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Meet Los Feliz Freelance Designer & Art Director: Grace Duong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace Duong.

Grace, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always knew I wanted to work in the arts field. I went to a magnet middle & high school where the arts program was ultimately taken out due to lack of funding – but I always found ways to involve myself with art by taking Saturday classes, working as a mural artist, and joining stage crew so that I could paint sets.

When I got to college, I decided to take on a more practical route of “design” so that I would be able to get a job out of college and found that I loved design as much, or more, than fine art. Communication is such an integral part of a design and can make such an impact on communities. I loved that there was a reason behind every design decision and that it involved using my brain in logical ways that painting didn’t. You become a creative problem solver as a designer with real world, tangible problems that you can tackle!

My first job offer out of college was in Los Angeles, and at the time, I wanted to go somewhere different since New York seemed like the more obvious choice a lot of graduates seemed to make (I’m from Philadelphia). Hailing from the city, the allure of palm trees and the sunshine ultimately won me over. My degree was a ticket to try something new, live a different kind of life, and explore the possibilities! So obviously, I took the job offer and have been living & working here for the past 4 years.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve bopped around a lot of different workplaces, which had pros and cons. The pros of doing that are that with every place you work at, you experience how different companies operate and which parts of those experiences that you’d like more of moving forward in your career. For me, I always knew I wanted to work for myself, and so each place where I worked full-time felt like a deterrent from what I actually wanted to do, even though it really was just gaining experience. You have to go through the growing pains to actually know what you want to do! It is also really believing in yourself and your abilities that you can run your own business. There’s never really a “right” time or when you’re really “ready”. Just take the leap, it usually works out!

What kind of work do you look forward to most?
My favorite type of projects are usually the ones with organized but loose parameters. That gives me room to have more creative freedom to explore more options versus a client knowing exactly what they want. Open collaboration and trusting the creative process is also important. Communication is key and it requires an open mind and teamwork to make the dreamwork.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?
The only thing I would have done differently is to relieve anxiety I had about the future. I am a believer that everything happens for a reason, so every job and step I’ve taken happened the way it was supposed to.

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