Duration: One year.
Location: Queens, New York.
Education: BFA in illustration, School of Visual Arts, 2015.
Career path: I’ve always loved to draw. When it came time to enroll into higher education, I figured art school was a sensible choice. My parents were extremely supportive, so I enrolled at the School of Visual Arts—originally for cartooning, but I switched to illustration very quickly. In my senior year, I had the privilege of taking a portfolio class with Chris Buzelli and Yuko Shimizu, which was steroids for my artistic growth. Some of my first art gigs out of school were through art director SooJin Buzelli, Chris’s wife. From there, other opportunities opened up, and the rest is history.
Artistic influences: My childhood was marked by watching cartoons and anime, reading manga, and spending countless hours playing video games after school. I would get lost in these worlds, going on epic adventures in 2-D and 3-D. In these animated and virtual works, I saw myself as something more. It was this sense of wonder and awe that inspired me to pursue art. All my work is an attempt to re-create that sensation, whether it be in world-building, character designing, storytelling or conceptual problem-solving.
Approach: A teacher once told me that if I wanted to make interesting work, I had to be interested in what I was making. It seems obvious, but the ideological mosh pit of art school filled my head with a lot of conflicting ideas. I’ve always had an urge to conform to the tastes of others—especially teachers—if only to convince myself that making it out in the ‘real world’ necessitated that I first make it within the microcosm of art school—personal style be damned. But it was that advice that helped bring me back to the basics. I realized that I didn’t have to be so malleable. If I made work that I found interesting, then surely there would be people out there who would also find it interesting. And maybe some of them would pay me to make it.
Aspirations: There are a few stories percolating in my head that I’ve been slowly fleshing out over the years. I hope to turn them into tangible projects one day, whether they be in the form of graphic novels or short animated films. I hope to eventually work full-time on my own narratives and projects.
Favorite video game series: Probably Zelda.