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Hye Jin Chung

Hye Jin Chung

Meet New York-based illustrator, Hye Jin Chung.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Singapore because of my father’s business and then moved back to Korea and spent my teenage and my first college lives there. I was a girl who loved to read and draw comics, but because of a small number of animation and illustration majors in Korea, I decided to study design. While I was studying design, I was interested in various design areas such as web design, graphic design, and editorial design. However, when my graduation date was approaching, I realized that I liked to draw the most. As I mentioned earlier, there were a few illustration majors that existed(I think only one or two) in Korea. They were newly founded, so I decided to self-taught and received illustration jobs one by one a year after graduation. As I was getting more illustration assignments, I felt I needed to learn more about it, and also, the illustration market in Korea was not good, so these situations led me to study abroad.

 

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

The city I live here has a lot of people walking with their dogs so that I can smell their pets’ pee every day. It sounds like I hate dogs, but NO! I like them, and since my apt is pet-friendly residence, I am always enjoying watching them, and they inspire me a lot. In my city, there are lots of events going on, so many museums and galleries to check out, authentic musicals are always showing, and you can taste various foods from all over the world… yes, I live in New York and no time to feel bored.

 

So many different people from different countries live here. People respect diversity.

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

I don’t feel bored, and I am inspired a lot from this city. So many different people from different countries live here. People respect diversity.

But not many people live in this city for a long period. This city has a unique aspect that people who come from different places stay here to achieve their goals and then leave soon. Of course, not all the people are like this, but in my case, most of my college friends went back to their countries/cities after graduation, so it is hard to keep a relationship with people for a long time. It is a lively city but a lonely city at the same time.

 

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

Thrilling. Awaken. Adventure.

 

How did you start your career in art?

My love for reading and drawing comics and the design aspects I learned from my major were mixed, and this finally made me become an illustrator. I started to live as an illustrator after graduation. In Korea, I made postcards with my art printed and handed out to people around, and In New York, I did the same.

 

My love for reading and drawing comics and the design aspects I learned from my major were mixed, and this finally made me become an illustrator.

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

Yes. I am grateful for this that people around me are always supportive, and they appreciate my talent. When I was a kid, my grandpa knew that I was interested in drawing comics, so he gave me a scrapbook with advertisements for some private schools of learning comics and clipped newspapers about the comic industry. My aunts like my illustrations and are still supportive- they buy the pins and patches I made and give them to people around as gifts. My mom and dad are the most supportive people; that is why I was able to study abroad. And my husband is the most supportive too and always cheering me. Even my husband’s family likes my art, so, yes, I am fortunate.

 

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

Generally, my goals are to be awakened in this field and to not be lazy in drawing. To keep drawing personal pieces so that my brain and body stay in a creative mode. Also, I would like to grow my product lines and have my brand shop.

 

Generally, my goals are to be awakened in this field and to not be lazy in drawing. To keep drawing personal pieces so that my brain and body stay in a creative mode. Also, I would like to grow my product lines and have my brand shop.

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

I want to collaborate with fashion brands. I am a sneakerhead, and it would be a dream work if I could collaborate with Nike.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

They are strong and independent. They know what they are good at.

 

They are strong and independent. They know what they are good at.

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

In Korea, students have to focus on the college scholastic ability test to enter universities. Many students pick their colleges not based on their talents but based on their grades. So when I was a teenager, all my friends were studying for college exams. There would be many people who had the potential for creativity. Most of them did not have a chance to show off their talents but they just had to study.

 

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

I don’t think there are any challenging aspects of being a female in the illustration field.

 

Keep drawing and go out to watch people, movies, or anything to get inspired.

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

I am not good at mingling with people and making new friends but one needs to be brave in making friends, especially in this freelance life. Also, keep drawing and go out to watch people, movies, or anything to get inspired.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Hye Jin Chung.

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