Tracey Chan is a Trinidadian interdisciplinary visual artist focused on mixed media illustration, photography, and installation, which consist of organic lines and the human form. She has exhibited primarily in the Caribbean, co-curating four shows in Grenada. Her work has also been shown in international group exhibitions in the U.S., U.K. and Europe. Tracey is one of the directors and co-founder of art collective 4Hr Nap, and currently resides in Trinidad & Tobago as a graphic designer, fine artist, and art project manager. Her love for art and creativity has helped her acquire 1M+ followers on Pinterest.
We recently caught up with Tracey to ask about her month-long inspiration trip, other travels and her creative projects.
You’re an artist, photographer and writer. Which one was your first interest and how did you become the accomplished artist you are today?
I’ve always been a creative person, so artistic pursuits are a natural fit for me. Although writing came first, I’m focused more on my visual arts career. I knew I eventually wanted to have my own business, so I also studied business marketing and management. Setting up a proper art practice and work schedule is important even if you work from home. It’s been an ongoing learning process for the past decade for me but that’s how I keep my career moving forward.
What are some of your biggest achievements in writing?
I’ve written some articles for Arc Magazine and started a blog in 2001. I also have a collaborative e-book called The Inspired Way, about self-discovery.
When did you start using Pinterest, and what was it that caught your attention?
It was about two or three years ago. I was directed to it by a friend who works in the tech industry. I’m very visual and like collecting things that inspire me but I was running out of room in the house to keep everything in one place! Pinterest has helped me replace my physical scrapbooking with a more organized, less space-consuming, digital format. I think the technology is amazing.
You’re the co-founder of 4Hr Nap, which curated Grenada’s first all women’s art exhibition, WOMA. What inspired you to do this project?
When I lived in Grenada, I was working with my friend Stacey on formulating the Women Make Art exhibition. Stacey wanted to do the show in honor of International Women’s Day and only showcase work from female artists. Although there’s a long-standing history of female artists in Trinidad, an exhibition like this had never been done before. Our first show was in 2011. It was so successful that we did it again in 2012 and Caribbean Beat magazine covered the show!
Do you use Pinterest as a portfolio to showcase your personal work at all?
I have on occasion and I plan to do more of it in the future. It is definitely a great tool for all kinds of creative people to market themselves.
You recently went on a one month inspiration trip. Tell us more! Where did you go? What did you do?
I’ve been on a long hiatus from artwork so I decided to do an inspiration trip along the East Coast of the U.S., spending time in New York, Washington D.C., Georgia and the Carolinas. I did a lot of sightseeing with friends, visited incredible museums and ate amazing food. I get a lot of inspiration by immersing myself in a different culture and recommend travel to anyone who is looking for inspiration!
The trip rejuvenated my senses. It has pushed me to come back home to get my routine in order, to be more organized and focused on my goals ahead.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists, or those who wish they were more creative?
Creativity should never be something you need to force yourself into, though the practice helps for those who are stuck in ruts.
Reading books is one step in a positive direction and may be the first step for someone interested in improving their creative life. I recommend reading “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
Honestly, a break helps. You have to shutdown and reboot yourself. If Stefan Sagmeister takes a few months off just to explore and get new ideas, you can too! There’s nothing wrong with it. Yeah, you might disappear for a while but this is your own journey.
Where do you see yourself in 6 months to a year?
I’d like to do a couple more exhibitions and revamp my curriculum. As an artist, you have to keep learning new things to stay in the game. I’d love to travel for art courses or art residencies, as well as projects and collaborations with other artists around the country.
If you would like to follow Tracey and her work, visit her social links below: