Artist Name: Rainie Kong
What do you consider yourself? Artist, illustrator, painter, designer, other?
I consider myself an artist, illustrator, designer, and crafter. I love to dabble in as many creative things as I can.
What kinds of projects you have done in the past?
I have just begun my journey with my brand “Love Rainie” professionally in 2019. The shows I’ve done are Marydale Festival, the Hmong Arts and Craft Fair, and Payne Area Wonderland. I am hoping to continue doing more shows and hopefully collaborative work or professional work.
For now I mainly work with illustration (stationery goods, prints), polymer clay and resin (decoden, charms, trinkets, jewelry, keychains, etc.), and design (my own branding and packaging and hopefully soon to apparel and so on).
Could you talk about how you got into art or doing what you do today? What’s your story? What made you want to pursue this path? Were there any challenges you had along the way?
I’ve always been into art since childhood. My main inspiration then was Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon. I loved the styles of anime art so much I remember constantly drawing the characters till I remembered every detail in their style and look. Since then I continued to draw my own characters and found my style.
Growing up I always wanted to do something in art. As a kid people don’t say anything of it but as I got older the tone was different. The negative connotation an artist gets I heard it all and it was disheartening when there was no support from the majority, but I was lucky my mother believed in me as some close friends. My senior year of High School I had no idea what I wanted to do when I went to college until the last couple of weeks before school ended. I knew I wanted to pursue higher education but had no direction as my passion had always been art. I consoled with my cousin who told me about Graphic Design and Illustration. I looked into it and there it sparked!
As for my crafts, while in high school a dear friend of mine introduced me into clay crafting. I got into making polymer clay charms and jewelry. I loved it for it was a different medium that I could mold into whatever I wanted. Now I dabble in many more crafts and thus finding my love for decoden as well. It is a big part of me as a person and shaping who I am. It is more than just a hobby.
Did you attended art school or majored/minored in Art or Design in college? If so, what were your experiences with it, and did you think it helped you become a better artist? If you did not attended college or attended but did not majored in anything art-related, what helped pushed you to pursue art or improve your craft?
I attended Concordia University, St. Paul and graduated with my BA in Graphic Design. My experiences in school were amazing but the schoolwork was a different experience. I found it difficult to keep up with new ideas constantly and to continue the passion as everything was back to back with projects, homework and personal life.
While in college I did work study in the school art gallery for 2 years, being Gallery Manager in my second year. I learned to work with many types of artists of many mediums, directing a team of student workers and taking care of the gallery. I gained experience working in a space that could be so versatile, it gave me a great outlook on how art and design could be expressed or showcased in a space.
One of my favorite shows I got to help set up in was the 2014 Tokyo Type Directors Club Exhibition. Seeing the juried pieces in person was amazing. It really made me passionate to see such beautiful designed work, I wanted to continue my studies and my craft knowing I could create wonderful things too.
I am still grateful for the opportunity to study in what I wanted. Even though career wise it wasn’t for me, but I still take the lessons with me and apply them to my work. I’ve grown a lot since then as a person and as a creative.
How do you balance art with work and life? How do you make time for art?
I’m lucky to have the option to work from home due to my family’s business, but I do deal with daily chores, family obligations, and dealing with my young siblings daily which tends to fill up most of my time. I often find that planning out my schedules weekly with everyone else’s it helps me to figure out my down time to be creative.
Like most creatives it is usually at night when it’s quiet. It’s never going to be easy to find the perfect balance, but I try to do a little bit even if it’s a doodle or planning the next project. I’m also lucky to have a supportive partner, family and friends to understand when I need to work on my art.
Do you think making money from your art is important to you? Do you make money from your art? If so, how?
For me yes and no. I like to create art that I can share and in hopes that it makes people feel happy too, but I also want to be able to do this full time as my work. I see the things I create to be just as important as any other product that we go out to buy at stores. When an artist can create something amazing and make profit it really helps them to continue doing what they love. I do make art for fun too and as gifts for family and friends.
Yes, I do make money from my work when I sell at shows or online on my Etsy shop.
