Creative Contributors: Stefanie Wong
In this new blog series, we’re profiling the creative minds and collaborators behind each Bravery issue. Our first feature is Stefanie Wong, the cover artist for issue 10. We love her portrait of Maya! To learn more about Stefanie and her stunning work, read on!
Stef Wong's artwork is influenced by her own experience of having lived in different countries and being a woman of color. Her work often highlights people of color who are kind, intelligent, strong and overcomers of adversity. She is passionate about showcasing them, their faces, their words, and their influence. When not making art or master-chef'ing in her own kitchen, you'll find her in hipster cafes, ramen shops, and art/kitchen supply stores around Vancouver with her 2.5-year-old son and her pastor hubby.
What got you interested in art? How did you get started?
I was obsessed with drawing from a very young age. I remember getting in trouble for my uncommissioned bedroom wall murals at age 4. I practiced drawing my favorite cartoon characters all the time. (Rainbow Brite, anyone?) In high school, I was able to push my skill level further with the help of my art instructor. That's where I discovered my passion for portraits.
What is your favorite medium to create in?
Aside from the ease and (almost) instant gratification of digital, I love the luminosity of oil paints.
What is one of your favorite projects that you've done?
I created a collection of cute aquatic creatures for my son. Most of them were quick and easy warm-ups but I found a lot of joy in creating them and plan to turn them into a keepsake book. They are simple illustrations that always make me smile.
What do you love most about what you do?
The fact that people will pay me to draw! That it's possible to make a living making pictures that exist in my mind. That I don't have to answer to anyone but myself. That I have the flexibility of working from wherever I want to. For me right now that means it's possible for me to stay home with my son in his early years while still pursuing my passion. About every other day or so I say to my husband "I love my job!"
What's something hard about what you do?
As a freelancer, you're not always sure where your next contract will come from and you can start to doubt yourself. It's something I've learned to roll with and trust God for. Thankfully, I've gotten enough work to keep me busy and a little down time that I use to develop my skills and portfolio. Also, working with a toddler around means a lot of interruptions, which can be a creative flow killer.
What is your dream project or collaboration?
Illustrating a cookbook for a major publisher. It would bring together my love for food illustration and cookbooks!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet or an astronaut.
Talk us through your process for creating the cover for the Maya Angelou issue.
My goal was to capture Maya's gleaming eyes and dynamic smile that is so recognizable. It's what I imagine when I think of her. Her pose reflects the elegance, strength, wisdom and bravery that for me, defines her. I wanted the background to reference her famous work I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
This is part of an ongoing series on our blog called "Creative Contributors." We love working with all different types of creatives and are excited to highlight their work and creative processes here. Click here to read other features in this series.