I was the typical mediocre good-at-nothing girl in class and grew up trying to fit in by helping with people’s art assignments.
sunday afternoons were spent doodling away at the tennis courts as my parents played their games. whenever i got in trouble, mum would threaten to cut my drawing class or confiscate my fancy 36-color set of Faber-Castell color pencils. (oh my heart still jumps at the sound of closing tin clasps) we figured i wasn’t going to survive the HK schooling system so i went to a boarding school in Canada where art finally became a serious school subject. i did what’s needed to get a pass in every other subject and spent countless guilt-free hours in the art studio. with a college application portfolio complete with 3 years worth of high school artwork (in 35mm slides!!), i got my ticket to art school – yay! i made it! or so i thought.
along the way, graphic design came about and typical of chinese parents -“drawing and painting won’t bring the bread (or rice) to the table” so, graphic design was the way to go. in the beginning i struggled with computer and technology – crashed, corrupted files and unfriendly printers had me sobbing at a night’s work gone to waste. worse, i mourned the loss of self-expression and drawing freely with my own hands. but soon- working within a grid started to make a lot of sense, Josef Müller-Brockmann- my first German word, my Swiss (and the white cross on red) obsession went strong, Helvetica became the new black… I fell in love with graphic design. turned out, graphic design was still about self expression, just not my own. sleepless nights spent trying to come up with “cool” solutions for our imaginary clients, spared days interning to get real and fancy (by that i mean merely making mock-ups for real graphic designers..) upon the end of 4 years of education, i mailed off little hand-mounted folder booklets to my favourite designers. each booklet enclosed with individual cards of my design [school] work, happy with every piece that went in it. i was ready to save the world with graphic design.
to be continued…