion played a role in your life and can you tell me about your personal fashion style?
I would describe my fashion as casual geek. I like gender neutral clothes with clean lines and solid colors, but I’ll throw in that subtle Genji Dragonblade sigil on occassion.
Tell us one fun or quirky thing about yourself!
I like elephants. And I have a growing collection of elephant parapenelia because everyone gets me elephant themed gifts. Also, if you like being happy, please follow the subreddit r/babyelephantgifs.
Do you have any words of inspiration for other women looking to go into your field?
Everyone finds their own path to where you want to go in life and some may take longer than others. With all these amazing emerging young artists, I’ve had this bad mentality that if I didn’t succeed in life in my early twenties I’d be a failure. I’ve learned to let that go because it’s just insane expecting to make it big so soon. Success can be defined in so many ways even if you don’t have thousands of followers or that perfect job with your dream company. I think you can still have a fulfilling career where you can work towards your goals.
Thanks for chatting with us, Ellen! You can see more of Ellen’s art on her website, as well as on Twitter, and Instagram!
Before we get to the amazing pictures of the March PLAYBACK themed Loot For Her EXCLUSIVE, make sure you’re ready to grab yours before March 19th at 9pm PST!
We’re proud to reveal the incredible design made just for us by Ellen! SPOILER WARNING: If you don’t want a spoiler yet, scroll no further!
Ready? Okay…. introducing, Ellen’s Dungeons and Dragons t-shirt dress!