Abbie Siu is an illustrator who loves telling whimsical stories that ignite your inner child. She hopes to capture life’s small, fantastical moments through playful colour palettes and lively designs. Abbie is a recent graduate of Sheridan College’s Illustration program and a gallery assistant at Oakville Galleries. When she’s not hunched over her desk drawing, you can find her tending to her numerous plants and animals or scouring the streets for new treasures. Abbie has a passion for set design in all forms, whether it be for theatre, film, or photography. She began creating sets for musical productions near the end of high school for her school’s production of ‘Crazy for You’ at the Flato Markham Theatre.
In the past few years, she has designed sets for a variety of projects including plays, fashion photoshoots, art exhibitions, and storyboards. For her thesis project this year, she created a visual development package exploring two cities in a world built on a great oak tree. One city is built on a giant mechanical cricket that moves along the trunk of the tree, while the second city is amongst the tree’s incredibly expansive branches. The visual development package included set designs for a bedroom in the mechanical cricket and a hideout amongst the branches.
Abbie Siu has recently become part of the Crane Creations Theatre‘s prestigious Summer Ensemble 2023 as a Designer. This unique program offers aspiring artists in the Canadian theatre industry unparalleled work experience. The Summer Ensemble specifically recruits talented individuals aged 18 to 30, providing them with intensive, full-time training over several weeks. Participants not only acquire valuable skills but also gain invaluable experience in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.
What Will Abbie Gain In This Arts Job?
Artistic Skills: Explore classical and contemporary text, improvisation, and theatre around the world and their relevance and impact on art jobs and society today.
Orientation in Arts Jobs: Honest insight into professional organizations, structures and systems in place and how to navigate them successfully
Financial Skills: Budgeting and financial literacy delivered in a comprehensible and easy to understand way, tailored for theatre artists’ needs.
Leadership: Debate complex questions and develop ideas and strategies on how to build not only your career but the theatre ecosystem in Canada and Internationally.
Touring in Arts: Discover how artists around the world use international touring as a source of income, and learn how to create shows that can allow you to participate in that market.
Digital Skills: Discover how blog/content writing can earn you additional income, and promote your work, while mastering WordPress, one of the most desired skills in today’s job market.
Abbie is a recent graduate of Sheridan College’s Illustration program. Prior to college, she attended the Arts Unionville program at Unionville High School where she got her first set design job during the school’s production of ‘Crazy for You’. Since then, she has taken Schoolism courses along with her college curriculum in order to push her skills in background painting and set design for the animation film industry.
About Abbie. An Interview with Abbie.
Where Are You From Originally? What is your favourite thing about your home town?
I grew up in North York In a small, two-bedroom bungalow with my parents and three younger siblings. I started figure skating at a young age and spent most of my mornings at the rink. From Grades 4 to 5, I entered a competitive skating program, where I went to school for three hours a day and skated or trained for the rest of the day. I went back to regular school in Grade 6 since I missed the academic side of things, but continued training in the morning. In Grade 7, my family moved to Markham, and it was around this time that I started drawing more regularly again. I quit figure skating after I entered a visual arts program in Grade 9 due to a lack of time and altering passions.
Do You Have A Favourite Book?
My favourite book growing up was Anne of Green Gables because I related to her character a lot when I was a kid. I was always getting in trouble for similar situations and I shared a lot of her passions and interests. I also loved the landscape and period described in the book. My mom and aunts brought me to a lot of historical Canadian homes when I was growing up, and my aunt sewed me Victorian dresses that I wore to visit Black Creek Pioneer Village. My list of favourite books has grown since then, but my recent favourites are the Green Bone Saga, the Monstress series, and the Picture of Dorian Gray.
Do You Have Any Hobbies?
Some things I am passionate about are animals, plants, and boxing. Unfortunately, I am quite terrible at the latter two. You see, I injured my shoulder by slipping on ice while biking to the boxing gym in February and have been banned from boxing ever since. Tragedy has also struck my poor palm tree, and it has gone from a luscious, green umbrella overtaking my room to a shrivelled-up brown thing that is dying on my balcony. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic about my future in both endeavours. My dream for this summer is to be able to harvest at least one vegetable from my vegetable garden for each of my roommates.
Recently, I have become obsessed with woodworking and home renovation videos on YouTube. I’m still living in my college apartment, so I don’t have access to all of my dad’s tools anymore, but there is something super satisfying about fixing or building things around the house. I also really like playing chess, bouldering, and reading comics. However, my favourite pastime is spending time with my pets. I love going on hikes with my dog and watching movies with my cat. I try to take them anywhere I can, and my cat even has a bed in a locker in the art studio at school. Before my hamster passed away a few months ago, I loved taking him out into my backyard so that he could walk around and nibble on my mom’s cabbages.
We are a company that speaks many different languages. What languages do you speak?
I speak English and Cantonese.
What is a Project You Were a Part of or Something That You Did Related to Theatre, That You Are Proud of?
Something I did in theatre that was very rewarding was being able to design the sets for my high school’s production of ‘Crazy for You’ at the Flato Markham Theatre. I have always adored musicals but had never been able to participate in the production of one. It was amazing being able to collaborate with a director and lead a small team in order to bring the story to life.