Art Nerd City Guides: New York · Los Angeles

Dear Diary: YAO XIAO

I met the super sweet Yao Xiao at a party at Molly Crabapple and Fred Harper’s place this past summer, we shared some chartreuse and talked art. I love her gorgeous illustrations- many are of contemporary subjects (like Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus), but they all have a timeless quality that makes me feel a bit Gotham city. Yao captures the flawless glamor of the Golden Age of fashion (which to me is the 1930s and 40s), and renders it to contemporary subjects. Plus, her name means “Boundless Freedom” in Chinese. How cool is that?

Next to my piece ‘Saxophone’ at The Happening, a one-night pop up art party curated by Allison Sommers and Samantha Levin at Sky Light Gallery.

Next to my piece ‘Saxophone’ at The Happening, a one-night pop up art party curated by Allison Sommers and Samantha Levin at Sky Light Gallery.

The tools I use on my red side table: brushes, mechanical pencils, small vintage candy boxes I collect or got as gifts from friends. I’ve been writing a weekly blog series on tools and materials: http://yaoxiaoart.tumblr.com/post/57900760123/gears-of-the-trade-without-breaking-your-bank-illustrati

The tools I use on my red side table: brushes, mechanical pencils, small vintage candy boxes I collect or got as gifts from friends. I’ve been writing a weekly blog series on tools and materials: http://yaoxiaoart.tumblr.com/post/57900760123/gears-of-the-trade-without-breaking-your-bank-illustrati

late night inking on the drafting table: a blade-runner inspired illustration piece for Entertainment Weekly, depicting three pop divas as cyborgs being rebooted. running on little sleep.

late night inking on the drafting table: a blade-runner inspired illustration piece for Entertainment Weekly, depicting three pop divas as cyborgs being rebooted. running on little sleep.

Spending a Saturday afternoon making customized flasks for my table at the upcoming SPX—the process involves acrylic medium, an empty beer bottle, sticky hands, and sitcoms in Mandarin.

Spending a Saturday afternoon making customized flasks for my table at the upcoming SPX—the process involves acrylic medium, an empty beer bottle, sticky hands, and sitcoms in Mandarin.

24 ink drawings on torn watercolor paper I made for my Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/yaoxiaoart) followers were just mailed out this week—right now they are on their ways to Turkey, Ireland, Malaysia, Canada and many states in the U.S.

24 ink drawings on torn watercolor paper I made for my Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/yaoxiaoart) followers were just mailed out this week—right now they are on their ways to Turkey, Ireland, Malaysia, Canada and many states in the U.S.

Early morning: coloring on my 13” laptop a portrait of Awkwafina, female rapper based in NY, for an upcoming show at Bluestockings Bookstore. I’ll be doing live painting there too—I’m pretty excited for it.

Early morning: coloring on my 13” laptop a portrait of Awkwafina, female rapper based in NY, for an upcoming show at Bluestockings Bookstore. I’ll be doing live painting there too—I’m pretty excited for it.

Catching a photograph with Allison Sommers, back at The Happening. There was so much stunning talent at the show and I'm so thankful to Allison & Sam for putting it together!

Catching a photograph with Allison Sommers, back at The Happening. There was so much stunning talent at the show and I’m so thankful to Allison & Sam for putting it together!

Studio in afternoon light—I have a poster/postcard wall with my friend’s work all over it. This is where I spend most of my day, fingers covered in ink, with my cat nibbling at my feet.

Studio in afternoon light—I have a poster/postcard wall with my friend’s work all over it. This is where I spend most of my day, fingers covered in ink, with my cat nibbling at my feet.

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