Founder of Art World Expo, Monika Blichar goes into interview mode with AWE 2014 Exhibitors to search for the meaning of art, the stories within each artist, and the inspirations behind creativity to be found at Art World Expo 2014 in Vancouver, BC. Presenting Elaine Kao, Dino & Panda Inc.
Elaine Kao~Power Ranger at Heart
As a returning artist from Victoria, BC, Elaine has demonstrated growth and artistic transformation since participating for the first time in 2012. Her art and style is not only eye catching, light and fun, but the message that she holds behind the creativity she pours out into doodles, canvas and merchandise is by far the best part of why it is so important to support the arts in our regions as well as globally. Quoting from her fan page which now has over 54,000 fans on Facebook, her motto is “Art work dedicated to making you smile”. Simply perfect.
1) When did you start making art?
My parents say I used to draw snowmen when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old (holding the crayons with a fist). My first big inspiration for wanting to be an artist was after watching Sailor Moon (a Japanese animation) when I was in grade 1. After that I spent most of my time drawing the characters and became really interested in the Japanese anime style of art. I always enjoyed art class throughout grade school. In grade 12, my art teacher let me do my own thing in the back of the room because he knew I could do the exercises he was making everyone else do. That was the first time I painted on canvas with acrylics. Then, against the will of my parents, I applied and got accepted into the Visual Arts program at the University of Victoria.
2) How do you feel about the art scene in our province?
I don’t know about the rest of the province, but I always find that Vancouver Island, and Vancouver have lots of exciting things going on. The art scene is definitely growing every day as young artists are being given more and more opportunities to show and share their work and love of art. I especially love events that bring the community together. One of my favorite events is the annual Art Gallery Paint-In (Victoria, BC.)
3) Describe your goals for your art practice.
My goals in art and everything is to become better and better, and perhaps along the way discover new skills and talents. Recently I’ve been really interested in the 3D painting of Riusuke Fukahori and Keng Lye. I’ve been busy with school so I haven’t had a chance to experiment with resin and painting 3D yet, but one day! On my Dino & Panda fanpage my tagline is “Artwork dedicated to making you smile.” I’d say that’s my biggest goal and motivation when I’m making art. Of course, I’m only human, and I have some sad days which gets translated into my artwork, but I think my fans can connect with those moments too, because I believe I’m not the only one dealing with the curve balls life throws.
4) How has Social Media helped your art career? (specifically your 54,000+ fans on Facebook)
At first, I was just using social media to share my artwork and random doodles with my friends but it quickly grew into an awesome way to spread my work even farther…all the way around the world, in fact! I think it’s the greatest motivation to have people from all over the world connecting with my artwork and cheering me on even when I’m down I know everyone says this, but I have the best fans ever! Fans sometimes send me messages about commissions or drawing requests which I’m happy to work on. Other fans message me just to tell me their story about how one of my drawings may have held special meaning for them and made them feel better after a bad day. Without social media it wouldn’t be possible to connect with so many people.
5) Do you have any special talents or interesting goals you would like readers to know about you?
I’ve been playing the piano since I was 6, and the ukulele since grade 6. I actually teach piano and ukulele! I’m also practicing guitar on my own. I love to sing and I have a bunch of cover songs on Youtube in a few different languages. Other than music, I am a language nerd and there are 7 languages I want to become fluent in (Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, and Greek.) I also speak Cantonese
6) If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?
I would be a Power Ranger. Other than that I’m pretty much doing what I want right now, working hard on becoming an awesome teacher!
7) Who inspires you to make art?
Everyone, everything, everywhere and anywhere. From real people to fictional characters, everyone has a story to share and there’s bound to be something interesting!
8) Where can readers purchase your art?
I haven’t had time to look into establishing an online store, and I also don’t have much merchandise yet, but if anyone is interested they can just send me an email, or message on the fanpage. Everyone is welcome to visit me at the Art World Expo, of course! Become a fan of my Dino & Panda and I’ll post updates whenever I will be appearing in art shows!
9) Why do you feel art is important to the individual and to society?
I think art is important to the individual and the society because it’s a way to express opinions, and feelings which may be hard to put into words. Personally, art has been a very important aspect of my life because I’m inherently introverted and I used to be the shyest person you could ever meet. Without art and music as outlets I might as well have been invisible, letting everything, good and bad, build up inside until I explode and disappear. It’s important to understand that you are a valuable person within a society and your story is worth sharing. No one is ever really alone, after all! Besides, creating art is, in most cases, the least destructive thing a person can do when dealing with anger, frustration, and all those negative emotions. Even if a person claims to be the most artistically challenged person in the world, they can still appreciate and connect with the visual stimuli they encounter in their surroundings.
10) Lastly, what do you like about being in the Art World Expo showcase?
I love being a part of the Art World Expo because I get to see many different styles and disciplines of art from many artists. It’s both inspiring and encouraging. Because I’ve been in the Art World Expo for a few years now, it’s exciting to see every aspect of the show improving each year.
To learn more about Elaine and Dino & Panda Inc., visit her fan page on Facebook: