Interview: Angel Wu, Drawn Undrew Draw

I'M FINE! is a project by the LINOLEUM Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival and Skwigly Animation Magazine. It is implemented with within the framework of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture.
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Angel Wu’s short film, Drawn Undrew Draw, is a self-questioning film about creativity through the process of drawing, which attempts to explore the idea that we are creators, rather than random people in the crowd. As a film that explores art as therapy, this made it a great addition to the I’m FINE! programme.

As a collaboration between Skwigly and Ukraine’s LINOLEUM festival, I’M FINE! is a project that focuses on the ways to maintain mental health and stay motivated and productive in a world that changes every minute.

The programme itself is a reflection on the emotional burnout from the best independent animation creators. In addition to animation film screenings, Skwigly will be featuring a series of interviews and podcasts with artists who share their experiences of going through emotional burnout. Today we present a conversation with Angel Wu about her 2020 short, Drawn Undrew Draw.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your film Drawn Undrew Draw, and your thinking behind it?

‘I am from Taiwan and I graduated in 2020 with my film Drawn Undrew Draw. The reason I called my work Drawn Undrew Draw is because I used to draw; then I stopped drawing for a while during my animation college life, and then after that, I [started again] as I had to graduate from art school. So these are the three stages of my school life and my animations.’

Going into the process, do you find that the process of animation, filmmaking, or other kind of areas around it, has any kind of therapeutic value in and of itself?

‘To me, my work in college is just like therapy; the whole process is about therapy, because I stopped drawing for a while, and I don’t have a good relationship with animation or drawing. The whole structure of my animation is five questions. Number one is how did you start drawing? And then when you draw on something like that, I just draw no matter what. So I draw a very tiny thing – just a line or a dog, I don’t want to think anything, I just want to do something with my pen or brush. And to me that is very therapeutic.’

© Angel Wu, Drawn Undrew Draw

Do you find that having to work to deadlines, either for your university or yourself, has any kind of positive or negative impact on how you structure your time in approaching a creative project?

‘I think it’s a positive thing. For me, there are no deadlines exactly, because the whole process is therapy. I found through asking the [above] questions – and the answers to those questions – why did I draw, how do I draw, why I stopped drawing, where are you drawn, and so on. I just draw and it doesn’t matter what I draw. So I think to me the deadline is very positive; I love the deadline because I can’t stop questioning myself and answering those questions.’

Did the lockdown situation – or other times of crisis you have experienced – present any personal challenges with regards to mood, mental health, or staying motivated? And if so, what kind of thing helped you overcome that?

‘When COVID hit, it was totally positive to me because I love to go exhibitions, the opera house, cinema, but everything [was] shut down so I had the specific time for invention, or drawing, so I can concentrate I think I [was] very lucky to have this pandemic while I graduated and [was] thinking about these drawing questions to myself.’

Following on from the last question, but more specifically, have you ever experienced burn-out? If so, how were you able to overcome it, and what kind of self-maintenance did you undergo to move through it?

‘I used to have a script for my graduate film and I had to draw a storyboard for it. But yeah, I was burned out so it turned to therapy, which is what I did for my graduate film. I started from very, very [few] illustrations, very [few] drawings, and cautioning myself. Yeah, it was a huge burnout.’

© Angel Wu, Drawn Undrew Draw

Angel Wu’s film Drawn Undrew Draw is part of the I’M FINE! animation screening is taking place at:

Original interview: Skwigly Online Animation Magazine

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