Today, I am presenting my second surprise — my new logo for my blog! My friend from high school, Estella Yu, designed it for me. I love it and as I told her, it’s like my own bat signal. Another thing about the Aker image I noticed that I didn’t until now is that the shape of the lions’ tails, going up the their backs and to the sun has an unintentional sankofa shape! Hmmm?
Anyways, below is my interview with her about her journey as an artist and the logo:
1) How did you know you wanted to be an artist/graphic designer?
I kind of knew since I was little that I liked art. My favorite thing about picture book stories were the illustrations that pulled me into the imagined world. They inspired me to draw my own pictures. My mom also had a lot of influence on me growing up, since she used to fix and make jewelry as a side job and I would sit with her playing with beads. She is very crafty herself and I valued her opinion on the quality of my artwork. As I grew older, I continued pushing myself to develop my abilities. While I did well in other subjects in school, art was the only one that I ever felt really excited about. And I was really good at it too.
I never really planned to become a graphic/web designer. It sort of resulted from a number of things. I wanted a career in art that wasn’t solely performance/exhibit based. It is so difficult to sustain a livable salary with this because entering works into exhibits is extremely competitive and costs of transporting work can get expensive. Also, I wasn’t sure I wanted my work to just be pretty objects to serve as decorative pieces in a stranger’s living room. More and more I liked the idea of creating artwork that is also functional and can help others. I also realized that plenty of companies rely on their websites for their businesses so there is always going to be a need for designers. Especially since graphic/web designers now also create formats for smartphones and tablets and such. I thought, not only will I help others but my artwork will be all over the Internet. I took a web design course in grad school, got hooked and started freelancing.
2) What has your journey as an artist been like?
Aside from knowing that I wanted to be an artist, the rest has been a journey of self-discovery. It was a lot of fun learning so many different types of medium on my own as well as in college. I am grateful to my undergrad experience for giving me the chance to try more traditional hands on approaches such as print-making to sculpting wood. I wasn’t just creating on a whim anymore but rather learning to research my subject’s purpose and defending my choices of expression. It’s a thrill for me to reveal my completed work to a client. It was also really hard because I constantly second-guessed whether I would have been better off sticking to a practical career like pharmacy or nursing, which seemed like what all the other Asians were studying. Although I’m almost done with school, art is a profession that needs constant curiosity and practice. Even now as web/graphic designer I am constantly trying to learn and keep up with the latest design trends and techniques for coding HTML.
3) What are your favorite styles of art and what themes if any do you center on in your art?
I love to doodle with my pen and pencil on any scrap of paper I get my hands on. Usually it doesn’t amount to anything, but sometimes I take my sketches and scan them into my computer so I can digitally ink and color them using Photoshop and Illustrator. That’s the basis for my brainstorming when I create most of my graphic and web designs. My favorite style of art tends to be very detailed with an emphasis on chiaroscuro. This is the juxtaposition of light and dark in a composition to create emotion and drama like in Caravaggio paintings. I find I like to incorporate this a lot in my own pieces. An underlying theme that resonates in a lot of my work is the idea that human relationships are sacred. They make up a big part of who we are and even though our experiences are different they help us relate to each other.
4) What was the process in the making of the logo?
Before I made your logo, I read your blog post on the design you wanted. It seemed you already had a vision of what you wanted it to look like. I also browsed your blog to get a better idea of what it was about. I then did some background research into the Egyptian gods Aker and Chnoubis to understand their symbolic meaning. The rest was paper and pen sketching of the combination of the gods. I combined the Chnoubis above the Aker so both entities share the sun in their horizon. The fusion of the two implied the combination of their powers as protectors of the past, future, heaven and earth. I took creative license to flip the position of the Chnoubis (normally facing the left) and rearrange the Aker’s arms to form an “F”. The strip of land between was removed to simplify the image. I wanted the graphic to literally be futuristically ancient, depicting ancient gods with digital inked and colored as a logo. The yellow emphasizes the sun while the remainder of the logo is just black and white for contrast.
5) What are you working in next and do you have future projects/goals that you are working towards?
I am currently still freelancing and busily designing and building web sites for clients. I just finished a course in Interface Design and presented American Eagle’s UX Design team with a design I researched and created for their iOS 7 app. This semester I am taking Sound Design and creating pieces that will be promoted on Facebook and possibly published on the radio. My plan to open my Etsy craft gift store, “Mojo Charms” had been put on the back burner because my two co-founders had other obligations and backed out. So now I am working with my boyfriend Jong to jump start it.
6) Where can readers see more of your work and contact you?
I have a professional and academic site where all my current work, portfolio, resume and contact are listed. Check it out at www.estellayu.com