interview

Ariyana Suvarnasuddhi who is a brilliant senior illustration student in MICA asked me to interview for her thesis project.

Her major theme of work is food, and has created great images based on Asian culture.

She made awesome questions all about me and my work, and I’d like to share some questions that people occasionally asked me. 🙂

Do you consider the fact that you had to learn American culture in order to work in American illustration as an advantage, disadvantage or double-edged sword for your work?

For about two years, I had a hard time adapting to American culture with regards to my work and personal life.

I saw everything in my narrow view that I had had for 23 years in Korea, and struggled with using the second language. However, after a while, I realized that my Asian base could be used an advantage of my work. Many Americans are interested in Asian culture, but I have a totally different view. Even though I have great painting and drawing skills in art, if I didn’t really understand cultures, they are useless. Illustration is a language, so it’s more important for artists to absorb different cultures in their life.

How did you come up with the idea for Eggplant girl? Most of your themes revolved around food, religion, and self-image/memoirs. Do you wonder where these themes stem from?

I decided to become vegan when I started Grad school. Since then, my major dishes changed to vegetables, and I was compelled to study about vegan life. When my mom visited me last summer, she said “ American eggplants are huge~!!” because Korean eggplants are less substantial. What my mom said inspired me. The shape of American eggplants reminded me of a chubby body, and I was attracted by its name. How come Egg+Plant could be a name of a vegetable, and it was funny enough for me. Then I put my character into Miss Eggplant.

Most of my works are from my personal life experiences. Sometimes I’m producing the drawings to my work using symbols. Most of the characters are people who are around me during the time.

Since your current work is a series of comics, do you see yourself as fine art or comic oriented? There are some stories that are very personal, like your ex-boyfriend series, did you feel embarrassed about showing them at first?

Yes, I did. My fine art base is the strongest thing I have. It helps me think more out of the box using shifting approaches and a variety of styles in all kinds of my work, and made my eyes open wide. I didn’t really have so many ex- boyfriends, but I thought as long as I made them funny stories even though it will be my fake autobiography, it was going to be a cool project. But I was embarrassed when people believed I had seven- ex boyfriends. For now, I have no plan to continue the project. (I’m truly conservative about this matter.)

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