Manshen works as an art director of animated short films and commercials. Her illustrations though are considerably still. A vase of roses hovers suspended in the air waiting to drop and smash on the floor; people sit tensely in a waiting room; others sit or stand alone in blank color planes waiting for something to happen.
“I came from a background of fine art and animation,” Manshen says. “These two mediums require different ways of thinking. I try to avoid illustrating events and stories in a metaphorical or narrative way when I'm making personal artworks that are only one frame.”
It’s difficult though not to project story onto the characters in her motionless scenes. Perhaps it’s because the people in the artworks are real people in Manshen’s life – observations of her friends or people she runs into every day.
“I have a memory of them from every angle,” she says. “Even if I don't have time to do a live drawing session with them, the fact I know them allows me to draw honestly, rather than making up fake, dramatised figures.”
Manshen’s works aren’t only investigations of others, she also draws herself. But she doesn’t treat herself differently. “ Me is also a character,” she says, who interacts with her created environment in the same way as her other characters do, following the same stylistic rules.