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Jing Wei

Jing Wei

Meet New York-based designer and illustrator, Jing Wei.

Image by: Julia Hembree Smith

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in China, and I’ve been living in the US since I was seven. I enjoy the basic things in life with zero hints of guilt or irony: junk food, long walks in the park, a good rooftop sunset. I make drawings for a living, mostly digitally these days. Right now I have a pretty relaxed lifestyle and I really love that. My work has been very commercial thus far, but I hope to make more time to create non-client-driven work in the next few years. I think it’s starting to happen.

 

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

I’ve lived in NY for 11 years now, which is crazy to think about. It used to feel really chaotic, but now I find it to be strangely peaceful. I can walk around and be anonymous, and enter in and out of the stream of people going about their days. I’ve found an awesome community and a reliable routine, which helps create a nice feeling of stability. I like having that foundation, but the beauty of NY is that you can walk out the door and be surprised by something every day.

 

The best part is getting to meet people who inspire you and push you to be better.

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

The best part is getting to meet people who inspire you and push you to be better. And also having access to everything at all hours of the day and night. The worst part is those random awful and jarring moments that come along with living in a large and unpredictable city. Racism, subway fails, mysterious liquids that fall on you. And abnormally large rats.

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

Restless, squishy, curious

 

How did you start your career in art?

After I graduated from art school, I just started making things and sending out promos. Over time, I got hired to do small jobs that then turned into bigger jobs. Sometimes it still feels like I’m just starting out, and trying to make it all work. I don’t know if that’s a feeling that ever goes away.

 

I would say my parents, the RISD friends I moved to NY with, and my first studiomates were the people who had the biggest impact on my path and work ethic

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

Yes, absolutely. I would say my parents, the RISD friends I moved to NY with, and my first studiomates were the people who had the biggest impact on my path and work ethic. Sometimes you need help feeling motivated and committed to what you’re trying to do, and it’s invaluable to have supportive people around you during the tough times.

 

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

I would like to stay excited about the work that I’m making. This is something every creative person struggles with at one point or another, and I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with my peers who have felt the same fear of stagnation. I think it’s not really about getting certain clients or hitting industry benchmarks. Creative fulfillment is the larger and more important challenge, and I hope to be able to navigate the ebbs and flows of that in the future.

 

Creative fulfillment is the larger and more important challenge, and I hope to be able to navigate the ebbs and flows of that in the future.

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

Probably Paul Hollywood so we can make the world’s greatest illustrated cake or biscuit sculpture, a lifelong dream of mine.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

I am lucky to be surrounded by a plethora of insanely talented, inspiring, intelligent, hilarious and beautiful women. There are many more words, but those are some of them.

 

I am lucky to be surrounded by a plethora of insanely talented, inspiring, intelligent, hilarious and beautiful women. There are many more words, but those are some of them.

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

Despite being an engineer, my mother was quite creative. She loved to sing and dance, and she made everything by hand. So growing up, I was always surrounded by some sort of creation in progress, from food to clothes to toys. In college, I loved Tove Jansson’s work and started discovering female comic artists like Alison Bechdel, Marjane Satrapi, and Lynda Barry. Even though I don’t make sequential or narrative work, reading about their stories was very inspiring to me.

 

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

I think pricing has always been and continues to be a struggle. I would like to think that we’re turning a corner there but some days I’m not sure.

 

The road is very very long, so it’s worth it to take the time to discover your own voice and what you want to say.

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

Everything takes time, and there is no one way to do something. I think everyone wants to know the secret step-by-step to success, but you just have to be patient and keep making things. The road is very very long, so it’s worth it to take the time to discover your own voice and what you want to say.

 

 

Artworks courtesy of Jing Wei.

Artist’s portrait courtesy of Julia Hembree Smith.

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