You’ve heard about her and seen her name. Here’s part of her story…
Her name is Sophia Chang aka Esymai aka #BunQueen (her hair buns are serious). She’s not only an artist, she also curates shows. If you were at the Agenda Long Beach Babe Show, you definitely saw her there. She was the curator of the art exhibition. Her favorite part of being an artist is the freedom. "I am not constrained to any restrictions commonly associated with other careers. Being an artist allows for a ton of freedom with regards to self-expression and work ethic. This is very important to me because I work best when I am in control of my day." Art serves as a platform for expression, inspiration and challenges.
She always knew that art was the field she wanted to enter. Her intended major in college was fashion design. After some interactions with her classmates, she knew that this was not the major for her. At this point, she transitioned into illustration. Judging from her work, illustration is definitely her calling. She's still into art because it has been a huge passion of hers. Her love for art could be seen since she was young. Her first introduction to art was in elementary school. She used to sketch everyday in either a little notebook or on random pieces of paper. "It is really hard to loose the passion for something you truly care about. At its truest form, art is creative expression and that's what I love to do."
As an artist, what inspires you?
SC: Everything around me serves as my inspiration. When I walk to the train I could meet a new person or discover a brand-new shop and be inspired by their aesthetic or the stories they tell. With art always on my mind, my eyes are trained to notice the minutest details. Aside from the new things I encounter, I am inspired by fellow creative and no matter their craft.
If you were not doing art, what would you be doing?
SC: Who knows. The world always has its way of working things out.
What made you decide that you wanted to be an artist?
SC: I always knew that I wanted to enter the art field, as my intended major in college was fashion design. But, soon after interacting with my classmates, I knew that it was not the major for me. That is when I transitioned into illustration.
How would you define the art culture?
SC: I think its great. I would say it's a culture with little boundaries, new players every year, new inspiration, new challenges to feed and work with. I really love the arts community. Whether you’re an interior designer, food stylist, painter, photographer, - these are all beautiful mediums for human expression. The possibilities are endless.
How does it feel to be a part of different exhibitions?
SC: It is really a great feeling. Whether I am a part of it or curating it, it’s a great feeling to see people come out and recognize my work. I recently was a part of Caroll Lynn’s sneaker showcase at the Reed Space. It is great to see that individuals want to learn more about me, even if its just about my favorite show. I also curated an event an art exhibition at Agenda WMNS in Long Beach entitled Babe Show. For the event, I showcased some of my favorite female artists. It was great to work with people that I respect and have full creative control when putting together the exhibition.
What major projects have you worked on and why did you take them on?
SC: Two huge projects are a PUMA collection and NBA Celebrity All-Star game commissions. For PUMA I created a men’s and women’s line that is currently releasing across the world. The collection includes sneakers, jackets, sweaters, etc. This opportunity was my first huge collaborative job with a major sportswear brand. I took on this project because it was a grat creative opportunity to work with something I love – clothing. It was a great way to flex my creative muscles through a different medium and on a huge platform. For the NBA, I designed and illustrated a custom box, containing jerseys, for the celebrities participating in the All-Star game. Kevin Hart, the MVP, received a personalized portrait illustrated by yours truly. The reason I took on this project with the NBA was because I am a huge fan of basketball. As apparent in previous illustrations, e.g. Jeremy Lin and John Strickland, basketball has played a role in my life. It’s a great feeling to give back to something that has given so much to you.
Is there a specific project that you would like to work on?
SC: I would love to have my own collaborative sportswear brand. Blurring the lines between fashion and fitness. My lifestyle already embodies that so now I just have to find a brand willing to work with me. I think it can really take the fashion market to a new zone
Where do you see your future in art?
SC: I love what I do now. I am blessed to be living my dreams. I’ve done a lot of cool things but still so much more to accomplish. I see myself working harder and doing greater things in the future. One of the things I love doing is giving back to the creative community. As a student and intern I learned so much during my college years. I currently do talks at various universities around the world. I would love to go back to teach at schools.
What advice would you give someone who desires to be an artist?
SC: Set a goal. Once you have that aspiration in mind, do everything you can to reach it. It may be a bit cliché to say, forget about the naysayers, but its true. In order to reach your personal goal, you must listen to yourself and your supporters. As an artist, its your vision not someone else’s - remember that.