January 12, 2017

We spoke to Taiwanese-American illustrator and designer Aster Hung about her series ‘Garden in the Dark’, where she finds inspiration and the words she lives by.

UO: Where do you find inspiration?

To me, inspiration comes from enjoying life. That’s kind of a broad answer, but my artwork is a reflection of my experiences and emotions so I’ve always believed that the best way to find inspiration is by going outside! Seeing people go about their day-to-day lives and interacting with a variety of environments spurs my creative process.

UO: What is your creative process like?

This really depends on what I am creating. As a professional, I prefer to let the client direct the process since my job is to bring their vision to life. As an artist, I always start with creating a mood/inspiration board to inform how my piece will turn out. Then all that’s left is to work on the piece (with plenty of tea and music involved) until the artwork is complete!

UO: What is your first memory of being creative?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing, but my grandmother, who created clay figures and sculptures as a hobby, probably let me help out. After that I learned how to hold a crayon.

UO: Where did the idea for your ‘Garden in the Dark’ series come from?

Garden in the Dark is a series portraying all of the fears that have kept me up at night throughout the years. It started as a way for me to vent my frustrations that I had difficulty verbalizing, but quickly grew into a way for me to process my negativity in a healthier light. I always welcome viewers of the series to develop their own interpretations and have really enjoyed seeing how others connect with my pieces.

UO: How do you stay creatively motivated?

I take breaks when I need them. After just finishing four years of rigorous art education, I’m keenly aware of how my work can suffer when I’ve hit my limit. Taking a break from my own work gives me the opportunity to expand my vision by seeing what’s happening in the world. My resolution for 2017 is to create content that brings joy to myself and others.

UO: What other artists inspire you or inform your work?

List of peers: Connor Heckert, Lillian Crooks, Nan Cao, Molly Stanard, and Krystal Smith

List of other artists I’m a fan of: René Gruau, J.C. Leyendecker, Tomer Hanuka, Amei Zhao, Seiichi Hayashi, Jimmy Liao, and Oamul Lu

UO: What has been your proudest career moment?

I’m still looking for it! My career goals are admittedly all over the place right now. Once I have more concrete goals to work towards, I know I’ll find my moment when I’ve fulfilled those goals.

UO: Do you have a motto that you live by?

Life and Love! I suppose this isn’t really a motto, but as a very career-oriented individual, I frequently forget about the important things in life. Alternatively: “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” — John Steinbeck, East of Eden.

UO: Does your artwork reflect your personal style?

This isn’t something I’ve really thought about! People have often told me that my artwork is very “me,” but I haven’t asked for clarification on that. Maybe I should start asking?

UO: Describe your work in three words.

Flora, Lines, Glow-filter