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Meet Charis Loke — Our 2023 Summer Poster Artist!

One of our favorite traditions here at Clarion West is working with a new artist each year to create both our Summer of Science Fiction & Fantasy reading series poster and Write-a-thon art. This year, we are thrilled to feature the work of Charis Loke, a phenomenal illustrator whose art you may have seen gracing the cover of Fonda Lee’s forthcoming Jade Shards prequel collection!

On her website, Charis shares a little about her background and experience! Here’s an excerpt:

Charis Loke

I’m Charis, and I tell stories through images.

Based in Malaysia, I illustrate books, maps, and more. Thoughtful worldbuilding, Southeast Asian visual languages, and LGBTQIA+ characters: these are elements I value in projects, being ace myself.

I graduated from Brown with a ScB in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a transcript nearly half-filled with art and humanities courses. Since then I’ve journeyed through classroom teaching, place-based learning, and visual storytelling. Along the way I’ve been fortunate to work with artists, teachers, activists, and researchers. I recently completed an MA in Visual Sociology at Goldsmiths with an interest in drawing and mapping as arts research.

Here’s the amazing poster that Charis designed! (For those interested in attending the reading series, see here for more information and registration links.)

A poster with a cartographer figure painting worlds with a magic quill. Text reads: 2023 Summer of Science Fiction & Fantasy. June 27 Tuesday, 6pm PDT (Zoom) Mary Anne Mohanraj & Benjamin Rosenbaum. July 5 Wednesday, 6pm PDT (Zoom) Cat Rambo. July 11 Tuesday 6pm PDT (Zoom) Samit Basu. July 18 Tuesday, 6pm PDT (Zoom) Karen Lord - in partnership with the Seattle Public Library. July 25 Tuesday, 7pm PDT (Zoom) Arley Sorg with special guest readers Isabel J. Kim, Kristina Ten, Shreejita Majumder, Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga, Vida Cruz, Beatrice Winifred Iker. Aug 1 Tuesday, 7pm EDT (in person), N. K. Jemisin, supported by the Susan C. Petrey Memorial Fellowship, Astoria Bookshop 36-19 30th Street, Astoria, NY 11106, Hybrid Event: 4pm PDT (Zoom). Logos and accessibility information along the bottom.

Charis shared with us some of the inspiration behind the art for this poster:

The concept here is about maps being gateways to worlds, traveling through worlds via mapmaking — but also setting out to create new kinds of maps inspired by art across history, as embodied in the cartographer and the new doorway being in a somewhat batik-line style.

The stars take after the kinds seen in medieval woodcuts, and the maps are inspired by: Zheng He’s nautical charts, Ruth Robbins’ map for Earthsea, old Taiwanese painted maps, Minotaur maze mosaics from the Mediterranean, Pratchett’s Discworld cosmology, and public transit train maps, as well as video game maps and minimaps.

We are deeply grateful to Charis for building us such a wildly imaginative, gorgeous, and inspirational visual playground for our summer! Make sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and support through Patreon.

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