Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Kong.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was first inspired by my dad, an architect who got me into art and design since I was a little kid. I used to draw and paint life-sized Pokemon character cutouts by request and sold them at my elementary school. Students from other classes would also commission me for their wall decors at home. It was such a high demand part-time job at the time, and since then I knew I would want to do something art or design related when I grow up.
At the age of 17, I made a crazy decision that changed my life, which is going to America all by myself for school. Just like that, I had to say goodbye to my family in China and went on with my journey alone. I didn’t speak much English or know anyone here, but lucky my homestay become my family in America.
With their help, I was able to graduate with my first BA in Studio Arts and Digital Arts from UC Irvine. I felt like something was still missing. I’ve created a lot of fine art projects that were thought-provoking, but they did not necessarily provide any solutions. I needed something that can transform visual art into the digital world in order to solve real-world problems.
After doing extensive research, I realized all signs pointed towards ArtCenter College of Design, a place that could help me explore my capabilities. I went in as a person who didn’t even know what typography was, and emerged as a distinction of the class! It was quite challenging, but I have no regrets. The journey transformed me into a confident designer who loves what she is doing and feels thankful that she can help others with design. By practicing UX/UI design and branding, I have learned design skills, prioritizing, and most importantly compassion and how to think in others shoes. I knew then that I had found my true passion.
Would I do it all over again? Hell no. 🙂
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?
It was definitely not a smooth road! But hey, no pain no gain. That’s what I kept telling myself back then when I was working in the computer lab at 3:00 am and debating whether or not I should just go home.
The first challenge that I faced back in my student life was time and project management. While I was still trying to figure out what design was, I was also asked to deliver five different robust projects all at once. My brain had to be crystal clear about what to work on first so that it won’t sacrifice the quality of the project. There I realized I was not only the designer but also a project manager, content creator, saleswoman, team player, negotiator and many more. Wearing multiple hats was definitely another challenge at first, but it also trained me to be multi-skilled and made me feel almost ‘invincible’. Because no matter what, you now know how to figure out a way to find a solution. There is no more dead ends.
Another struggle that I had was that I sacrificed too much time and didn’t spend enough with my loved ones. I’ve missed so many Christmas, New Year, family birthdays, and weddings because I was studying in the US while family and friends remained mostly in China. Being in a foreign county and try to make it all by myself was not an easy thing to do, and it was a big commitment in pursuing my dream. Going back home to Asia usually takes at least a week or two, but my schedule just didn’t allow at the time. I only got to see my family once a year for a couple of weeks. Sometimes I’ve felt very guilty and wished that I was in the same city or at least same country as them. Now my schedule is a bit more flexible and we have been visiting each other more often.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fox Network Group – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am currently a UX (user experience) design at FOX’s consumer product engineer team. I specialize in providing design solutions for multi-platform devices such as mobile, web, and smart TV. I was the lead UX/UI designer for FOX’s pay-per-view boxing event (Paquiao vs Thurman Fight), and also for FOX’s first direct-to-consumer product, Fox Nation, on various viewing platforms.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am working towards a senior designer and director role. Hoping one day, I can also manage a team of designers. I enjoy helping out others with their design problems and happy to provide any guidance. Luckily I got to share my story at a design panel hosted by Hexagon UX and a few people reached out to me where I was able to help with their questions and concerns. Few days later, I found out that one of them actually took my advice and applied for her first two design classes! What a magical moment!
- Website: tinakong.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @tinalilk