April 5, 2013

Spotlight: Sashiko Yuen (Wishcandy)

 Sashiko Yuen aka Wishcandy brings to life our wildest fantasies.

Imagine a world without rules. A world of rainbow colors, rocker chicks with pastel hair, and an unlimited amount of junk food. This is a world that Sashiko Yuen (who you might otherwise know as "Wishcandy" on Tumblr) has invented and currently resides. With collections like "Rebel Grrrls" and "Food Erotica," it's obvious that her work is inspired by all sorts of pop culture. Her characters have a bad girl attitude that remind me of The Pink Ladies from Grease, Mia from Pulp Fiction, Veronica from Heathers, both of the Maries from Sedmikr√°sky, I could really go on forever. These "bad girls" combat the manic pixie dream girl stereotype by showing women as something other than a damsel in distress – Sashiko's drawings are strong, fearless, independent, and unafraid to rebel against gender norms. Sashiko, too, is all of the above – the LA-based artist responded "alien babes don't age" when I asked how old she is. She did, however, open up to us about many of the things that inspire her: The Shangri-La's, horror movies, feminism, and more:

THE LE SIGH: First off, we're big fans of Wishcandy. Your illustrations and paintings reminded us of an acid dreamland filled with badass ladies. Is there anything specifically that inspires you?

Sashiko Yuen: Thank you! I would definitely say growing up as a loner moving from town to town, growing up in the 90s, and blooming into a feminist has a lot to do with my art. I'm directly inspired by life, fashion, film, food, and retro culture.

TLS: Everything is so colorful. How do you do it? What materials do you use?

SY: I've been focused on watercolor on paper for the past two years, but I have an incredible soft spot for working with oil paints. My buttery lover. Looking to return to oil this year. 

TLS: I found out about your art via Tumblr and bought a print a few months ago. Besides Tumblr, how do you get your art out there?

SY: A whole lot of art shows, zines, publications, and various social networks!

TLS: Do you ever listen to music when you draw? If so, what?

SY: My music collection looks like it belongs to like 5 different people. I love indie rock, alt, punk, ska, hip-hop, trip-hop, oldies, metal, downtempo jazz, shoe gaze, electronica, the list goes on. 

If you're into specifics, I can dig it. Lately I've been listening to Ella Fitzgerald, The Shangri-Las, Wanda Jackson, Etta James, Francois Hardy, Royksopp, The Radio Dept, Deerhoof, Kemuri, Oh Bijou, Iron Maiden, Ursula 100. It really depends on my mood.

TLS: We noticed that your illustrations mix fun and gruesome imagery. What's your favorite horror movie?

SY: Oh jeez, do I have to pick one? That's torture. I don't just have one that I believe reigns supreme over all, but I really like: House (Hausu), Carrie (1976 Sissy Spacek, hello!), Rosemary's Baby, The Shining, and the Alien Trilogy. That last one may or may not be also classified as sci-fi, but so what? 

Quentin Tarantino films aren't quite horror either. I don't know what they're classified as, but I enjoy the complex women, fetishes, and blood involved.

TLS: You paint a lot of ladies. How does being a woman affect your art?

I've only experienced life as a woman. A woman who doesn't feel particularly feminine or masculine at any given time. As a person I'm pretty empathetic and open minded. I'm a feminist who fights for equality for all genders and sexual orientations. I just want people to feel comfortable with who they are and fight for their dreams.

I don't want women or anyone to feel like they have to obey societal rules. Or be any one way. Man or woman. Wear suits, glitter, read trash mags, and be a lawyer. Run around in dresses, unshaved, and rock out! 

TLS: Do you have any words of wisdom for girls reading this who are interested in art?

SY: In any creative profession I'd say it's important to constantly and consistently create work. Post it online. Take big risks. Don't let introversion or shyness get in your way. Lastly, if you don't work your dreams will never come true aka don't sit on your ass. 

For more visit Sashiko Yuen's website and online store.

Written by Diana Cirullo