Hailing from Queens, New York, multimedia storyteller Sophia Chang has collaborated with a-list names such as Samsung, Nike, Adidas, Apple, and the NBA.
Passionate about storytelling via mediums such as illustration and design, we spoke to Chang about the culture in her home city of New York.
What do you love about the city?
The nonstop energy and diversity of cultures, people, and personalities
What area do you find yourself in the most and why?
I’m in downtown a lot. Typically from Union square down to LES. I attended Parsons School of Design for undergrad, I would work part-time retail at formerly Journeys and PUMA in Union Square while doing internships in Chinatown, SoHo and Flatiron
How would you describe people’s personal style?
How they want to show up to the world. Speaks volumes.
Favourite restaurant and why?
I have too many but I guess my favourite right now is Fish Cheeks! Amazing Thai food, beautiful decor, and they have one of my favourite wines.
Where do you go to feel inspired?
The subway cart. Filled with advertising, diverse people, conversations and whatever might be outside!
What is your day to day like at the moment?
6-7 day work weeks. But I love my job, so I’m doing what I love 24/7!
Are there any artists (photographers, painters, sculptors etc) that we should check out? What do you like about them?
Aaron De La Cruz based in SF, ItsALiving AKA Ricardo Gonzales in NYC, Steve Sweatpants in NY, Brian Tampol in LA, and Haley Ann Robinson in Portland. I’ve followed their work for a few years, always exciting to watch them grow and they are artists I actively try to support with my work, and also by purchasing their art.
Favourite music artist?
I listen to southern rap, r&b, funk and soul, bossa nova, dancehall, bachata, salsa, Christian music, even hymns… I’m all over the place.
How would you describe the creative community?
I see my creative community as one family. It should be cyclical, look out for each other, support each other, find job opportunities for each other etc. We ‘eat’ together.
How has the pandemic affected your creative process?
I was travelling a lot, every other week prior to COVID for the past few years. It was exciting, I was given a lot of opportunities to travel to cities around the world, but it was very exhausting. The pandemic has allowed me to ground down on what’s in front of me. I love working for hours straight with no distractions so it’s allowed me to step up and handle a lot more work
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I’ve had the opportunity to be able to work with a lot of amazing Fortune 500 companies in my career. At this point in time, I’m more focused on empowering my community than just ‘what I can collaborate on’. I want to use the skills and relationships I have to build platforms to empower other creators and shed light on their work.
What's your favourite part of your job?
I love convenience, efficiency and getting things done. Focusing on these areas allows me to have a great internal infrastructure on how I work, and it bleeds into my work relationships so my clients are also working with a well-oiled machine.
How do you keep yourself motivated in the current climate?
I've got good friends I check in with. I have so many aspirations and goals and I’ve focused on the 10,000 hours if not more in the past decade to refine my skills. The next decade-plus will be focused on building and bringing these aspirations to life. That’s enough motivation for me, regardless of the climate.
Have you had any creative revelations post-pandemic?
I’ve never really worked 6-7 days week after week after week. I kind of love it!
You've worked in a lot of different industries, which one is your favourite?
I love all of them, that’s why I continue to work with all of them.
You've worked with many brands, how do you help them achieve and maintain an authentic voice?
I stay true to their brand voice. I spend time studying the project, campaign, their brand voice before bringing in my illustration, skills or opinions into the collaboration. It’s important to strike that balance and maintain their voice while elevating the message with my art.
What are you excited about at the moment?
What are you working on at the moment?
One of the projects I’m most excited about is my tech startup Common Ace (www.commonace.com) which is a one-stop-shop curated sneaker marketplace for women. We allow people to shop from multiple retailers all around the world. It’s been amazing to have the focused time to buckle down on bringing this to life. Above all, we have been able to build a beautiful team of contributors all throughout the US all working virtually towards bringing this amazing project to life.
What’s next for you?
The future is bright, just watch @esymai on Instagram.