We’re back with another artist interview! Now seriously, do you think an artist who creates Star Wars prints would escape my attention? Of course not! Thus, my infatuation with Tracie Ching was born. She’s the latest focus of our hard hitting questions, so check it out!
Nerdlocker (NL): Tell us about yourself.
Tracie Ching (TC): I’m Tracie Ching, a Hawaiian-Chinese-Polish girl who fancies herself as a graphic designer. I live and work in DC creating pop culture screen print portraits.
NL: I noticed on your webpage you enjoy “Being a dork. Playing ultimate. Drawing things. Eating ham.” Why ham?
TC: Why ham? This is why. I love it so much it’s my exit strategy.
NL: Since you live in Washington D.C., would you ever consider running for office? What would be your platform? I would hope free posters for everyone.
TC: Totally. My platform would be “free ice cream for everyone” and I would be the first to run an openly superficial campaign. The other guy might be concerned with “real issues” like budgets and reform, but my posters would definitely be better. Also, everyone who voted for me would get a cookie and a puppy so obviously I would win.
NL: Where do you find inspiration and what are some of your influences?
TC: As you might have noticed a majority of my work is inspired by movie or television characters. I have always loved classical portraiture and the work of artists like Ingres, Rembrandt, and Courbet, but the subjects of their portraits are often inaccessible due to obscurity or a separation of the viewer by hundreds of years. Pop culture/fan art is the perfect solution as it mixes fine art, and in my case portraiture, with things and characters current generations know and love.
NL: You are definitely a woman after my Nerd heart with your Star Wars prints of Admiral Ackbar and Princess Leia. Why start with those two characters? And who might you design next?
TC: I experienced my first crawl at the age of six, curled up on the couch in my mom’s original Star Wars bed spread. That day A New Hope spawned a new Nerd and a long, glorious romance with all things sci-fi began. It only seemed right to start my print career the same way I started my Nerd career.
I am not sure how many more SW characters I might attempt but I will be revealing a print featuring a Mr. Lando Calrissian at the end of July, so stay tuned!
NL: Who are some of your favorite artists?
TC: I am going to mix it up a little and go with David Rapoza, Robert Ball, and the incomparable Adam Hughes. If you don’t know the first two guys, check them out. If you don’t know the last dude, you need to go home and think about what you are doing with your life.
NL: What posters/art do you have on display in your house?
TC: There are quite a few, but some of my favorites include Olly Moss’s Trouble With Tribbles, Robert Ball’s Goodies and Baddies II, Carol Wax’s Hunter Zephair, and Josh Budich’s Super Mario Bros.
NL: As a woman, do you find it difficult to design and sell prints in a male dominated industry? Especially in the nerd genre?
TC: I wouldn’t say I find it difficult. I mean, in theory Nerd boys would be more likely to buy from a girl, right? Just so they can interact with one? In all seriousness, the Nerd art and print communities have accepted me with a great deal of warmth and it has been an enormous pleasure to work with them, but I am always acutely aware of being one of very few girls in my field. I mean, seriously. Where are all my ladies at? Are they all just out there working under manly pseudonyms?
NL: Why are there so few female Nerds?
TC: I have NO idea. It’s quite baffling. Do you think it was systematically bred out of the little girl population early on, or are all of them just covering up their secret Nerd-tendencies with false stories about Barbie’s playhouse? They should realize it’s OK to come out Nerd, but even if they choose to stay in the closet, we can at least look forward to future generations of lady geeks. No need to thank us now, future dorks. The generations before you only managed to popularize Nerd culture and provided you with a bounty of future Nerd-wives.
NL: I am extremely partial to Star Wars but I couldn’t help but notice you also have prints for Star Trek. So which is it Mrs. Ching, Stars Wars or Star Trek?
TC: Psh. Who says I have to choose? Star Wars takes place a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away. Star Trek and the Federation is where we are headed. You are asking me to choose between the past and the future? For shame, Jimmy.
NL: I concede that there are people who like both franchises. So what is your favorite Star Wars film?
TC: A New Hope. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” “Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” “Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level.” I don’t know if there have ever been more classic moments in a single movie.
NL: What is your favorite Star Trek film?
TC: Star Trek: First Contact. Data + Jean-Luc Picard + The Borg = No contest.
NL: What do you do in your free time?
TC: What free time? LOL. I work my 9-5 and then come home and work on prints and freelance work until I can’t keep my eyes open.
NL: Give us a Nerdy secret that most people don’t know about you.
TC: When I was a kid I was seriously obsessed with a Sega game called Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Despite the fact that it was my game, my younger brother lent it out to his spoiled friend who, after a number of months of refusing to fork it over, claimed his cousin lost it after lending it to him. Something like 10 years later I still get angry just thinking about it. Little bastards.
NL: Tell us about your most recent print, Selina.
TC: Selina was my entry for this month’s Raba-Ching Challenge, a friendly competition I run with my friend Adam Rabalais (for more on Adam, check out our interview with him here). Each month we pick a movie and at the end of 30 days we each submit a design. The challenge topic for June was Batman Returns (1992) and since I LOVED Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman I could think of no better subject for my entry. In the end she ended up being portrayed in a 4-color screen print standing tall at 12×36″, my largest print yet.
NL: And finally the big three, what is your favorite movie?
TC: I don’t have a single favorite. I never understood how someone could have one favorite amongst all the films ever created. To make it easier on myself, I am going to pretend you asked what is my favorite movie so far this year, to which I will answer, Avengers. Everything about it just worked for me. It was hilarious, they FINALLY got the Hulk right, and I sort of have the hots for Jeremy Renner so that was a win. Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect Iron Man, and it couldn’t have been more fitting that Agent Paulson was the uniting factor for the Avengers.
NL: What is your favorite video game?
TC: I’m a sucker for anything cute or pretty. Kirby, Fat Princess, PixelJunk Eden, Pikmin. I had a serious Puzzle Pirates addiction for about two-to-three years.
NL: What is your favorite comic book or comic book character?
TC: The Walking Dead. I’ve been reading it religiously for next to seven years now. A great zombie story shows us what happens when we’re exposed to extreme situations and Kirkman’s writing perfectly portrays the many facets of human nature.
And there you have it folks, one of my new favorite Nerd artists, Tracie Ching! Please follow Tracie and all her amazing designs on her website, www.tracieching.com, Deviant Art, Facebook and Twitter. Also, visit her shop and support an amazing artist, http://shop.tracieching.com/
Finally, we can’t thank Tracie enough for her generous donation for a Nerdlocker giveaway! Stay tuned for details, but rest assured, you’ll all want to enter for your chance at Selina!