PHOTOS BY isabelle edwards
STORY BY BRITTANY HODGES
Everyone has a dark side, even Kathy Ng’s whimsical, childlike characters. She jokingly admits that when she was younger, her main goal was to “gross people out” with her bizarre and fantastical sketches. Often, she succeeded. One notable manifestation of this objective was a sad guy named Marx, who Kathy created in middle school. Marx had a baseball head, football torso, and blood that flowed from his eyeballs. He may appear nightmarish to us, but for Kathy he was the start of an incredible fascination with character drawing.
The Ng family, however, was not yet convinced. When Kathy arrived at Brown she was set on the Pre-Med track, working towards the life of a doctor. But it was not meant to be. Thermodynamics and calculus just didn’t call her name as loudly as animation and painting. Fortunately, Kathy’s parents were appreciative of her somewhat maniacal sketches and became supportive of her artwork.
Throughout her time in college, the childlike quirk of Kathy’s characters has remained. The ominous undercurrent that used to characterize her work is evolving to be more fun and colorful. She enjoys toying with humor and puns. But even now, she will still sometimes incorporate acerbity in her drawings to add an unexpected twist to a seemingly innocent image or character. Altogether, her goal is “for people to be pleasantly amused and confused”.
In ten years, Kathy hopes to work in a small animation studio where all artistic styles are welcomed. Her biggest dream is to create, direct and produce a film that’s half as amazing as her favorite movie, “Spirited Away.” Besides animated films, much of Kathy’s inspiration stems from Japanese art, particularly the Edo period of Japanese history. This era was defined by an explosion of artistic activity by urban townspeople. “Weird art and monsters” appeal to Kathy the most, and she incorporates these interests into her artwork.
When encountering her funky hand-drawn characters, Kathy “hopes people have fun at the very least, even if they don’t understand it, because I don’t understand it.”