jingjingtsong

Jing Jing Tsong

illustrator
Location: Longmont, Colorado
jingandmike.com

All images are copyrighted and strictly for educational and viewing purposes.

Interview

2004

How did you become a designer/artist?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been attracted to images and type. Sometimes not even being interested in the message but instead being drawn by the abstract composition of letterforms, color and photographs or illustrations. This may be because I grew up in a household where there were many Chinese and Japanese publications laying around, I couldn’t read or understand them, but I could appreciate their visual impact. After going to school at Penn State with an emphasis in design, I worked in a series of small studios eventually becoming partners with my husband to found Hothouse Design and Advertising. We worked with a lot of national companies in the outdoors industry (Rollerblade, RockShox, Yakima, etc.) The business was fun and successful but too much on top of raising 2 kids. So we sold the business and took a 2 year sabbatical to surf and focus on building our illustration portfolios. Now we work out of our home, doing illustration work for publications all over the US, freelance design and I am also teaching online for Westwood. I love all facets of my work. And I love the flexibility I have.

Where are you from originally?

I’m still trying to figure that one out.

What are you doing now?

If I had to choose between design, illustration, photography or web design I would not be able to do it. Shoot me now. In addition to freelance, I teach at and I am the Advisor for the Illustration department at Parsons. If you had told my 17 year old self that this is where I would be and this is what I would be doing I would have gone into hysterics on the spot in complete disbelief.

I am also the Founder and head of The Soup Group (www.thesoupgroup.net), a small group of artists and designers looking to spread a little cultural and artistic diversity into the world. Last year, in response to world issues, we put on “The Peace Show” in Japan which stopped in Fukui, Shizuoka and Hiroshima. The show was very well received and we look forward to doing more events.

What are your plans for the future?

Figuring out what to make for dinner.

What American artist inspires you most?

Just one? Impossible. Jean Michel Basquiat, Lee Bonectou, Helen Frankenthaler, my sisters: Edie and Jane Tsong. Keith Haring, Thomas Hart Benton, there are too many to list.

What unlocks your creativity?

Taking destination-free walks. No i-pod, just letting my mind wander. No pressure to problem solve. Once I relax, that’s when it happens. I also have to constantly remind myself that no one is imposing rules on how I think. It’s all up for grabs.