Sophia Chang, ESYMAI – Interview
Hailing from Queens with an avid spirit for the arts, Sophia is a true product of her environment finding everyday excellence quite comfortable. She received her BFA degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design in 2010. Since then, she has been an active member of the global creative community.
From her student years to the present, Chang has immersed herself in a variety of creative fields from printmaking, graphic design, web design, illustration, marketing, event hosting, art curation and more. Sophia as the poised business beast that she truly is beyond hype.
As of last year she has founded her own creative agency titled, ESYMAI. Some of her most notable clients include the NBA, Samsung, Anthony Bourdain, Urban Outfitters, Nike, Red Bull, Proenza Schouler and Puma.
On her spare time she enjoys frolicking through the park with her dog Jonah and giving him unconditional love.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I’ve always wanted to be involved in the artistic field and I originally wanted to be a fashion designer, but when I got to school and saw everyone in school I realized I hated everyone.
What do you LOVE?
Sleep. Food. My dog.
I usually am a late sleeper. I think better creatively like that. So if I get a project I usually do some research depending on what the client is. So what type of style, what type of medium I want to go for what type of color palette.
What is something you had to learn the hard way?
Everything professional in my career. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I continue to do so. That’s how you live and learn.
What is one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?
On my free time I foster rescue dogs and I work with an organization to financially raise a child in Rwanda.
How did you get to where you are?
I was drawing ever since I was little — whether in a little notebook or on a random piece of paper. With that passion in mind, I attended Parsons where I initially entered with a focus on Fashion Design and soon switched to illustration. I was following my dreams. Most individuals are scared to take that leap, but you have to do it. To get to where I am, I put in a lot of hard work. Whatever opportunity I saw, I took. It is integral to take those chances and to capitalize on it. Also, if you are not taking full advantage of your own capabilities, there is little room for growth. If you are struggling to make the switch over, remember, at the end of the day, it is about doing what you love. No amount of money can take away the sense of gratification. Just do it.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for good health, this great city for my gifts and talents, and the opportunities that have been given to me so that I can do what I want.
How do you define success?
I don’t know because I haven’t achieved it yet.
What’s the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to you?
I was watching tv on my couch once checking my email and a stranger sent an email with an attachment and the attachment was an image of a tattoo he had gotten. It was an illustration of mine.
What advice do you have for emerging designers?
My biggest piece of advice is, like any other profession, to submerge yourself into what you do. Have a goal in mind because after that what it comes down to is hard work. Get an internship, freelance, work a part time job, do whatever it is that you can to get you to where you want to be. Remember that nothing is handed to you; you have to work for it.
How do you think we can make the world a better place?
We have to teach the next generation what we know to help foster a better future. In order to make the world a better place it starts with us. It’s all about paying it forward.
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Featured photograph by: Ja Tecson www.jatecson.com