Artists in Quarantine: Mandy Wong

This is the first of our series Artists in Quarantine. We talk about the lives, interests and concerns of artists during the lockdown, based on ‘interviews’ with some of the artists we work with – some conducted by email (with a list of questions), some on the phone.

Artists in Quarantine: Mandy Wong - Discover Contemporary Art Prints & PrintmakingThe lockdown happened so fast, my first reaction was ‘Oh no, I’ve just mixed some paint, it’d be ruined when I get back to the studio!’

I’m new to East London Printmakers and to printmaking in general. I work professionally as a Visual Effect Artist. I started creating projects to tell stories – my experience of growing up feeling different, my joy at finding friends who I connect with and anything that interests me.

In the last 2 years, I started to make screenprints. I enjoy the physicality of it, as nothing beats getting paint on your hand! And that you can go to a beautiful print studio and meet some very generous people who have taught me so much.

I think that my printmaking skills will be rusty when we go back, and I’m not sure whether I will be able to design and make another print this year.

Coronavirus has made me question why people need art: it’s certainly not a matter of life or death? Surely, it is not essential, why would anyone pay money for my work in a time like this? How can I even talk about it? Despite my doubts, I am continuing with my work. I have started a new project called 100 Days of Cute Creatures on Instagram, and this will carry me through.

I actually feel more connected with my friends and family during the lockdown. Normally, I’m busy working and think they will always be there, and they can wait. I had a lonely childhood, and I only recently felt like I was surrounded by good people who understand me – and that inspired My Journey – The Celebration.

Artists in Quarantine: Mandy Wong - Discover Contemporary Art Prints & Printmaking

I have discovered that I don’t need very much more than that. I used to commute to work, work long hours, then spend money on things to ‘treat’ myself. I realised that I don’t need those things. I have underestimated the enjoyment that you can get from discussing the good and the bad stories with your favourite people – especially the bad! Also, of course, the love you feel when you hug and smile at each other in real life – which I miss.

For the past two years, I thought I was only telling MY story but without my friends and family, my story wouldn’t even exist.

See Mandy’s work as part of Made for the NHS Event.