Equal parts bold, playful, and grounding, Stephanie Cheng’s work embodies the kind of timeless joy that makes you inhale a little deeper when you look at it. Having met Stephanie in person, I can tell you that the warmth and intention you feel in her work is very much so reflective of who she is as a person.
Stephanie Cheng is a Toronto-based designer, illustrator, and screen printer. In addition to her in-house line that features art prints and homewares (her woven throws are beautiful!), she’s designed and printed original artwork for bands like Radiohead and Childish Gambino.
For the Toronto sports fans among us, Stephanie has a collection of screen prints featuring beloved Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, and Toronto Maple Leafs players. Two favourites of mine are The Champions print to commemorate the Raptors 2019 NBA Championship win and the Baseball Moustache Hall of Fame puzzle (that’s right, she makes puzzles!).
One of the beautiful things about craft is that it invites us to slow down and explore, to sink into the context of its maker. In that way, a handcrafted piece acts as a portal to another world. For me, Stephanie’s work is just that—a window into another experience. I can look at one of her prints and imagine the weight of my body on a beach in Italy, the delight of exploring Mexico City after sunrise, or the joy of my hometown erupting after the Raptors first NBA Championship win.
I’m excited to see where Stephanie’s art practice continues to take her and her in-house brand, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of her recent textile exploration!
Q & A with
What’s the best thing someone could say about your work?
The highest compliment is always hearing about the positive interaction people have with my artwork. I often hear from supporters that my prints are calming and bring welcomed tranquility into their homes. My favourite conversations at craft shows are always with the high school students thinking about their futures. I’m always impressed with the thoughtful questions they ask.
What’s your favourite part of the creative process?
My favourite part of the creative process would have to be the brainstorming phase, when research and inspiration turns into a tangible concept. Although, it is also very satisfying to hold a completed (successful) print in my hands. Ha!
What three words best describe your work?
Strong, exploration, colourful.
What are you curious or excited about right now?
I was experimenting with natural dyes a lot during the early lockdown stages of Covid. I am looking forward to working that technique into my textile pieces in the near future.
“If we want more BIPOC artisans to take part in shows they need to see BIPOC people at the top, knowing they will be supported.”
— Stephanie Cheng
Between the pandemic and the social justice movement for Black Lives Matter, there have been so many big collective shifts over the last few months. What are some changes you would love to see within the craft industry?
I want to see more BIPOC makers in leadership roles within the craft community. Having 1 POC in a group of 12 white makers strategizing about diversity and inclusion is not what I mean, either. If we want more BIPOC artisans to take part in shows they need to see BIPOC people at the top, knowing they will be supported. If you’re a BIPOC starting your craft career and have questions on taking the next step please get in touch!