Printmaking Medal Winner Annyen Lam
Q. Where did the inspiration for your work come from?
Reading Philip Pullman as a teenager, prior to applying to OCAD U, sparked my fascination with alternate worlds. Geography and location have since been important to my work; I am very interested in the relationship between the mental and physical experiences of specific places.
More recently, I began working with Japanese paper. Its remarkable strength and flexibility inspired me to investigate its sculptural possibilities in tandem with my studies in printmaking. Aside from printing on it, I began to cut away at it.
Even more recently, in my last semester at OCAD U, I took a course called "Ways of Telling: Aboriginal Literature and Narrative Tradition," led by Mark Dickinson. Where my thesis is concerned, I'm indebted to the materials presented in that course. With the intention of commenting and building upon wonderful storytellers such as Francois Mandeville and Leslie Marmon Silko, my piece evolved into an installation. The transformation was rapid, but organic. Installation offered me the opportunity to collide my previously divergent practices of printmaking and paper-cutting.
Q. What part of your project are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of trusting myself.
This project has been an immensely valuable lesson in having an idea and charging at it with everything you've got despite self-doubt and other demons. Risk is necessary for growth.
Q. What was your reaction after you found out that you were the Medal Winner for your program?
I was told the news in person and couldn't believe it at first — I immediately had to sit down due to shock! Shortly afterward, I took a long walk by myself, where I reflected on how much of an honour it was to be selected and to have had amazing support from everyone in my program. I was, and still am, immensely humbled and grateful.
Still, I don't think I fully registered what had happened until I started moving my work into the Great Hall.
Q. In looking back at your time at OCAD U, what is your fondest memory of the program you were in and what will you miss the most?
I have trouble isolating just one great memory out of countless round-the-clock sittings at the print studio. I am extremely fond of the talented friends I met and of the unforgettable lessons I learned from the professors there.
I will dearly miss the community of the Printmaking department. Every day within that shared space, I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was to work with people so energized and so willing to help one another. In many ways, it became my second home and family.
Q. What are your plans after graduation?
I'm getting a pretty severe case of the travel bug so plans are underway to take off somewhere. Meanwhile, I'm keeping busy with two group shows in the works and making smaller paper pieces to explore several post-thesis ideas. I just want to keep my mind elastic!