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Life & Work with Michelle Kwon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Kwon.

Hi Michelle, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’ve loved art and drawing ever since I took an art class in the 8th grade, but I never took it seriously or thought I would ever really pursue it. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian, or a makeup artist, which I think explains my focus on animals and faces in my work. I never saw art or illustration as viable career options, even though I knew I loved it, so I later on decided graphic design would be a good middle-ground for me. Drawing was pushed to the side as a hobby and I eventually went to college for graphic design and was fully committed to it until the pandemic hit. My school, my job, and the whole world shut down for a year and I had no idea what I was going to do with my time. I was lost, confused, and scared, as I’m sure a lot of us were. I had just gotten an iPad as a Christmas gift, so I decided I was just going to start drawing more. Drawing became my main focus, and I fell back in love with it.

I started posting more of my work on Instagram, and I started to build a small but really supportive following. I eventually took a leap and spent my stimulus check on a giant printer, set up a website, and started selling prints of my artwork. The support was beyond what I ever imagined, and I decided then that I was going to continue pursuing it. I recently quit my full-time job as a production assistant to invest more time into it and… so far, so good!

After discovering and being inspired by so many other artists who do what they love as a living, I now know it’s a real possibility, especially in this age of social media. I don’t know where I will be in a few years, but I’m dedicated and motivated to continue bettering myself as an artist and hopefully be able to inspire other people in the future. I know myself enough to know that I wouldn’t be as fulfilled doing anything else, and that’s reason enough for me. I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be, but I’m definitely enjoying the journey!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’d say the biggest obstacles/challenges are just my own doubts and fears. Making a decision to follow your dreams that you know people are going to scoff at, laugh at, question, or doubt is pretty scary. Getting over that hurdle and focusing on if YOU believe in yourself is definitely one of the hardest parts. But once you get over it, the hard work, long hours, and challenges all become worth it if you’re investing it into something you love.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Most of my work is digitally painted, and I’m definitely still working on finding my own style. But I’d say most of my work is sort of dreamy, feminine, and vibrant. I’m most proud of taking a leap of faith and getting over my own fears and doubts to pursue my dreams, and I’m also very proud of the people in my life who support me. I’m so proud of where I come from and the people in my life inspire me so much. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without them.

I’m constantly gathering inspiration from others and I think art is such a personal thing, but it’s also cultivated so greatly through community. We all draw inspiration from each other, and I think that’s such a beautiful thing!

What’s next?
An artwork of mine is going to be published in a book for the first time sometime soon, which is really exciting! For now, I’m working on commissioned work, personal work, and just bettering myself in every way. As cheesy as that sounds. I have so many future plans that I’d love to achieve, but the main ones are to have a mural in the city I grew up in and love (here in LA) to have my own art show and to have my own studio space someday. And hopefully, many more exciting things to come!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Trang Vo Mikael Te

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