Today we’d like to introduce you to Min Heo.
Min, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea but spent most of my life growing up in California after my parents immigrated here in the 90s. As a child, I loved spending my free time drawing and making things.
After high school, I went on to study illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. I wasn’t sure exactly what illustrators did for a living, but the course involved a lot of drawing and I knew that was what I loved doing the most. I met a lot of super talented peers and great professors who really shaped my thinking and approach to illustration.
Since graduating, I’ve been lucky enough to continue making my living doing something I love. I currently work in-house as an illustrator at Google and freelance on the side.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
A lot of my work is drawn from observations from my own life, and functions almost as a sort of diary. I hope to communicate different emotions through my work that viewers can identify and empathize with, whether it’s warm fuzzies or apathy and frustration.
I work with a lot of different mediums and styles. Last year I was very much into painting and using colored pencils to create a journal of my life in New York. Right now, I’m really into to a much more simplified way of working — just pen to paper and colored digitally on photoshop. Working in a lot of different ways and with different materials helps keep things interesting for me.
Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
When I was in school, people were definitely lamenting the death of print and illustration. I worried a lot about the struggle that would be ahead of me as a freelance illustrator and the thought of moving into graphic design definitely crossed my mind many times. After graduating, I visited a few art directors in New York and one told me —very straightforwardly —that he “hoped I wasn’t trying to pursue a career in illustration because it doesn’t pay anymore.”
But five years after school and that initial visit to New York, I’m realizing that the rise of tech has brought about more illustration work. There is more content than ever that needs illustrating, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of cool tech companies to illustrate their for their platforms and publications to create online content. The world is constantly changing, and I think it’s important for illustrators (and any type of artist) to be flexible and be able to adapt. Being able to communicate messages in a visual and creative way will always be in demand.
It’s so important that cities encourage artists and creativity by fostering a sense of community. I love attending events that support the arts and allow for fellow artists to meet each other. Meeting other artists and sharing our stories is something that helped me continue working as an illustrator through the hard times.
All images are copyrighted by Min Heo, 2019.