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Art & Life with Sally Deng

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sally Deng.

Sally, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born and mostly raised in Los Angeles. My parents used to run a small restaurant around the Arts District/Skid Row area. I spent many hours in the back room there after school—reading, drawing, basically in my own world. This led me to want to become an artist, and I applied for the illustration department at Art Center College of Design my senior year of high school. I was miraculously accepted, and I guess I’ve never looked back.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Whether it’s the illustration I create for clients or the paintings I make on my personal time, I really hope people will experience some sort of emotional resonance when they view my work. Good compositions and designs, albeit very important, really doesn’t matter if you don’t feel anything. My art has been described to me as nostalgic and empathetic—if I can continue to create work that can evoke those emotions, I’ll be very happy as an artist.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities, and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
There’s no shame in asking for advice from professors or friends. There’s also no shame in working at other jobs and creating art on the side. I very much am still a struggling artist; I have done and still am doing all the things mentioned above. Be smart with your money and ignore the people who throw around the term “sell out”—you gotta pay rent, man. Most importantly, surround yourself with motivated individuals with good work ethics. The struggle is more bearable when you have like-minded friends you could talk to.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have created illustrations for various for different publications/platforms such as The New York Times, Vice, and The Atlantic. I recently also published my very first children’s book entitled “Skyward: The Story of Female Pilots in WWII.” You can also support me by purchasing my artwork through galleries I exhibit in or emailing me directly. Find me on my website at, or you can follow me on Instagram (@sa.deng).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Lorenz Dungo

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