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Khoa Le

Khoa Le

Meet illustrator from Ho Chi Minh, Khoa Le.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a freelance illustrator, based in Ho Chi Minh. I do mostly book and picture book illustrations, but sometimes I do paintings and exhibitions. I live with my 4 cats.

 

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

Ho Chi Minh is a young and very busy city. Life here can be stressful at times, but in exchange, it gives people lots of choices and opportunities.

 

Life here can be stressful at times, but in exchange, it gives people lots of choices and opportunities.

 

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

The best: the old integrating with the new

The worst: you never feel at rest with such speedy life the city leads

 

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

Young, ambitious, hard-working – to my best understanding that how creativity in my city’s like, yet not what I feel like.

 

How did you start your career in art?

Since I was young I always found myself doodling whenever I had free time (sometimes even when it was not free time!) Then I got into art school and started to make my living with all jobs related to art. In the end, I found illustration satisfied me most, as I am somewhat of a storyteller myself. Occasionally I have books published, which I am both the author and illustrator. I always find much joy working in illustration (besides some normal and frustrating art-blocked phase an artists would find him/herself in from time to time) and can’t imagine myself doing anything differently.

 

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

My family did not understand much about my career choice. They were not really supportive in the beginning. But of course, now they are glad that I’m happy with my life so far.

 

My family did not understand much about my career choice. They were not really supportive in the beginning. But of course, now they are glad that I’m happy with my life so far.

 

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

I am not a person who sets up goals and runs after it, but more of the “enjoy the moment” type. And I somewhat feel the same when it comes to work-related matters. Every project is a challenge and joy, and I love to concentrate on that and the great feeling of completing one task. I would appreciate the rewards or recognition if comes, of course, but I don’t have that self-pressured mentality. I also enjoy the surprise that life brings (like, suddenly a project that I always wanted to do suddenly falls in my lap). I have a simple rule to live by regarding my art and career: just work hard and try improving yourself day by day.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?
Not sure if I am a team person (artwork related, I work mostly with my own pace and vision), so I have no dreams of collaborating with anyone. Not that I will strongly oppose to the idea if the chance comes up.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Caring, hard-working, patience

 

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

I don’t have one actually.

 

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

Generally, people think that as a female you should be getting married and having children. Those sort of things are highly important in an Asian country mindset, so most of the people I know are very confused by my way of life. At a young age, I am accustomed to not paying attention to social norms, even if it means my social circle will be narrowed down. I don’t mind that. I enjoy having more time to work on my craft and doing things that truly bring me happiness than pleasing the crowd.

 

Generally, people think that as a female you should be getting married and having children. Those sort of things are highly important in an Asian country mindset, so most of the people I know are very confused by my way of life.

 

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

It might sound cliche’ but I find this works well most of my life: Just listen carefully and follow your heart and do what you feel is right. You have a high chance of feeling regret about anything anyway, so at least you will feel like you did something that pleased your heart, even just for that moment.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Khoa Le.

 

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