Duration: I’ve worked in the design industry for a little over two years.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Education: Currently, I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, double majoring in architecture and visual studies.
Career path: I’ve always had a great interest in art, but mainly worked in painting and sculpture. During my first two years at the University of British Columbia, I was on a general liberal arts path, with my only creative outlet being creative writing classes. Feeling generally unsatisfied, I found a free drawing tool online and started to play around with it in my spare time, which eventually turned into a daily habit. I was so excited about the number of colors I could choose from that I spent hours creating simple compositions with different color schemes. I eventually got the courage to apply for a position to design flyers for student-run events at my university.
Artistic influences: Although it’s very different from the colorful shapes and characters I usually work with, some of my earliest influences have been illustrators that use black lines on a white background, like Geoff McFetridge and Christopher DeLorenzo. I am also interested in the way that textured hair and female and androgynous figures are represented in contemporary illustration. I also love the work of Loveis Wise, Sara Andreasson, Stephanie DeAngelis and Amelia Giller. However, I’m most influenced by art that makes me question things. I love finding a design that sends me on a quest to figure out what digital techniques were used to create it.
Favorite project: Over the summer, Spotify asked me to create artwork that would be displayed on a digital billboard in Toronto’s Dundas Square to celebrate the LGBTQ2S+ community for pride month. I was so nervous at first, not knowing if I was “good” enough to take on such a project. But with the help of a really supportive and helpful creative team, I soon got over my fear. It felt great to create a piece that represents something so important.
Work environment: My work environment isn’t ever in a single place. I’ve moved around almost every year, so the only constant has been my laptop. I also always have a podcast on. Culturally, my work exists and comes from a place of intersectional identities. I am always conscious of the narratives I am creating when I draw figures because a body conveys so much meaning. It’s something I am constantly trying to learn about and improve on.
Approach: Most of my uniqueness comes from my ideas—not to say that they are original, but there are very few times during the day when I’m not thinking about how to resolve ideas and communicate them visually. It’s like the repackaging of something that already exists—I’m interested in how I can tell the same just a bit differently. Also, there is a huge lack of queer illustrators of color; I bring in the consciousness that I’ve gained from living in the margins.
Aspirations: My only goal is to be at a place where I can support myself enough to think freely. All I know is that I want to make things.
Philosophy: Ideas aren’t original. Found objects and artworks are cool. Experimentation with said found objects is also cool. Exposure is great, but having enough money to pay for dinner is better. Don’t ever feel like your ideas aren’t valuable.