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Sija Hong

Sija Hong

Meet Chinese illustrator based in New York City, Sija Hong.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a Chinese illustrator based in New York City. I received Illustration program MFA from the Syracuse University in 2018.

 

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

I currently live in Brooklyn, New York. This place is very different from my hometown. It is more diverse and full of impacts from various cultures. Every time I go out, I will guess where those passers came from? What kind of work are they doing here? New York is a huge city. The train from this area to that area is like a shuttle between two cities. I can find any restaurant I want to experience here, any art I want to buy. I don’t think there are a lot of places in the world that can bring me this feeling like New York. My hometown is also a relatively large city, but far less colorful than New York.

 

This place is very different from my hometown. It is more diverse and full of impacts from various cultures.

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

The best thing must be food. Since living in New York, I can’t stand living in a place where I can’t eat food from all over the world. I am willing to take the time to find some specific restaurants, and they rarely let me down. The bad place is its traffic and streets. Every time I go to Washington or Boston, I will think why can’t New York be as clean and tidy as these places?

 

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

Opportunity, museum, diversity.

 

How did you start your career in art?

I started to participate in some projects from China at the graduate level. After graduation, I was under a lot of pressure. Not only the pressure that should be a newcomer in this field, but also the pressure from the differences in culture, language, and work patterns. I have barely received any work in the United States for nearly half a year, and I was full of uneasiness and doubts about myself during that time. But suddenly one day, I felt that my previous efforts began to pay off slowly. I received invitations from some of the top publishers and companies. Although I still don’t quite understand where they found me, maybe it’s from competitions, email, or my social media.

 

After graduation, I was under a lot of pressure. Not only the pressure that should be a newcomer in this field, but also the pressure from the differences in culture, language, and work patterns.

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

My parents must be mentioned at this point. They are the best parents ever. They never limit my hobbies and work. The most important thing for them is always my happiness. I can’t say that I was a good student, but I must be the happiest girl during my school years. I had a lot of time to paint and did whatever I wanted to do. Parental support gave me the greatest encouragement and help. My friends have always been my most loyal fans. I never get any negative evaluation from them. My postgraduate professor is also my mentor and friend. He made me always insist on my own style and taught me never to listen to other people’s doubts and objections. I am very lucky to have them.

 

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

I won’t set myself the highest goal, it will make me feel stressed and can’t fully enjoy my creation. I want to try a variety of things. I want to participate in some areas that I have never touched before. Film design will be a very interesting and challenging goal. I am also very willing to design some products or music related things.

 

I want to try a variety of things. I want to participate in some areas that I have never touched before.

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

Can I choose several people? This is really a difficult problem because I have too many people who want to work together. Yoshitaka Amano has always been my favorite and most desirable artist. If I must choose a person, he will be the first name that appears in my mind.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

My mother is the bravest person I have ever seen. She is not a lady with too much ambition, but I believe she can bear all the difficulties and dangers in the world. She has been teaching me brave, independent, kind and self-loving. My female friends are also struggling on the road to their dreams. There are many successful artists around me who are women. Their strength and intelligence are like the qualities of a gem that books cannot teach me.

 

There are many successful artists around me who are women. Their strength and intelligence are like the qualities of a gem that books cannot teach me.

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

My hometown is a magical place – there are many of the world’s top artists from there. A large part of them are women, especially in modern times. When I was a child, I didn’t know that these familiar female artists came from my hometown, and I have been influenced by them unconsciously. When I grew up, I was surprised to find that they were all grown up in places I’m familiar with.

 

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

Actually, I don’t feel any difference as a female illustrator. Gender has never been a challenge for me. On the contrary, in most cases, the feelings this field gives me is that it is fair and respectful. This is why I chose it as my lifelong career. I can feel that my efforts have paid off.

 

Please forget the challenges you face as a woman. Please make full use of all the good qualities, sensibility, and exquisiteness that you have as a woman.

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

Please forget the challenges you face as a woman. Please make full use of all the good qualities, sensibility, and exquisiteness that you have as a woman. At the same time, having the broad mind that can accommodate all of the things and put them into your creation. Do not be subject to any restrictions. No one can tell you what to do, only you know how to do it will make you feel happier.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Sijia Hong.

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