[ATAS Artist Spotlight] Nan Cao: “Looking for ideas and courage from books”

In our ATAS Artist Spotlight series, we take a deeper dive into our artists through their work and the creative process and stories behind them.

Nan Cao is a New York based artist known for her emotional, delicate, and sensitive multifaceted illustrations. Her artwork is influenced by her daily life in the big city and the art that she sees in museums. When Nan is not drawing, she enjoys reading, strolling around museums, walking in the park, and swimming. Although Nan does not have a specific motto that she goes by, she enjoys “looking for ideas and courage from the books” that she reads in each time period.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


“I hope my artwork can at least bring some relief to people’s heart and some smiles to their faces”

What is your creative process?

Nan: I will do a lot of thumbnails and sketches to find out the best way to convey my ideas before starting my final piece.

Which one of your works is your favorite?

Spring / Mixed Media

Nan: To be honest, I don’t have a favorite piece yet, it’s still hiding somewhere in my head and waiting for me to find it.

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?

Nan: Italy.

What is your favorite piece of artwork that is not your own?

Nan: I like Vincent van Gogh’s work a lot.

What do you listen to while you work?

Nan: Music with beautiful melody or some TV shows.

Why did you decide to become an ATAS artist?

Nan: I really love my grandparents and have been living with them since I was born. Also, I know how sad and suffering it can be when you get something in your life but can’t find a way to solve it. I hope my artwork can at least bring some relief to people’s heart and some smiles to their faces.


You can check out more of Nan’s work on her Instagram, Twitter, and ATAS Artist portfolio.

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