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Ellie Jungeun Suh

Ellie Jungeun Suh

Meet graphic designer and illustrator based in Hong Kong, Ellie Jungeun Suh.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a Hong Kong-based graphic designer and illustrator. I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I currently work for in DFS, a luxury travel retailer, where my main job is to produce illustrations for their holiday campaigns.

 

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

It’s very multi-cultural. I love it because I meet so many different people from dynamic backgrounds. People here are very open and warm. It’s also very crowded; to me, it’s basically the New York in Asia. The transport systems are the bomb. Everything is so packed and close to each other, so you don’t need a car.

 

It’s very multi-cultural. I love it because I meet so many different people from dynamic backgrounds.

 

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

Essentially, the rent is CRAZY. It’s my first year working after graduating so I’m still trying to find a way to handle the financials better. The best part of Hong Kong is that I’ve made many amazing friends who are super supportive (especially from the creative industry), so I feel blessed to work and live here every day.

 

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

To survive in Hong Kong as a creative, you need to be independent, up-to-date with trends, and very responsive.

 

How did you start your career in art?

Well, it was really easy for me because art was only one of few things that I was good at as a kid (though true for me now too, haha). I enrolled in Sun Hwa, an art-centric high school in Seoul, as a painting major and studied there for 4 years. Then I went to art school during my college years –as everyone expected– and decided to study something more practical to impact people and brands directly, which I found was what graphic design exactly was.

 

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

Yes, they were. My dad even read a bunch of art-related books to communicate with me better. My family and relatives were more than 200% supportive of my dream. I am really grateful. I think it’s also because my mom had been a fashion designer and model, and my uncle is a movie director, so with the creative blood in my family, everyone was more receptive to my goals. Because educational background, most of my friends are somewhat in the creative industry too, so we are very supportive of each other. I love having nerdy-designer-conversations with my friends.

 

With the creative blood in my family, everyone was more receptive to my goals.

 

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

For now, I am really happy with my job as an illustrator/graphic designer at DFS. I also do fun projects with interesting clients during the weekend (shhhh) but one day I’d like to become an independent illustrator full-time.

 

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

I want to design album covers for all the musicians I love. But if I have to choose, I’d pick Lizzo. Her music saves me every day.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Supportive, loving, ambitious, and caring to one another.

 

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

Jane Alexander. I love her sculptures; her work boldly talks about politics and social issues without a filter. They’re very easy to understand too. The way Jane executes her work is so smart: she often puts a common subject in surreal settings and that type of contrasts shocks people.

 

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

A male colleague felt so disturbed when he saw that my mailbox on LinkedIn had received a lot of messages that would say stuff like: “Hi Beautiful”, “Where do you live”, or “Cute Smile”. I previously thought that getting these kinds of messages from people on LinkedIn was normal, but turns out it only happens to women. It’s not flattering at all, because LinkedIn is where we represent ourselves professionally. It’s there for you to promote your business side and look for job opportunities, so it is very disappointing when it happens.

 

Don’t change who you are. Don’t be afraid to tell your stories in your own voice. Love one another, and learn more often than compete.

 

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

Don’t change who you are. Don’t be afraid to tell your stories in your own voice. Love one another, and learn more often than compete.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Ellie Jungeun Suh.

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