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Life & Work with Drew Deng

Today we’d like to introduce you to Drew Deng. 

Hi Drew, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Creating has always been a labor of love me; being able to see the way that raw materials can transformed into something more. Art has always been a passion of mine because of how accessible it can be. Regardless of the time and place, people are able to change the shape of the world around them. My work builds on resourcefulness and human connection, exploring the ways that we can collaborate for progress. 

Until I was about 15 years old, I attempted to achieve realism, but in the end, it bored me. I began experimenting with those technical skills by distorting features on figures until I developed a style that I liked. However, my tastes have changed as I’ve grown, and it’s reflected in my work. My pieces always speak on a relevant lesson to my life in that time. I use my time creating to reflect on interactions and places which also makes me more attentive and appreciative of the world around me. 

My style is constantly evolving, but the message stays consistent. A more recent manifestation of this ethos comes to life through a project I co-founded called Casa Crea. It’s a bi-weekly artist meetup group to connect local artists across South Florida. We prioritize community and safety through donation-based events and watchlists to create a comfortable and intentional space. It’s inspiring to see my message in art being put into play at these events, and in turn to be inspired by the energy and amazing people that I have met through these events. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
One of the greatest challenges as an artist is the ability to maintain momentum. I strongly believe that physical, mental, and financial security are integral to allowing artists to continue their practice. Sustainability is a tremendous hurdle especially when your work can be unpredictable. It’s important to separate the value of your work through external perception from the true worth in your story, message, and time that was put into creating. My solution to this is positioning myself in spaces with people that align with my values. We all work to support one another, whether it’s buying each other’s work or sharing opportunities. It keeps me busy and motivated with causes I care for, surrounded by other passionate people that fuel me. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As a multi-disciplinary artist, I create with acrylics, air-dry clay, and photo-emulsive screen printing among other mediums. My artwork views life through a new perspective (figuratively and literally) through key features, such as colorful palettes and forced perspectives. By illustrating diverse and representational characters, any audience can easily connect with the emotions and people in my work. I aim for viewers to imagine what it would be like to exist within the worlds I create, which emphasize the pleasures of daily life. My artwork often invokes nostalgia by reminding the audience of people, places, and moments from their personal memories which brings new meaning and emotions to each person. 

What matters most to you? Why?
My work is all about bringing people together to have constructive conversations. My pieces are open to interpretation for everyone. When I create, I pour all these passions and thoughts from my truth in my experiences and hope for others to see a part of it. I enjoy allowing others to create their own narratives, creating new stories and using their imagination to expand the meaning. From the art I make to the events I organize; I want people to share a part of themselves so we can all learn and grow from each other. These pieces strive to bring out the best parts of people for themselves. 

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Image Credits

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