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Jing Zhang

Jing Zhang

Meet UK-based graphic designer and illustrator, Jing Zhang

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an illustrator originally from China. I had been living in London for over 12 years before moving up north to Harrogate in recent years. I came to England to study as a fashion designer, however, after graduation, I picked up a full-time job as a graphic designer. There it slowly re-directed my career path from fabric to digital. Today I’m an illustrator. I worked for lots of clients around the world, from big organisations to small companies, from Silicon Valley tech coms to small family-run businesses, including the United Nations, European Parliament, Google and Apple, IBM, Twitter, etc.

 

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

It’s old. It’s romantic. It’s full of character. It’s a tourist town on the hill with the studio Ghibli atmosphere. It has a viaduct bridge. It has a castle on top of a hill overlooking a gorge, probably numerous castles, but I’m yet to find out as I’m new here. It’s also, in the middle of Yorkshire Dales, a national park in England.

 

It’s old. It’s romantic. It’s full of character. It’s a tourist town on the hill with the studio Ghibli atmosphere.

 

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

Best: Coming from London, it’s spacious, it’s much much slower paced. People do talk to you. They are lovely and friendly. The embracement of community is very powerful. When COVID hits, every person would go an extra mile to help out their neighbours.

Worst: There’s probably no other Chinese person in here. Finding decent hometown comfort food is a difficult mission, particularly hard when the pregnancy craving hit.

 

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

(London) free-spirit, melting pot, expensive

 

How did you start your career in art?

I studied fashion design in the uni. But instead of taking up some sewing kits, I got into digital illustration.

 

I studied fashion design in the uni. But instead of taking up some sewing kits, I got into digital illustration.

 

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

Yes. I’m so proud of my parents. I couldn’t have better parents. Being the most open-minded, they have full trust in me. They support anything I’m interested in. My mother had raised me to have different hobbies in arts and music. I had lots of opportunities to explore different kinds of interests, that’s including the painting classes I went to at a very young age.

 

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

To create something that might raise awareness, improve our living, and therefore change the world. In another word, make an impact.

 

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

Gretta Thunberg

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Fun, open-minded, free spirit, independent.

 

Fun, open-minded, free spirit, independent.

 

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

None. Growing up in China, there wasn’t much focal point in women or even creative in general. People were busy making a living. Surviving was the first priority.

 

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

Probably biologically. A lot of us are mothers.

I love my daughter. But having her in my life changed my world upside down. After a long break from childbirth, I thought I would never be able to get back on track. This whole ‘Life Chapter 2’ has been the biggest reset to my career, to date. Basically, all your previous work/life schedule was not sustainable anymore, you had to find a new one.

But no, no regret. I love being her mother.

 

Personal projects are your stepping stones to big projects in the future.

 

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

When I was starting out, I spent a lot of time doing personal projects. Personal projects are your stepping stones to big projects in the future. Don’t be exploited by companies who are looking for free work for ‘exposure’. And don’t undervalue yourself by accepting low-ball job offers.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Jing Zhang

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