Sit back and enjoy the calming compositions of Mila Fan

Sit back and enjoy the calming compositions of Mila Fan

One of Mila’s biggest hurdles as a creative so far is that she graduated just before the pandemic. A tricky time for all – especially those just starting out – the job hunting process was made much harder. But this didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion: “It forced me to have a creative routine.”

Originally from Urumqi in western China, Mila moved to the UK 14 years ago. She gained a degree in Aberdeen and a master’s at Kingston School of Art, followed by a graphic design course at Shillington in London, where she’s now based. During her MA, she took on a role as house team leader at Camden Art Centre for a few years – “a friendly and creative environment with loads of activities and courses in which you’re constantly surrounded by art”. This kickstarted the motivation she needed to take on her own freelance jobs, plus a handful of curatorial projects on the side. “I’ve been doing bits and pieces really, just trying to work out what exactly it is that I want to do, and I think I’m nearly there.”

Despite the challenges, Mila has now landed on her feet as a freelancer. She’s developed a style that’s consistent and calming, where graphic illustrations are infused with pastels tones and minimal, “uncluttered” compositions. Usually, her works are swathed in a soft background colour – like a baby blue or beige – which sets the tone for the busier centrepiece. The subject matter for these tend to vary and it can be anything from a person jumping into a colourful hole, an artichoke head, some fish or a group of people walking about. Whatever it is she’s depicting, it will always link back to her own personal history in some shape or form. “Identity is an overarching theme,” she tells It’s Nice That. “My work is often playful and light-hearted. I somehow always end up exploring identity indirectly via food, as well as everyday aspects of a culture, especially my own.”

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