“It’s the only thing that makes me feel alive”: Cindy Kang on her emotive illustrations
- Jyni Ong
- 12 June 2019
Born and raised in Seoul, along with a couple of other stints living in New Zealand, Australia and the US growing up, Cindy Kang eventually moved to the big apple with hopes and dreams of becoming an illustrator. She studied illustration at New York’s School of Visual Arts, pursuing an interest in storytelling through heartwarmingly atmospheric drawings. Currently represented by Bright Agency and with a number of commissions under her belt, Cindy’s American dream is gradually being realised; one painterly illustration at a time.
“I was always interested in storytelling,” explains Cindy, “whether it’s in the form of written language or visual language. However, being from the other side of the world and living as a ‘foreigner’ for more than half of my life meant that it was inevitable for me to face some language and cultural barriers.” Taking up drawing as a way to loosen anxiety during those “new girl experiences”, illustration became a release for Cindy, as well as a way to let go from the pressures of communicating perfectly in English.
Despite the fact Cindy’s chosen medium acts as a mode of expression for her contemplative thoughts, the process still presents constant challenges. “I aim to perfectly capture the atmosphere of a moment through visually pleasing images” which is no mean feat, even for the most seasoned illustrators around. But for Cindy, the sense of accomplishment is always worth it. No matter how arduous the process is, knowing that her work is clear and communicative makes the task at hand all the more fun.
Recently, Cindy collaborated with the #ArtOnLink project for LinkNYC. “To spot my work while walking around on the streets of New York has always been a dream of mine since moving to the city to become an illustrator,” says Cindy. “The first night my illustration was displayed on kiosks throughout New York, I received a message from a kind passer-by who said my artwork reminded him of why he loves the city. This was very touching and the most memorable reaction to my work.”
Continuing to make art that portrays the experiences of people and herself as it is “the only thing that makes [her] feel alive," Cindy hopes to one day create her own book of illustrations (another life dream that she would be ecstatic to fulfil). By paying close attention to the emotion of her illustrated figures, Cindy continues to depict a breathing space for her drawn characters while revealing her wild imagination at the same time.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.