Yinkong Vue

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Artist Name: Yinkong Vue

What do you consider yourself? Artist, illustrator, painter, designer, other?

I consider myself to be an artist with a focus in illustration.

What kinds of work do you currently do or what kinds of projects you have done in the past?

I’m currently working full-time as an illustrator and animator at a slot machine game company.  Much of my personal work is inspired by the Hmong culture and folktales. In the past I’ve dabbled in making animations and comics, mostly for personal projects. I’m also currently working on my portfolio and some t-shirt designs.

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 been into art for as long as I can remember.  As a child, my older brother and I were home a lot. We would spend the day coming up with stories and drawing them on paper. This idea of creating your own characters and worlds really stuck with me and just continued it as I got older.

As for challenges I’ve faced, I still feel quite young in my art career and experience many challenges as an artist even today.  But going back some years, at the end of high school I struggled with what I wanted to do in college.  I had always wanted to do art or something creative but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it as an artist. I eventually took a year at a university studying computer science, but it didn’t take long for me to realize I had no passion for it. From there, I decided if I really wanted to do art I had to go all in.  I wanted to go to an art school. It took quite some convincing before my parents accepted.  They had always loved my art, but like many others, were afraid I’d end up struggling. Also, art school wasn’t cheap!  I knew that if I went to art school I was going have to dedicate myself 110%.  My parents eventually came around and since then I’ve had their full support in which I’m truly grateful!

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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 graduated with a BFA degree in animation from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). I think art school is a great place to grow as an artist and meet other like-minded people.  Like many things, you get as much out of it as you put in.  Being at this art school forced me to view art from different perspectives–to be open, try new mediums, and learn more about the fine art side of things.  I know it’s not for everyone, but I think it can definitely add to your work.  Unfortunately due to my lack of knowledge at the time, I had gone to MCAD for its animation program. I had dreams of being a 2D animator which is almost impossible now in America, and I believe MCAD is still quite far behind if you’re looking for industry standards.  Though I grew overall as an artist, I would say to really research these schools and make sure they have what you need since they can be quite expensive!

How do you balance art with work and life? How do you make time for art?

I have found balancing my personal work with my personal life after my 9 to 5 job to still be a struggle. I find myself waking up earlier or staying up later than usual to get the time I need. Mostly, I think you just have to develop a routine that works for you.  If you’re truly passionate about your art you will try until you figure what works best. Sorry, I wish I had a better answer!

Do you make money from your art? If so, how?

My main source of income comes from the full-time job, so yes I make money doing art, but it’s not quite my end goal!

Where do you get your ideas from?

I’m inspired by everyday life, folktales, and films!

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What kinds of tools do you use to make your work?

For most my work now days I usually use Photoshop, though I recently got a iPad pro and I’m excited to try Procreate!  I do miss working with traditional mediums though.

Are there any artists you look up to or find inspiring?

I’m inspired by so many amazing artists! Just check out who I follow on instagram! Growing up though, a few big ones are the visions and stories of Hayao Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Otomo, and the late Satoshi Kon.

Is there any advice you would like to give to young artists or people just starting out?

I would tell young artists to keep practicing, study from real life, and work on the fundamentals. Having a good understanding of the foundations and real life will allow you to really push your style and be versatile as an artist.  Also, I would say to take advantage of the internet! In this day and age you can make connections, research, and learn so much!

Who would you like to collaborate/work with or work for, if anybody? Could be a person, another artist, or company.

I think having an opportunity to work for one of the giant animation studios (Disney, Pixar, Dream Works) or just working within the entertainment industry would be quite an experience!

What is your ultimate dream project or something you’ll like to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?

A dream project of mine would be to create a fully realized world through storytelling, whether it be comics or animation.  Something I’d love to accomplish in my lifetime is to be able make a living just off of my personal work.

Are there any current projects that you’re working on or in the near future that you want to tell us about?

I’ve always been into fashion and clothing. I have plans to dabble in making some t-shirt designs.

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.