Tickets for the 24th Edition Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Nov 12 – 19) go on sale on Oct 15 across Canada. In the meantime, we are excited to introduce #reelasian24’s official Festival Creative Artist, Kristan Lai!
Kristan Lai is an emerging illustrator and visual storyteller working between Toronto, Canada and Pennsylvania in the United States. Inspired from growing up in the Poconos, her work focuses on reimagining environments, memories, and dreamscapes to connect rural and urban landscapes. On a different stylistic end, she also enjoys creating oil portrait paintings in-between illustrations. Kristan recently completed a Bachelor of Design from OCAD U’s Illustration program.
My work is often inspired by the environments I’ve lived in, imagined, and have traveled to. Furthermore, memories are a huge part of my practice. In the illustration titled “Nest” for Reel Asian’s 2020 Festival, I am recalling a memory of when my mother used to brush my hair when I was small. My hair would tangle really easily, break combs, and create huge knots—knots so huge to where my mother would say I have bird nests in my hair. She would joke and make chirping sounds by my head.
Then I thought about all the bird nests I see around my home; how they not only contained twigs, but animal fur, plastic, string, whatever they could find. Even my hair could also be material for a nest. All of these thoughts led to the illustration having multiple perspectives and moments captured in ink; snapshots of the same story.