Gryphon Living

Introducing Fiona Tang

At Every Art Original

June 5, 2018

Free Art Exhibition
July 11th to August 24th
Mon – Fri 11AM – 4PM
5659 Dunbar Street, Vancouver


“My hope is to minimize the distance between human and animal. I want the viewers to engage with my work, either emotionally or physically, to be overwhelmed with a sense of vulnerability.” – Fiona Tang

Our love for the beauty in originality and our passion to share what we love led us to the creation of our summer exhibition “Every Art Original”, a brand new exhibition at the Gryphon Musée with the goal of bringing an immersive experience to the audience, reversing the passive relationship between the viewers and the artwork. We believe the purpose of art is to trigger emotion, whether it is joy, nostalgia, love, or vulnerability. With her large-scale, life-like drawings that masterfully plays with one’s perception, Fiona’s artwork seeks to bring viewers into her world, where she expresses her personal battles, struggles, and successes through the raw energy of wild animals.


Panthera Fiona Tang Gryphon Musee


Fiona’s work will surprise you with its ability to “leap” off the canvas through the use of a technique called trompe l’oeil, where shadows and perspective within the two-dimensional drawing are used to alter the viewer’s perception into thinking the piece is three-dimensional. The realistic and detailed drawings combined with its large size creates the illusion of real-life creatures emerging from the walls of the exhibition, provoking viewers to reach out and interact with the art.

Fiona captured our attention with her originality, and we are thrilled to present this emerging young artist to the Vancouver community as a part of the Gryphon Musée exhibition lineup, a place for both emerging and established artists to showcase their work. Our focus for the “Every Art Original” exhibition this summer is on youth in arts. Our goal is to create opportunities and dialogues both online and offline that can empower young artists like Fiona Tang and Caitlin Reid (our other featured artist part of this exhibition) to pursue their career goals as an artist. The campaign will also feature bi-weekly giveaways to encourage our followers and beyond to discover the art scene and up and coming artists in Vancouver. For more information on the giveaway, follow us on our Instagram account for instructions and updates!


Bettah Idea Fiona Tang Gryphon Musee


About Fiona Tang

Fiona Tang is a Vancouver-based artist who completed her BFA at Emily Carr University in May 2014 with a Drawing Major. Tang often works with charcoal, chalk pastel and acrylic in the style of trompe l’oeil. She frequently uses animals as her subjects and creates large, expressive, and energetic drawings. Her animal drawings are typically life-size or larger to encourage viewers to interact with her art. Tang has participated in group shows at the Concourse Gallery, Ayden Gallery, Richmond Art Gallery, The Fall, Anvil Centre, Wood Innovation and Design Centre, Vancouver Lipont Art Centre, a dual show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and solo shows at Queen’s Park Gallery and City Centre Community Centre. She was also featured in a public art project called “No. 3 Road Art Columns” in Richmond, BC.


squid Fiona Tang Gryphon Musee


See below for an exclusive interview we did with Fiona to chat about her career and her inspiration.

F – Fiona Tang
G – Gryphon Development

G: What led you to become an artist?

F: I first discovered my passion for art was when I was attending the University of Northern British Columbia. I was a science student majoring in Biology. Science came naturally to me—I understood and excelled at it. But being the top student in class didn’t satisfy me the way I thought. I wasn’t excited and all I felt was emptiness. I could not imagine dedicating my entire life to science when I could barely get through 4 years of it. After numerous counselling sessions, walks, and hikes, I decided to discover ways to feed my soul. This is when I found art and art found me. Sketching made me whole. My counsellor said to me “you have a lot of skills for science but no passion. And you have a lot of passion for art but no skills.” Either outcome wasn’t going to be easy, but I followed my heart. This was the beginning of my art journey.


G: Why did you choose the painting technique you are known for?

F: Through my large-scale drawings, my hope is to minimize the distance between humans and animals. I want the viewers to engage with my work emotionally and/or physically and be overwhelmed with a sense of vulnerability and wonder by the sheer size. Through interacting with these animals, the audience is made aware of their existence. The subjects are chosen with a strong urge to translate them onto paper and usually reflect what I am experiencing in my personal life at the time of execution. The animals help to represent abstracted forms of battles, struggles, or successes in my life. I retain the raw beauty in their forms, the energy, and the story behind the animal to my fullest capability through research. My subject and I truly become one through the act of drawing and my feelings are translated through the intense gestural mark makings and the use of trompe l’oeil.


Shark vs humpback Fiona Tang Gryphon Musee
Shark vs Humpback whale by Fiona Tang


G: What is your favourite animal to draw and why?

F: I don’t have a favourite animal to draw, it all depends on how I am feeling at that moment. The animals choose me and they represent my state of mind and emotion.

: What are some of your favourite past works?

F: One of my favourite works is “Shark VS Humpback Whale”. I was given a small enclosed space to work with and I remember thinking how I am going to make big drawings when I can barely step back. That is when I came up with the idea of pushing my art further with multiple trompe l’oeil points! I drew the shark right at the corner of the wall so that no matter where the viewers look, the mouth of the shark follows them. And I made the whale’s head emerge from a different angle to the shark which furthers the complexity of the drawing.


G: Do you have a muse? What are some sources of inspiration when you feel lost?

F: I go for hikes or long walks at the beach whenever I feel lost. I find meditating to the sound of waves and listening to the music of mother nature really clears my mind. I love watching animal documentaries! David Attenborough inspired my love for animals greatly. Thank you, Sir Attenborough!

salty Fiona Tang Gryphon Musee


G: What do you plan on doing next? Where do you envision for your artistic career?

F: I plan to become the voice for the animals, to bridge the gap between modern society and nature. To raise questions and awareness of the importance of animal conservations, and to work with organizations like WWF and Artists for Conservation in the future.


We thank Fiona for taking her time to chat with us. Follow us on Gryphon News to learn about our next featured artist Caitlin Reid – another emerging young talent making a dent in the Vancouver art scene.

Visit the Gryphon Musée from July 11th to August 24th, between Monday to Friday 11am- 4pm (except holidays) for a diverse series of large-scale artwork and landscape paintings by Fiona Tang and Caitlin Reid. Follow us on our social media for the most up-to-date news on the #EveryArtOriginal exhibition and our biweekly giveaway.