I was born and raised in Korea until I moved to the US 12 years ago. I’ve been working as an illustrator in NY ever since I finished my BFA from Pratt Institute. I mostly work on editorial illustrations these days, but I’ve done gallery works and emojis as well. When I’m not drawing, I like to watch and try recipes from YouTube. I’m also an avid traveler and a food enthusiast.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living in NY for 8 years now. This city is definitely not for the fainthearted. It is fast-paced and can get overwhelming at times. I had my fair share of burnouts in the beginning, but have slowly found my balance. Despite all the hustle and bustle, NY can be an incredibly eye-opening and inspiring city. I think diversity in this city allows people to be more open-minded and be respectful of differences. Most people come here with their own dream in mind and their drive and passion push them forward.
Most people come here with their own dream in mind and their drive and passion push them forward.
I mean, FOOD. Because the city is so diverse, you can basically find any type of cuisine. As much as I love NY, our public transportation system is notoriously grimy and dysfunctional.
Driven, Zealous, Restless
I’ve always been drawn to some sort of image-making ever since I was young. I had various interests growing up, which changed on a monthly basis at times. However, I finally took a leap to go to an art school for college where I found illustration, which I had no idea what it was at the time. I quickly fell in love since it married everything I enjoyed – image-making, problem-solving, and learning new things.
I quickly fell in love since it married everything I enjoyed – image-making, problem-solving, and learning new things.
Yes, despite the Asian parent stereotypes, my family was extremely supportive. I am the only creative in the family. Even though they had little idea of what I wanted to do, they supported and encouraged me fully.
I want to start carving some time out for my own projects that are not client-driven. I miss experimenting with new methods and ideas without having to fear the outcome.
I miss experimenting with new methods and ideas without having to fear the outcome.
I would LOVE to collaborate on a project with UNICEF. I always felt very strongly about UNICEF’s work and it would mean so much for me to contribute to their mission in any way.
I am lucky to have always been around strong, intelligent and independent women throughout my life. They continue to push and inspire me to be better.
I am lucky to have always been around strong, intelligent and independent women throughout my life.
I am embarrassed to admit that I discovered Na Hye-Sok and her work only recently, but her stride and words inspire me greatly. She was a painter, author, freedom fighter and a pioneer of Korean feminism during Japanese colonization. She ceaselessly published works criticizing the Confucian gender role and expectations in an era when women wouldn’t even dare to speak up. She was way ahead of her time.
Many strong and brilliant women have paved the way for my generation and I am so grateful for that. I feel encouraged by seeing so many women, especially women of color, represented in this industry.
Go at your own pace.
Go at your own pace.
Photos courtesy of Grace Heejung Kim
March 2, 2020