what's been up 2018

It's been over a year since my last post. Wow, how time flies. It's safe to say, MANY things have happened since then. One is that I worked my first full-time agency job at Laundry Service for a year and three months!

As the sole designer for Cycle's (joint media production co.) editorial team, I created graphics and real-time content around topics like sports, music and entertainment. Working at a full-service marketing agency allowed me to see what's happening at the forefront of culture and social media. I was privileged to work in a beautiful office in Brooklyn with an amazing view and talented people. I was able to learn the in's and out's of agency work as well as grow with a start-up production team that was figuring out their strategy and how to streamline processes. I not only got to see exponential growth in engagement and follows for our channels, but I got to assist on some pretty crazy projects. I created pitch decks for ESPN (partner) that were launched as new talk shows, assisted in editorial cuts and photo edits that went viral, and participated in brainstorm sessions for clients like Nike.

There were definitely huge learning moments during my time here including communicating better, managing workflow, and meeting quick deadlines. One thing I struggled with most was being vocal. When it comes to designing and creativity, I can zone into my workmode but when it comes to pitching ideas for content, I lacked a lot of confidence. I'm taking initiative to work on this by creating my own content and pushing work out even when I don't know how it will be received.

Overall, my time at LS was a crazy and surreal experience that 20-year old me had only dreamt of. And now it's time for new chapters.

To be completely honest, I don't know what this "new" chapter looks like. I've worked both for corporate and for agency. I've worked in media, sportswear and fashion. I'm freelancing here and there to see if it's a fit for me. I don't know where my design pursuits will take me next, but what I know for sure is that I love creating and I love inspiring others to create.

So that's what's been up in my 2018. I'm going to make more of an effort to share my professional journey here and this creative search of mine.

Love,
deki
 

An Open Letter To The Man That Told Me There's Enough Of Our Kind In The Population.

This post is inspired by and in response to Michael Luo's open letter on The New York Times.

I was publicly discriminated against because of my race while attending an open workshop for college students last year. The lecture was intended to encourage students pursuing design careers to build portfolios and ask questions about careers in art. In the middle of the lecture, without any warning, the speaker, an Art Director at some design firm, began to talk about bullying and how he wanted to teach us a "lesson" about facing adversities at work.

He called out three minority students involuntarily in the classroom including me to use as examples of bullying in corporate culture. He first pointed at an African-American student and said “I would not hire you because you are black and might even steal my wallet. I don’t trust you.” He then walked up to a Hispanic student and said something insulting about his language.

When he got around to me, he said “I wouldn’t hire you. You’re Chinese. You’re the majority group and there’s enough of your kind in our population.” He proceeded to relay ethnic slurs about the Chinese as the entire class listened on. I sat there, explicitly being pointed out as the only Asian in the room, and I was shocked to hear that some of the people around me were laughing. 

At first my reaction was to be embarrassed. My pride was hurt but I didn’t want to overreact or be sensitive so I continued to engage in the lecture. But then I grew angry to see that there were adults in the room sitting in silence, allowing this demonstration to happen and to serve as an education model for students.

At the end of the lecture, I approached the speaker and confronted him about what I had just witnessed. His intentions were to inform us about “real-world” situations, but his behavior was unethical, offensive, and overtly racist. He became defensive and attempted to justify his actions by saying that he was once bullied too and that we should be "prepared to face anything in order to achieve our dreams."

After some time, he offered me an apology and as I accepted and was about to leave, he continued to say, “But you are Chinese. And you are the majority of the population.” AppalIed by his ignorance, I corrected him and informed him that I was Korean. He hurriedly brushed me off as other students were still listening in on our conversation, and seeing that there was no point in arguing anymore, I exited the classroom. 

I decided to report in to my own professor, to gain his perspective on the occurence, which resulted in a series of e-mails, a response from the speaker, and hopefully a real change, if any, in the way he approaches future students and victims of his racist tactics.

Why I am so eager to share my story now a year later after the incident is because, honestly speaking, I wasn't scarred by the speaker or his words. I remember what hurt the most was not the words of the speaker but the silence of the classroom. To stand alone in a room full of people who are unable to empathize simply because of privilege or who are fortunate to avoid the situation. I was publicly humiliated and felt socially and racially excluded because of my appearance. It was a big lesson for me: to understand what it felt like to be a victim of oppression and to take up the social responsibility to stand up for those that are voiceless by not remaining silent.

FEEL LIKE KANYE

Me-time consists of playing around on the tablet and reliving concert nights. Graphics above are inspired by the Saint Pablo Tour and merchandise color palette.

