We had the good fortune of connecting with Jane Kusuma and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jane, how do you think about risk?
I am quite a risk-averse person. I grew up in a very strict household that is heavily focused on stable career path and practical planning. But the few times I’ve mustered up the courage to take considerable risks in my life, it has definitely paid off. A big risk I took in my personal life was to move from Dallas, TX to Seattle, WA with nothing lined up and I was relying heavily on my savings, which, *thankfully* mitigated a lot of the stress of risk-taking. Recently, the biggest risk I’ve taken in my career is to leave a very stable job I was growing increasingly unhappy in to start my own business in late 2019. I did the same thing I did before, I made sure I saved up enough money to buy myself a little breathing room financially. I’m definitely glad that I did before leaping off because 2020 was quite an unstable year to be running a brand new business. Nevertheless, I am beyond glad I took the risk! The role taking risks has played in my life have been quite astounding. In 2020 alone, I have learned work-life balance in a way that is very healthy for my mental health. I’ve gotten the time to reflect and redefine my *own* idea of success. I am grateful that my business is thriving even during the pandemic. But most importantly I’ve been able to cultivate and nurture my relationships whether they are personal or business relationships. And those made the biggest impact in my life during this time. I recently started reading a book to help me unlock my creative self further, and there was a quote that resonated with me deeply: “Leap and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs (and, on a personal note: a little bit of savings goes a long way!)

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am most proud and excited about the growing I’ve been doing in the past year creatively. They come in many forms: written form, complex intricate illustration and mental wellness driven messages behind all of my creative explorations. For a very long time, I was in a supporting role within a small design firm and then within a large corporation. Even though these experiences trained me to become a good designer and collaborator, I never really got a chance to explore my own creative voice. Therefore, I am grateful that I’m now given the chance to do so through running my own creative studio. The way I got to where I am is a combination of hard-work, a stroke of luck and a bit of privilege as well. I am not a US Citizen. I went to College in Dallas, TX and I was given 3 months after graduation to find a job within my field through OPT program for International Students. Thankfully, I was able to find my very first job with a small design firm within the time frame. Although, the struggle of immigration was still looming when I found out that I had to go back to school for a Bachelor’s Degree to be qualified for a work-visa even though the company I was working for at the time was willing to sponsor me for an H1B visa. This is when my own privilege played a big role, my parents were gracious to support me through another year of getting my Degree, which I know wouldn’t have been a choice for many immigrants out there. Towards the end of my quarter, I caught a lucky break and I was chosen from many who applied yearly Diversity Visa Program and finally received a Green Card to be a Permanent Resident in the United States. Which means I finally have the ability to work legally in the US. It wasn’t the easiest road but it made me stronger. It made me more resourceful, it gave me an even stronger drive than I had before. It also taught me this: although hardwork is important, it is not all that is needed to thrive. This world is a complicated place. I have learned empathy and compassion towards others who struggled and are struggling to make it here in the US. It taught me to not take anything for granted. Recently, my work has been described as clean, playful, whimsical. As for my brand, I am an illustrator, letterer and designer who is passionate about mental wellness, dogs and most importantly just and sustainable future for all.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a really fun question to daydream and plan (especially during quarantine!) I am a bit of a foodie. So if the trip is a week long, I would be planning a lot of food excursions and a mid-week hike to avoid crowds. Revel is a Korean Fusion Restaurant and hands down my favorite in Seattle. So we will definitely be going over there!

A few other spots I will be adding to the itinerary will be:
  • Early morning *beat the rush* Pike Place Market walkabouts, pick up fresh flowers, fruit and enjoy some morning pastries or go for brunch.
  • Ferry Ride to Bainbridge Island.
  • MoPop Museum for the rainy PNW day.
  • Coffee from Monorail Espresso in Downtown Seattle.
  • A little bit of shopping around Downtown Ballard. Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass.
  • Sunday Market in Fremont.
  • Damn The Weather for a nice cocktail and snacks.
  • Nishino for one fancy japanese dinner.
  • Early morning hike at Rattlesnake Ledge because it is a high-reward (view) and a shorter hike so we can enjoy more food afterwards.

There are so many restaurants and hiking grounds to check out in Seattle/PNW area!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am thankful first and foremost for the support of my partner. He is my anchor when I feel self-doubt and impostor syndrome trying to kick down my door. I am grateful to be surrounded by positive, encouraging and kind friendships in my life. I would never be able to do this alone. I also want to thank Julisha Kim for referring me to do this interview. Thank you!

Website: https://www.jovietajanecreative.studio/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jovietajanecreative.studio
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jovietajane/

Image Credits
Mock-Ups purchased from Moyo Studio. Floral Shot by Wild Felt Photography Illustration, Lettering & Design by Jovietajane Creative Studio

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.