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Decue Wu

Decue Wu

Meet illustrator and art director, Decue Wu.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Shenzhen, China, and currently, work as an illustrator and art director in Los Angeles and San Francisco. My multi-city lifestyle and cultural exchange experience provide me with rich creative inspiration. It’s my daily hobby to collect images of different cities and record them in my “city diary.” I am also an avid collector of all things fashionable, and as someone who is inspired by a large number of independent designers’ works, my particular style focuses on the combination of illustration and fashion. My work has been chosen for American Illustration and was also featured in the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. I have also collaborated with Armani Exchange, Louis Vuitton, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Vogue, ELLE and other well-known brand and media companies.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I am living and traveling back and forth between two different cities: LA and San Francisco. I have been living in LA for almost 3 years until I got a job offer in SF last November, but my partner and cat are still living in LA.

 

I love living in Los Angeles. LA feels so much more relaxed and friendlier than other cities, I think maybe it’s because it’s very diverse, and many energetic and young people come here from all over the world to pursue their dreams here, and people are more likely to collaborate projects with each other. LA also is very mysterious; it always surprised me when I randomly run into a hidden cafe, secret gallery or shops at the corner of the street. I enjoy the sunny, hot weather, and being very close to nature – I can escape to the beach, desert, or mountains within a 2-hour drive, whenever I feel tired from my work and the city vibe. I’m also passionate about LA’s authentic food scene; this is a city filled with people from all over the world and everyone brings their food culture with them. Since I have lived in LA, my illustration style and palette has really changed, and I’m now documenting my new inspirations into my illustrations.

 

My multi-city lifestyle and cultural exchange experience provide me with rich creative inspiration.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing is the diverse culture and people constantly collaborating with each other on all kinds of projects. The worst thing I will say is that I’m not used to the dry heat!

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Energetic

Freedom

Fun

 

How did you start your career in art?

When I was in college, my major was Digital Media Arts. I spent a lot of time on drawing fashion illustrations in my spare time. Gradually, people discovered my artwork on social media and some tried to hire me to create editorial illustrations for magazines and other publications. I realized working as an illustrator might be a way to make a living and pursue my real passion, so I applied to graduate school in the US. I have been working as an illustrator and designer in various creative agencies, and also working on freelance projects since 2014 after I earned my MFA degree.

 

I have been working as an illustrator and designer in various creative agencies, and also working on freelance projects since 2014 after I earned my MFA degree.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

I was a very curious child, but also easy to give up on things. I have taken piano classes, Taekwondo, Chinese traditional ink calligraphy, drawing, and dancing… but drawing has been the only passion that’s remained constant. I feel so grateful for my parents who always support me in throughout my passions and hobbies. They encourage me to pursue my artistic dreams and have always been proud of what I do.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I am building my experience and career towards art direction, this year. I want to be an art director in the future. Working as an illustrator for over eight years gave me a lot of opportunities to learn art direction from clients, designers, and stakeholders.

 

I am building my experience and career towards art direction, this year. I want to be an art director in the future.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

My favorite artist and illustrator is Lorenzo Mattotti, I love the way he designs the bold shapes of his characters, and he uses complementary colors very smartly to form his concepts. My dream is to work with him someday.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Women around my life are very strong, powerful, smart and independent. I learned that a lot from my mom; she always knows what she wants and how to achieve her goals. All my female friends are kind of my role models. The majority of them are from different creative areas, some of them are photographers, ceramics artist, painter, illustrators, and musicians. I always feel inspired by them.

 

All my female friends are kind of my role models.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

I have a cousin who loved to draw comics and cartoons when I was growing up. The most exciting thing to me during school holiday was to visit her and watch her create. She would show me all different kinds of cartoons she drew, based on animation series, and I dreamt to become her when I was a kid. I think maybe she was the inspiration that got me to become an illustrator.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

Of course, being a female in general, art or a creative industry, is way more hard than it is for males. I would say that for any industry. Society is still lagging behind when it comes to women in leadership roles. Women often struggle to access networks, traditionally managed by men. One of the biggest challenges I have experienced is confidence or lack of confidence to speak up, and being comfortable networking with other creatives.

 

Insist on pursuing your dream, don’t give up, go for what you want in your career, and don’t let other people decide what you should do in your life.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Insist on pursuing your dream, don’t give up, go for what you want in your career, and don’t let other people decide what you should do in your life. Support and empower other women around you together to build a safe and better network for our creative environment.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Decue Wu.

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