We had the good fortune of connecting with Suhyeon Bae and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suhyeon, what do you attribute your success to?
Always giving 100% and more never failed to bring me to the next step! Whether I liked a job, or how small and trivial a project looked, I learned that if I still do my best within my scope, it becomes much bigger than how it started. It brought me more opportunities, and I gained more trust from my team or clients therefore was given more power over what I create. On the other hand if I do only as much as I think the project or job deserves, it always ends where I expected. This seems like a simple thing, but I truly learned it when I started working after college and it motivates me to always do my best.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Working as an illustrator for clients, I got more chance to work on personal projects outside working hours. I have been practicing and creating art work with emotions in it. Back in school, I struggled with having my own distinctive “art style” for the longest time. Then I met an artist named Art Baxter with such a strong art style. He told me he changes his art style every couple years and it takes him couple months to a year to completely get used to it. I was embarrassed that I was just sitting there frustrated waiting for an art style that suits me to magically come to me when a professional artist with decades of experience is not afraid to venture out and achieve a style he wants. So I started proactively looking for a style I want and succeeded in building my own art style after a year. On the other hand, over time, I also realized that an art style is not as important as I thought. I had a liberating realization that a style is just a facade and the emotions art work conveys is what will distinguish me from others. And ever since then, I’ve been more focused on putting warmth and emotion into my art through light. I want people to see my work and feel the peace, love or perhaps anger that I felt while making it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My itinerary will mostly be around food- I’m a foodie and I can’t resist it. I will bring them to Roberto’s taco at Del Mar, looking at a train passing by next to ocean while eating their carne asada fries brings me more happiness than anything. At sunset, I will take them to Mt. Soledad. You can’t skip Convoy St for some good Korean food and boba. Although their parking is a nightmare, it’ll be worth it. Definitely bring them to In-N-Out, where I’ve been an avid advocate of protein style burger, which replaces buns with lettuce and makes the burger divine, but no one listens to. Acai bowl at the Mission Bay deserves an entire afternoon as well. I will also take them to Julian to get apple pie and walk around the street with cute vintage shops that sells Christmas decoration all year around. That place is so peaceful and quiet, and I love it. Please find a time to squeeze in Urban Plates brunch and if they are up for another carne asada fries, bring them to Kotija Jr Taco Shop to feed them the godly Monster Fries. And everyone will be in food coma for the next three months.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Since I have been drawing my whole life, I struggled to find a reason to draw during college. I was wondering if I chose my path as an artist because I was just good at drawing as a child and not because I wanted to become an artist, or if that even matters. So I was not doing so great in school. And when I finally decided to bring it up to professors about why I was performing so terribly, only one of them believed in me and saw my potential. She told me she knows I can do better, that she knows I am capable of much more. Her name was Tory Novikova. She opened my eyes on putting my voice into my work and thinking outside the box. She got rid of my fears on initiating, exploring and experimenting through her various challenging projects. I used to be only focused on my skills to become the best artist, but she changed me to aim for becoming a mentor like her and inspire others. I was lucky to have come across a true mentor like her at the right time and I give big shoutout to all the teachers like her who are helping students like me.