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Soo Jin Lee

Soo Jin Lee

Meet South Korean graphic designer, Soo Jin Lee.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Soo Jin Lee, a former baby, current graphic designer, future skeleton, and a distant future pile of dust. Or just a graphic designer somehow based in Los Angeles.

 

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

Seoul is a new kind of concrete and jungle to me. Sometimes it can feel like a concrete jungle in the literal sense, huge skyscrapers on one side of you, and mountains rising up in contrast on the other side. Other times you feel surrounded entirely by grey structures, like the concrete jungles of America. It is busy and loud to live in, with a real sense of competitiveness innate to Koreans, just like jungles. Unlike LA where I have dipped for a short time, Seoul is compacted and competitive in most industry. As a graphic designer in LA, I had more job opportunity and design related events where I can share my work and learn from other artists.

 

Seoul is a new kind of concrete and jungle to me.

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

It is convenient to live that a few spots open till late at night. But at the same time, it is tough, busy and crowd to survive. Most things are fast-paced and packed with people.

 

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

Challenging, Competitive, Trendy

 

How did you start your career in art?

I had internships both in private businesses and agencies after my college graduation. Through these experiences, designing transmedia has become a passion of mine. Not only learning communication and visualization, but the experience also enables me to become a better graphic designer.  Now, I am working remotely as a freelance graphic designer at a digital marketing agency based in LA.  By starting a self-initiated project, I truly feel alive as a graphic designer without the constraints of employers. This motivated me to try new design trends or ideas.

 

By starting a self-initiated project, I truly feel alive as a graphic designer without the constraints of employers. This motivated me to try new design trends or ideas.

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

From the time I was into making art and craft class in elementary school, my parents were super supportive. Though my parents are not “art people” at all and there was no one with an art industry background in my family, they supported me to grow up and be as creative as possible. In particular, my parents have always supported me, and I will always be grateful to them for letting me chase my artistic dreams and giving me the opportunity to study at a design college in America.

 

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

I would like to push my limits within the medium of graphic design, and hopefully turn some heads in the industry. I think graphic design should be multi-dimensional, so hopefully, I can express my creative objectives and approach my self-initiated projects using multiple media types, progressing to produce an interactive medium. An aspect of this I am interested in is making my design animated, which would potentially increase my works’ interactivity with the public. I am always open to new challenges within the art world, and try to embrace change and learn from others who are better than me. So let’s see how it goes.

 

I am always open to new challenges within the art world, and try to embrace change and learn from others who are better than me.

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

Tim and Eric, an American comedy duo and creators. They inspired me with their absurdist sense of humor, satire and retro aesthetic.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Active, independent and inspiring.

 

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

Unfortunately not. Though I have always been creative myself, as a child I was never aware of any local artists. Maybe this is because it was difficult for them to be heard in a city of over 30 million people, or maybe I was unlucky. However, now I am aware of so many talented designers and illustrators in Seoul.

 

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

Not really.  Maybe it is because people value the skills you have, instead of the contents of your pants in the graphic design industry. But I am glad that there are some platforms where female artists and designers can share their stories and works such as Girlsclub Asia, Women of Graphic Design, PosterWomen.

 

Put yourself out in front of anyone with confidence.

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

Put yourself out in front of anyone with confidence. Most people will give you advice, or at least support you. If you are criticized, learn from it, but don’t lose your own style and what makes you unique in the art world. I know for sure it is hard to open the door and step into this field but just keep knocking like me. Knock knock!

 

 

Photos courtesy of Soo Jin Lee.

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