Meet Rose Wong. Rose is a recent graduate from Pratt Institute, currently working and living in Brooklyn, NY. She is a freelance illustrator, production assistant, and creative who makes all sorts of delicate drawings, illustrations, and thoughtful pieces! Rose has participated in several Light Grey Art Lab exhibitions, including Macro + Micro and the current Omnibus Treasury Exhibition. You can see her work for the Omnibus Treasury Exhibition on the Light Grey Shop, the online gallery, and on her portfolio here!
Hi Rose. Can you tell us a little about your studio practice? What are your favorite methods, ways of making, and studio habits?
I recently moved into my very first apartment and it is really nice to finally have my own room! My bedroom studio is a neat, well-lit and spacious environment, and I tend to drift off into another world when I am working. My go-to material is my sketchbook. With my mechanical pencil/ink pens in hand, I just let my hands guide me through the drawing and it would just grow. I love to get really detailed and intricate with my art.
Your work seems to be inspired by emotions, relationships, and decorative elements. Could you talk about some of the common themes, sources of inspiration, and your thoughts on 'style'?
Observation is the key to my inspiration. I love to watch people and look at the individual pieces that make up this world. For example, I would be walking around the city and a pattern on the ground would just jump out at me. And then I have to draw it! How I feel at the time adds a lot to my process and putting it on paper solidifies it. Books are also a great source of inspiration. They are solid pieces of art that I can look at whenever I want to. My book collection started in high school and it consists of artists/art that I admire. My favorites amongst them are James Christensen, Sterling Hundley, and James Jean. It’s like I can see the passion by looking at these artists and their work in progresses.
Style is so important and yet so silly. In school, my art aesthetic bounced around everywhere. I would do all different kinds of mediums – painting, ink, colored pencils – but I could never obtain a consistency or ‘style’. After being frustrated for a couple of years, I just decided that whatever I create, is my style. I never want to have just one language in art.
For the Omnibus Treasury Exhibition, you were creating a series of illustrations to be transformed into jewelry collections. What was your inspiration for your work, approach to the project prompt?
Wearable art is so cool! I have always wanted to work with applied art and this show was the perfect opportunity. When I was thinking about what I wanted to create, I turned to my tastes. What would I wear? I like to wear simple jewelry and while flipping through my sketchbook, I saw a lot of wood doodles. That’s when I decided to make them a reality!
Was this the first time you have seen your work in a 3dimensional context? What were some of the considerations during this process?
I have created paper sculptures and small installations before, but my art have never been made into anything wearable. During the process, I thought about whether or not I wanted it to show dimension or to remain flat. I drew many sketches and decided to make them 3-d looking and to also put in multiple layers of wood to make them more interesting.
I admire your illustrations for their quiet and narrative elements. What are the experiences, stories, and feeling you aim to create?
When I get sad or frustrated, art makes me feel better. But getting myself to draw when I feel down is often an uphill battle. I am often a positive and upbeat person, but sometimes when I draw, the other part of me comes through – the quiet and contemplative side. I want people to feel good when they look at my work, but to also find some sadness in it. We are all complex individuals and life is all about the emotional experiences, whether it be positive or not.
If you had the time, what project would you want to make- your dream project?
Murals! I have always wanted to make a giant wall-sized piece of art! I love the idea of working in tiny parts and then stepping back to see the whole picture. In high school, I was the head set painter for my theatre club and that sparked my dream to one day have my work somewhere that can brighten up people’s day.
What is your creative community like? Are you inspired by peers, teachers, online community? Has this challenged you in any way?
The Pratt Class of 2014 is really tight. I am friends with a lot of the illustration students as well as the graphic designers and painting majors. Our community is super friendly, driven and creative so it’s hard not to be inspired by one another. A couple of friends and I recently put on a post-graduate show. We created the collective, CLOWDA, to showcase our Classes’ many different disciplines. I also still talk to some of my teachers and they are a great support!
I haven’t utilized the online community (Tumblr) to its fullest extent but I have met a couple of wonderful artists from all over the world. I hope to create more friendships as my illustration career progresses.
What is next for you? What can you share with us for your upcoming projects, ideas, collaborations?
I really want to get into editorial illustrations, book covers and gallery shows. It’s a big step but I want to try my best at everything! That starts with creating more traditional pieces and collaborations. Right now, I am in collaboration with a friend (Nicole Rifkin) to make a portrait zine of Wes Anderson’s characters. And during the month of July, I will be building a paper installation with another friend (Hannah Xenakis) for a children’s international trade show called, Playtime New York. And on my own time, I am in the early stages of planning an art book
It’s really exciting! As long as I work hard and hold true to the craft, I feel like the world is my oyster.
Thanks again, Rose, for opening up and sharing a piece of your world! It is a pleasure to hear about your process and studio practice!
You can find Rose's work for the Omnibus Treasury Exhibition on the Light Grey Shop, on the permanent online gallery, and on her site here.