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Meet Jane Li

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane Li.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in a family that encouraged creativity and a growth mindset. These values filled my childhood with all kinds of art and crafts – painting, ceramics, woodworking, sewing, etc. Because I was encouraged to pursue all sorts of creative endeavors, I developed a passion for making things with my hands.

During high school, I started a business called Walkinthese to sell custom, hand-painted shoes. Developing Walkinthese served as an introduction to entrepreneurship for me. I learned to build websites, design branded marketing material, manage shipping, inventory, and order fulfillment operations, and pitch my ideas to potential investors. I also learned to do outreach for corporate sponsorships and formed collaborations with companies like TOMS, Tulip paints, Derwent, Pentel, and more.

After high school, I decided to pursue a non-traditional college education that would allow me to combine my passions of art and entrepreneurship. In the fall of 2014, I joined the inaugural class of the Iovine and Young Academy at USC majoring in Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation. While in Los Angeles, I spent my time discovering new interests like hand lettering and connecting with the local creative community. Throughout my four years in LA, I’ve led string art and hand lettering workshops, painted custom shoes and denim at TOMS and Alice+Olivia retail store events, and created artwork for Coachella music festival.

Today, I am a graphic designer based in the Bay Area, but I continue to work on freelance and personal projects that bring me back to Los Angeles regularly.

Please tell us about your art.
These days, my art consists of mostly lettering and illustration, in both digital and mixed media. I’m constantly inspired by other creatives and different areas of my life, so my work typically reflects current interests or recent events. Lately, I’ve been inspired by Asian American culture, adulting milestones, and feminism.

One of my biggest pet peeves is making art that is aesthetically appealing but has no greater value to the world. I believe that art is a powerful channel for communication and want to utilize that in my work. Whether it’s a simple doodle that brings me joy or a larger series that creates positive social impact in my community, I want to create art that has a greater purpose than simply looking nice.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
I think the key to avoid feeling lonely as an artist is to connect with the creative community regularly. If you’re struggling to meet other creatives, I recommend reaching out to those you admire and already follow online to set up coffee chats or coffee & doodles. I also encourage artists to attend events like LetterWest or local workshops to meet other creatives. If there are no events accessible to you, don’t let that stop you! You can always invite local artists and host your own meetups. My friend Valerie (@2ndfirstdraft) has organized lettering meetups in the past, and it has been a great way to meet and bond with other creatives while working together over coffee.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can check out my work at on Instagram and JaneLiCo on Etsy, and you can support my work by purchasing products, hiring me for freelance jobs, or collaborating on new creative projects with me!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jane Li, Caitlin Tran, Molly Linder

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