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An Illustrative Eye: Paintings by Chrystal Chan

A painting of a young girl with a house balanced on her headWhere My Mind is My Heart is Also, oil on board

Painter Chrystal Chan works with an illustrative eye, painting strange scenes that echo the vignettes of classical figure painting, but seem like they could be pictures accompanying a grand fairy tale. Born and raised in California, the artist has always had a special interest in the spiritual and occult worlds, and many of her paintings express these ideas, as well as simple feelings projected into tangible scenes.


A painting of a young woman herding several wolvesThe Shepherdess, oil and gold metal leaf on board

Technically, the works are beautiful – realistically composed but with just enough blending and soft-focus to add an air of mystery and make the scenes seem a little bit dreamy.


In spite of the mysterious tone, Chan’s works are never less than inviting. Animals and deep forest scenery are often present, and her figures tend to look and dress in a modern style. The figures could be me or someone I know, perhaps having a dream, or having found a portal to another world during their everyday routine. 


A painting of two young women holding gold and silver hearts on pillowsRefined Purity, oil on board

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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