[Interview] Paper Artist Jackie Huang On Art, Success And Walt Disney Productions

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How difficult it is to pursue a career in today’s date whose financial gains are uncertain! Not everyone has the will strong enough to go ahead in life in such a field and still be happy with one’s choice. One such career is that of an artist and one such person is paper artist Jackie Huang. With her skills honed perfectly in crafting with paper, she’s on her journey of being an example for those aspiring artists who lack in their will to pursue their preferred career.

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A freelance artist, Jackie’s specialty is paper. She has an eye for design and a background in illustration. Her work ranges from pop-ups, to paper sculptures, to quilling and more. Her work experience and lifestyle radiates such inspiration that the love one develops for her works just increases. Watch this video on her – and you’ll know what we mean.

 

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Read on to learn more about this artist rich in creativity and motivation.

 Q. Tell us a little more about yourself! What is Jackie Huang like, not as an artist but as a person?

I’m not sure there is much to tell! But if I had to summarize myself up in one word, it would be “neat” (adj).  – habitually orderly and clean in appearance or habits; of simple, pleasing appearance, style, design, etc; clever, dexterous, or apt.

 

Q. Is there any other medium or technique that you would like to use or work with in the future?

I’d love to learn to incorporate lighting into my work! While I don’t have an electrical engineering background, I’m curious to one day figure out how to play with light in my paper work.

 

Q. Making those masterpieces is no easy task. What are the difficulties that you may face in your work daily?

When you’re working on three-dimensional figures, it can be hard to predict exactly how something is going to turn out until you physically do it.

The hardest part is in the planning stages before cutting even begins.

I really have to visualise in my head how the piece will be put together, but it’s not until I’m gluing pieces together that I’ll find out if I’m right. Sometimes I’ll have to do create the piece a few times until I get it right which can be frustrating.

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Q. What are you working on right now? What kind of work can we expect in the near future?

Right now I’m working on several pieces for a few different galleries. My website has a list of all the gallery shows I’ll be participating in, but you can expect to see some new work in Disney’s WonderGround Gallery, Gallery Nucleus, and Gallery1988 before the end of the year.

 

Q. What is the creative process that you follow for your work? Are you more methodical in your approach or spontaneous?

Methodical, for sure! I think it’s because I started doing paper art after discovering a love for creating pop-ups.

You can’t be spontaneous in your approach with pop ups since it requires so much engineering and precision.

Personally, I like to plan everything out before I begin cutting. My favorite part is in the pre-production/design process.  I get to think about all the ‘what ifs’ in this stage but once I start cutting and gluing, it’s almost like auto pilot.

Q. Tell us a little more about your educational background. If you weren’t an artist, which profession would you have chosen?

Growing up I always wanted to be an artist, but my parents were constantly concerned I’d be a poor and starving.  So my dad wanted me to find an industry where art meets money which is how I wound up getting my first bachelors degree from the University of Southern California in (live action) film production. However, during my summer internship at DreamWorks Animation, I realized I really wanted to work in animation as an artist.  So I went back to school to study illustration at Art Center College of Design.  That’s where I discovered my knack for paper.  Since I’d wanted to be an artist since I was five years old, I’m not sure what else I’d be!  My best guess is maybe a wolf conservationist (I was really into wolves as a kid.  We even got a husky because they were the closest relatives to wolves) or efficiency expert (because I cannot stand places that don’t work efficiently).

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Q. What, through your work, do you want to propose to your viewers?

I’d like to offer viewers a new perspective. The medium I use is something people encounter every day and I want to transform it into something they may not have thought possible. I hope it inspires others think outside the box too.

Q. Which is your personal favourite among your entire collection? Is there a reason for that?

Choosing favorites pieces is like picking you favorite child! You can’t do that, haha. But in all honesty, I don’t really have ‘favorites’. There are more ‘landmark’ pieces for me – ones that I find extra special because I discovered a new technique or made a personal breakthrough. For example, my ‘Castle in the Sky’ pop-up since it was my first pop up ever and my ‘Long Curls’ paper illustration because it had a lot trial and error before it finally came together.

 

Q. Who or what do you draw your inspiration from?

I draw a lot of inspiration from my life and childhood. I think childhood is the time of great discovery. You learn so much, both good and bad. Plus, everyone’s life and childhood is different, so its the best way to tell unique stories.

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Q. Are there any stereotypical notions about creative art which you oppose?

The only stereotype I really dislike is that lots of people think that, because art is ‘fun’, it’s not as valuable as other services.

Sometimes when I do conventions, I’ll hear people walk by and scoff at the prices artists are asking for their work. Yes, while the materials themselves may not be that expensive, the amount of time we put into making the piece can be quite long which is what is costly.

Artists have just as many expenses as any other person and our time is just as valuable. I wish more people respected that.

 

Q. We want to know more about your internship with Walt Disney Productions! Could you let us in on more details?

Way back in 2006, I wound up getting a summer internship at Walt Disney Productions.  It wasn’t in the animation department, but in Character Voices which is where they would do voice recordings of all the characters for things like park announcements, video games, etc.  It was super cool and my mentor, Susie Lum, was the best!

Did you know the people who do the voices for Mickey and Minnie Mouse are actually married in real life?

Q. What advice would you give aspiring artists out there who want to do unconventional art like you?

It’s going to take time to get really good at your art. And then it’s going to take even more time to get noticed.

This is definitely the long game, so be sure you really love your own work and learn to love the process.

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Q. Do you find being an artist a financially stable profession? What are some of the ways in which artists can ensure a stable income?

If only! To quote one of my professors,“If you wanted to make money, there are a lot of easier options.” Being an artist is most definitely NOT a stable profession. Art, like fashion, comes in and out of style. What you do may be on trend now but totally off a few years from now.

The work will always come in waves, so it’s better to just do what you love rather than chase the trends.

There’s no way to ensure a stable income, but you do have to constantly keep working.  The minute you stop, people forget you exist.

Q. Do you have a creative corner – a place where you feel inspired?

Sadly, my inspiration place tends to be the shower! I think something about the monotony and quietness of the place allows my brain to open up. But by the time I finish, I always forget what my great idea was so can’t write it down.

Q. If you had to spend the rest of your life eating one food, which would it be?

Potatoes.

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Q. Which do you like more, beaches or mountains?

Mountains.

 

Q. What is an average day for you like?

Cut. Snip. Glue. Repeat.

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As it goes without saying, she is an inspiration and motivation for many just in the way she deals with her life events and the modesty that is imbibed across every bit of her nature. We wish her all the very best for her coming progress.

Check out more of her lovely work – all made with paper! – on her website here.

All Images Courtesy Of Jackie Huang

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