we’re programmed to celebrate the beginning or the ending, but rarely the in-between


ART  .  March 17th, 2021

Can we get a little intro about you?

I’m a Chinese artist currently based in Toronto. I grew up in between Hong Kong and Toronto. 

How is it for you to be an artist in Toronto?

There is a very vibrant creative energy and community in Toronto. With the help of arts organizations like Artscape Daniels Launchpad last year, I was able to create work during the pandemic. So I think it’s important to contribute to the creative community whenever possible so that more creative work can be nurtured. 

You have a thing for portals, don’t you? How is it to live in between?

Portals are opportunities for discoveries, for me it is a place of comfort and tranquility where I find some source of inspiration. Every time I enter a portal it leads me to deeper and unexpected things. Sometimes I get this feeling like we’re programmed to celebrate the beginning or the ending, but rarely the in-between. My artistic goal is to explore the time and space in portals and learn to play with the nuanced emotions within the in-between.

What’s a portal and how do you enter them?

For me, Portals may not necessarily be a door but more of an opportunity to understand some culture, or at least some of the parts of it that I find interesting. To find a Portal you have to look further derogatory stereotypes and be open-minded, to see the world as a meaningful and brilliantly intelligent place that can reveal something about us.

Can you tell us about your “portal morph” project? Where are these taking us?

I am exploring our relationship between the digital and physical on a conceptual level. All visualizations are created with a GAN-based AI algorithm, that interprets previously drawn Portals. It’s this paradoxical idea that we are no longer the creators of our work, but the machine is becoming both the collaborator and the spectator that regulates the creative process. Another conceptual theme I’m exploring is the subtle feelings between online and offline.

Are you focusing on the switch online/offline? Are you someone that gets lost in the internet?

With everything digital becoming more invasive and personal, we’re constantly switching between online and offline seemingly effortlessly, and this reality is hard to neglect.

How would you describe your style? 

Surreal and meditative, I am interested in capturing an overall feeling rather than a specific image. 

What do you listen to when you’re working?

Polo & Pan, Chaka Khan, Gabriel Garzon-Montano, anything funk, soul, or disco always gets me in the groove. 

You’ve illustrated articles about covid, finance, Wonder Woman… What would you like your next commission for a newspaper to be about?

Usually, these commissioned opportunities see my work as relevant for the topics that they’re covering, so I see it more as a collaboration or an exercise in some way, rather than something that is tailored to my preferences. But the environment and human behaviors are things that I’m interested in drawing, so these two.

What was your favorite thing to draw as a kid? 

Some of my favorite things to draw as a kid were these fictional characters, inspired by childhood classics like Disney Fantasia, Thumbelina, Lion King. I’ll be revealing them in my next series. 

To finish, could you share with us some artists that inspire you?

Emma SternIzumi KatoJeff LadouceurJJ CromerScarlett YangEmily Ludwig ShafferLindsey KircherTim Irani

Bernice Liu aka Spime, is a chinese artist based in Toronto. You can follow her on instagram and check out her website.