Today we’d like to introduce you to Johnathan Huang.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve never not liked art. People say that some were put on this earth to be destined for something, and I think from a very early age, I figured that out, but I just hadn’t realized it yet. There are many things I could label myself as, whether it be artist, painter, designer, illustrator, but recently I’ve stumbled upon one that I feel truest to: maker. It might be my slightly competitive nature that has always made me want to master everything I try to learn, but there is no coincidence that all of the things I excelled at as a young kid dealt with making things with my hands. From folding an obsessive amount of origami in elementary school to having a duct tape wallet business in middle school to just drawing and painting like crazy in high school, I’ve never really stopped collecting and refining my skills for creating, and that has definitely shaped the way I approach learning and making today.
I’ve refined my focus a little bit in college at ArtCenter College of Design to hone in on my illustration skills, but I realized recently that I never want to be restricted or defined by just that. Don’t get me wrong, I love being called an illustrator, but what I mean is that I don’t let that set any bounds on what I make or decide to learn. Because the nature of illustration itself as a career is so experience and person-driven, I really take that and run with it, because in a way, any specific things you like will unintentionally surface in your work. Therefore, for me atleast, my love for learning new and obscure things sometimes might feel like it’s driving me off track, but I know that eventually it will make its way back into my illustrations.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Being young, dumb, and indecisive really helps in finding yourself (said no one ever). I definitely am always battling some sort of internal battle with myself, because a creative career really isn’t easy at all. So much of making a career out of being an artist is finding the right balance, and I definitely struggle with that. However, I feel like slowly, I am also getting better at it. Finding the right balance between hard work and taking things slower, between personal concepts and more commercial ideas, between drawing what you want and drawing what sells, between staying humble and confidently selling yourself, between feeling good about where you are with your work and knowing there’s always room to grow. It is so intertwined with your character and really your entire being that it occasionally takes a lot out of you, sometimes in a good way but many times not. Sometimes, I feel like pursuing a career in art has to be one of the hardest things to do, yet many still choose this path. Why? Because no matter how difficult the road ahead is, the pay off is incomparable. To do what you love, for yourself and for other people, for fun and for money, it’s an amazing privilege that we get to struggle through. And because of that, even though it is hard and stressful now, I still wouldn’t trade the possibilities of what my future might become for anything.
Please tell us more about your art.
I am a freelance illustrator and designer, living life happily day by day and always looking for fun creative challenges to take on. I am constantly exploring new methods of image-making, different techniques, and obscure new mediums to try out. I like to get my hands dirty with paint and pencils and glue, but I am also equally comfortable and savvy infront of my laptop and iPad, whipping out concepts and images on those devices. I love portraiture and I love landscapes. I love detailed rendering and I love naive drawing. I love hand lettering and I love set type. I work two-dimensionally and I work three-dimensionally. I honestly just love learning, and I think that is something that will forever push the breadth of my knowledge, giving me more opportunities to try new and exciting things in my work.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve definitely been blessed with good luck during the beginnings of my journey into becoming an artist, having the resources and access to materials and options in school. I definitely take for granted the fact that my parents are so accepting of my choices. They are the perfect balance of traditional, hard work thinking and accepting to let my siblings and I explore, and I think that is a perfect combination for success. I also feel lucky that I was even put on this Earth with a creative mind; I don’t think I could imagine myself doing any other thing. That’s not to say that I know exactly what I want my future to be, career-wise, but I feel lucky to know that it probably will be related to making—image making, object making, concept-building, etc.—and that is enough certainty for me to keep going.
- Website: www.jhuangstudio.com
- Phone: (214) 695-3635
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jhuangstudio
All images by Johnathan Huang