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Shirley Gong

Shirley Gong

Meet Chinese illustrator, Shirley Gong.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Shirley Gong, a freelance illustrator based in Chongqing, China. I love traditional Oriental culture. Classic Chinese painting and Japanese ukiyo-e art are amongst my main influences. I enjoy using lines and unsaturated colors to create works.

My academic qualifications include two degrees in art and design. I obtain a bachelor’s degree in Oil Painting from Sichuan Fine Art Institution, China and hold a master’s degree in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, USA.

Following my graduation from SCAD, I founded my own illustration practice in Chongqing, China.

 

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

I live in Chongqing, China. Chongqing is a very three-dimensional city built on the mountain. The old city is surrounded by two rivers. People can have their own rhythm when they live here. Children play, youth work, and old age play mahjong.

 

I love traditional Oriental culture. Classic Chinese painting and Japanese ukiyo-e art are amongst my main influences.

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

The best is food, hot pot. The worst is the climate, cold winter and hot summer.

 

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

Roller coaster, fog and cone ice cream.

 

How did you start your career in art?

It started when I have just graduated from SCAD and I am ready to return home. At the time of the transfer, the first customer of my career contacted me and said that she saw my painting on the Internet, she hoped to keep in touch and cooperate in the future. After that, when I am back home, the customer gave me a small project to draw a promotional card for a store in Taobao Maker Festival 2017. After that, my career as a freelance illustrator began.

 

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

In general, my family is very supportive. Although they think this will be hard, and they hope that I can pay attention to health and take more rest.

 

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

Maybe I think this answer will be changed in a different period of my life. For example, I only need to draw a painting that I am satisfied with when I was a student. But, it can be said that in November of last year, I began to pay attention to feminism. Yes, I have hardly realized in the past that there are still gender inequalities in society, which may be due to the relative equality of males and females in the cities where I was born. Since I paid attention to feminism, I now hope that I can create some works that will awaken more females.

 

Since I paid attention to feminism, I now hope that I can create some works that will awaken more females.

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

If it is possible, I hope to cooperate with people in other fields, such as my favorite novelists, bands, etc., to draw covers for their works, such as Natsuhiko Kyogoku, a Japanese writer, and HAYA, a Chinese band.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

They are not the same among everyone, but they all work hard and enjoy life.

 

They are not the same among everyone, but they all work hard and enjoy life.

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

Local, no, if it is worldwide, there is. Perhaps it is because in this city, culture and art have not been valued before, and I hope that the future will get better and better.

 

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

At present, compared with other industries, I feel that in the industry of freelance illustrators, I have not encountered the trouble caused by gender. But I know that in the current social environment, any professional woman will face the contradiction between balancing family and career, even you are a freelancer. I think this is not a correct phenomenon. Any female has the right to make her own choices, not to give up her career for her family.

 

As a female, you may face many problems, but you must know that women are not born to be women, but something else makes her a woman. So, don’t let other things disturb your career.

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

I don’t know whether I can bring good advice with my current professional level, but there are a few points I have to mention. First, in addition to maintaining good health, you must also pay attention to mental health, this is helpful to your work. The illustrator is a sedentary occupation, and a little carelessness will bring you a lot of illnesses. Moreover, it is possible to work alone at home for a long time, so always keep a good mood. Second, as a female, you may face many problems, but you must know that women are not born to be women, but something else makes her a woman. So, don’t let other things disturb your career.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Shirley Gong.

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