My birth name is Çiğdem (pronounced Chi-dem). My parents used to call me Chi-Chi when I was a kid. I found it very amusing back then. ChiChiLand represents a playful universe inspired by nature and my subconscious mind.
Apparently in some languages “chichi” means “breast”, so I sometimes get some raised eyebrows and giggles, especially from Latin America. You know what, I don’t mind. There could be worse things to be associated with!
I create soft happy worlds filled with colours, patterns, characters and creatures.
I have a number of really cool projects I am currently slowly developing. One is a collaboration with a local, Seattle-based photographer; another is a Virtual Reality experience we’re building with my husband and creative partner, Quba.
It is really tough to keep them under wraps and to not share them with the world, but it is still way too early for previews and announcements.
Before working as an illustrator/artist, I was a motion designer. Back then my personal style always had to take a back seat to the clients’ brand identity and campaign look. Years of working as a commercial designer nearly suffocated my artist side. I wasn’t happy, so something had to change.
Quba suggested that I start a daily drawing project. I would make an illustration with a random theme every day, but work on it for no more than an hour. That’s how ChiChiLand Everyday project was born. I kept at it for two years, and you can clearly see the evolution of my style throughout this period. Looking back now, the project really helped me feel grounded, gave me a creative structure and a path to finding my true style.
I think the real-time graphics will be the next big step for both digital design and art. We will see more artists exploring XR as an expressive medium, not only in the service of video games, but through immersive virtual worlds and art experiences.
Until now I would often collaborate with CG artists whenever I needed my work adapted into 3D. Recently I started modelling characters myself, and I hope it will help me achieve a greater level of technical fluency in these new mediums.
As a freelancer I can never see that far into the future when it comes to client work, but as always, I will be pursuing meaningful collaborations. I'd like to create more work based on characters and organic worlds.
I also love seeing my works in the wild; as physical or digital products, apps, apparel, packaging etc.
I shall not rest until the entire world is populated with my cute creatures and happy designs.