#SAINTPABLOTOUR

 "I met Kanye West, I'm never going to fail." This one's for the books. 09/06/16

COLORING BOOK

I'm cheating on my allegiances to Spotify for a bit to listen to Chance's new mixtape 'Coloring Book'. I just gave the whole album a run-through and I love the gospel vibes, choir hooks and stacked list of feature artists. A feel-good typa album with a spiritual element and I'm officially a fan. :)

I'd also like to take this opportunity to gush over Apple Music's new design elements. It's been years since I used iTunes and I remember being excessively organized with my playlists, artists, etc. back in grade school. I've long since moved onto streaming songs on Spotify but might as well take advantage of my 3-month trial to explore all the changes up in here. I'm really liking the MiniPlayer I can throw to the side of my workspace, the transparent backdrop for the thumbnail dropdown, and how clean these album covers look together on my music page (peep my repeat aritists of the month). Augh you've put me in a real dilemma here Apple. 

Some of my favorite tracks: D.R.A.M. Sings Special, Blessings, Smoke Break, Finish Line, How Great, Grown Ass Kids (not in album)

CURRENTLY

STUDYING....

  • online video tutorials for Adobe Illustrator
  • Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type
  • Typographic Design: Form and Communication

 

WORKING ON....

  • logo design for laundromat
  • logo design for tech startup
  • logo design for artist label
  • logo design for recording studio

TRAVEL & INSPIRATION PT.II

Collection of inspirations from Frieze Art Fair, Whitney Museum, Rutgers BFA Thesis Exhibition and various galleries & museums in Chelsea, NY. (4/27 - 5/6)

Names of artists from Pace Gallery exhibitions:
- Richard Tuttle
- David Hockney
- James Turrell
- Yorgo Alexopoulos
- Heather Hutchison

Arts and shits aside, this salted pretzel caramel ice cream from Morgenstein's Finest Ice Cream stand was the most bombass thing I've had all week. 

treading new waters

I... DID... IT. I have finally made the leap into the daunting land of Adobe Illustrator. I know, completely bizarre for someone trying to make a career out of design and I don't even know my basics. It's the one design program I have yet to explore and thanks to some downtime at work, my coworker finally got to sit down with me today and show me how to use the pen tool (the damn pen tool)....... and these are the re-creations I made out of icons I found online (green is mine)! A complete and utter shitty job in my opinion but I am very very proud of this moment. Just half an hour ago, I didn't know how to make a curved line and now I can make basic lines and shapes! *pats self on back*.

I'd say my illustration skills are up to par with the average fifth grader, maybe worse, but better to start late than never right? I have a long way to go to master the program but it feels amazing to grasp the potential of what I can do with a new skill. Adding this image in for the books so I can hopefully one day laugh at myself and see how far I've come from now.
 

TRAVEL & INSPIRATION

I'll be logging more about my recent work here and the opportunities I've had in the past couple months. Still not too sure where I want to go with this blog but with all the clutter of social media and apps, I want to use this as a portal for my own self-expression and journey through art. I find blogs a lot less confining and much more unfiltered, immune to false illusions created by views and followers. (But I'll always hold an affection for you Insta<3).

Pictured above is a compilation of photos I took during my past few travel days with the team. Visiting all these galleries and exhibitions with an agenda helped instill a newfound excitement for museums that I never had before. I found myself noticing and appreciating details and the varying textures, silhouettes, lines, colors, and shapes of each installment and engaging the expression of the artists themselves. I feel like I finally got a glimpse of the hidden gems and culture hidden within these streets and it makes me feel lucky to work in a city that is still quite foreign and overwhelming to me. I'm looking forward to exploring my own aesthetic style and learning where I fit in (or stand out) in this big big big world of design.

Here's a breakdown of places I visited-

STORES (NY):
Opening Ceremony
Totokaelo
Atrium
Stadium Goods
Flight Club
Nike LAB
KITH
Barney's
 

MUSEUMS (NY & BO):
Museum of Natural History
MOMA
Bodyworlds
New Museum
Cooper Hewitt (favorite)
Harvard Art Museums
Boston MFA (another favorite)
Boston College

Playlist #1: Digging lately...

1) Ultralight Beam - Kanye
2) One Man Can Change the World - Big Sean
3) Eternal Sunshine - Jhene Aiko
4) All My Friends - Snakehips
5) Charlie Brown - Scienze
6) Sunday Candy - Chance the Rapper
7) Waves - Kanye
8) Middle - DJ Snake