Where do you get your ideas from?
From my doodles of everyday things I find cute, or inspiration boards. I try to stick to my style of cute and it’s fun to be able to create many wonderful things with such a fun theme.
What kinds of tools do you use to make your work or what is your typical artistic process like?
I have so many tools I would have to break it down depending on what it is. My room is mainly full of supplies and tools I’m going to need a studio!
My artistic process tends to be random. I like to look at things and picture what I could make or make with it. Sometimes I will doodle out what I want to create and have an idea but most times I just go with it and see what I come up with.
Are there any artists you look up to or find inspiring?
There are many I follow and it’s more so on Youtube (Katnipp, Apple.cheeks, Yay! It’s Vica, and Paloma the Peach). They are all amazing and it’s great to watch their process. Seeing their work and dedication inspires me to get to working on my own and how to better myself as an artist and a business woman.
Do you have any favorite books, apps, movies, resources, or art tools that you recommend?
For Graphic Design students I recommend “Talent is not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers”. It was a book we always referred to in class as it has a lot of helpful information to your designs, understanding the concepts, and how to apply it all into the real world. I still have my copy and still refer
to it today.
Also Design students join AIGA! You can contribute to just $50 for a year to be a member. You can still get some exclusives to events and programs. Also, they have an event called 3rd Thursdays where many creatives meet to enjoy whatever activity is happening while socializing and making connections. Most times big name designers are there too and it’s great to be able to connect with them. Plus, if you show up often they will remember you so that’s also a plus!
Skillshare and Youtube! Of course Youtube being free you can find almost anything and learn from it. Skillshare you will have to pay for but they do offer good free courses. What I love about it is that you can find what you need but it’s a class that really hones into what you’re learning about. I find it easier to follow and more organized for my taste.
For the most part I’d say to really look into what inspires you and to ask and learn from others as much as you can. I find being able to connect with people who are just as passionate in the same things as you will help you to grow as a creative.
Is there any advice you would like to give to young artists or people just starting out?
Continue to create art and keep your passion burning. Even in my worst of times, my art is something that I can always turn to. Whether you chose to do it for yourself, to show, or for profit never give up on your art.
For those who plan to do it for show/profit continue to work on your craft, join showings and reach out and make connections. It will be hard, and I can’t say success will fall unto you right away but it’s a process to doing what you love. Learn to market yourself through people and social media.
Learn to take critiques and understand other’s interpretations of your work. I know we may not always like to hear it, but it does help to recognize things you didn’t notice, new ideas, and more growth. I find that getting perspectives from different kinds of people always help than just those in the same field.
In the end continue to do what you love, be humble and have fun!
Is there anybody you would like to collaborate or work with? Could be a person, another artist, or company.
I’m open to working with anyone! I would love to do some collaborative work whether in design, illustration, crafts, etc. As for companies I always wanted to see my items in retail stores. It’s a big dream for the future. Hopefully I can make it happen. :D But a big shout out (if that’s oaky) to Mai O Mai’s Floral and Gifts for being the first to reach out
to having my products in her shop. It’s a first step and I thank her so much for
What is your ultimate dream project or something you’ll like to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?
Basically to grow my brand and doing more than just selling at shows. I would love to hold classes to teach people what I do. I know it’s easy to search online but I know some people love having the one on one and seeing how it’s done in person. I want to have classes inclusive for children too. I know they are the ones who are big fans of my work so it would be great to teach them too!
My next goals are to do group gatherings with other creatives in the community. Most times creatives work alone. It does get lonely so it is nice to be surrounded by others who know the feeling. I’m happy to have a small group of art friends to start with and we’ve learned a lot together.
My ultimate dream is to open my own shop/café. I would love it to be a place I can provide art and craft supplies, and feature many different artists, have classes, and be a cozy space to be creative or study.
I still have more to go but I’m excited for it all!
What is the best way to get a hold of you or view or purchase your work? You can list links to your website, online store, or social media.
You can always send an email my way if you would like to chat. Otherwise you can follow my shop and social medias. I will post updates on projects, my work and upcoming shows I will be participating at.