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IN MY ELEMENT: INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA WONG

Here at Element Eden we find ourselves in a standstill, mesmerised as our eyes wonder across the work of some ridiculously talented creatives. Our world is full of a whole lot of amazing people with talent no words can describe. In My Element is a means of shining light onto some of the most inspiring women we’ve happen to come across. This brings us to the introduction of the next big thing on the typographic scene, Jessica Wong.

Jessica Wong has us in complete adoration of her sweet typographic skill set, and we’re sure you’re going to fall head over heels into a dreamy like state of appreciation towards this talented super human. With almost too much raw talent for us to handle, Jess is nothing short of amazing, with an added personality that could make the cloudiest of days feel like blue bird skies. This 24 year old graphic designer, illustrator & letterer recently showcased her first ever solo exhibition ‘I Believe in Space’ at Blacklisted in Surry Hills. Winning over our hearts with a love for type, we caught up with Jess on a beautiful morning in Sydney getting to know this creative little beauty a little more.

If you want to see more of what Jess gets up too check our her instagram @jess_wong and www.jesswong.com to view more of her beautiful work online.

Words & photographs by Mia Parcell

Getting to know Jess a little more...

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start?

I’m a 24-year-old graphic designer and letterer, originally from Brisbane and now based in Sydney. I work full time as a designer and practice my lettering on the side. I would say my love of letters started from when I was obsessed with handwriting in primary school! I remember creating a new styles of handwriting for myself all the time, and forcing myself to write my cursive r’s and s’s the old fashioned way. I started getting seriously interested in typography while studying design at uni, and often incorporated custom typography into my assignments. Then when I first moved to Sydney, I was pretty lonely and would stay indoors and just practice my lettering a lot. I started uploading it to social media, and it’s kind of just grown from there.

2. How would you describe your artistic style?

I find it hard to describe, because I am constantly trying to use new styles and techniques in my work so I don’t get bored. I started out by creating purely digital lettering, but lately I’ve been working with brush and ink which is fun. I guess one consistency I have is that I like script lettering. A lot. I love drawing big fancy shapes and flourishes and making letters join each other in ways that might not usually make sense.

In a more general sense, I try to create lettering that is very expressive of its content, and maintains a natural imperfection or human quality about it.

3. When do you feel ‘In Your Element’?

At home in my tiny studio/living/dining room, with a brush in hand, and my husband Tim Cruicky somewhere nearby.

4. Can you tell us about your simple life pleasures and how you spend your ‘me time’?

I wish I had something poetic to say here but ‘me time’ is usually spent binge-watching tv or movies with my husband in our tiny house. We recently did all the Harry Potters in pretty much one go, and it was awesome.

As for simple life pleasures — a pat with a friendly dog does the trick.

5. If you could leave at the drop of a hat to travel anywhere, where would it be?

Definitely Kyoto. Kyoto is the best place in the world. I visited for the first time earlier this year and was only there for 3 days, but I feel like it’s my spirit city and can’t wait to go back.

6. Where do you regularly turn to for creative inspiration?

The internet! I have a growing pinterest profile where I keep collections of interesting and inspiring images I come across on my daily travels across the web. These images might come from blogs, sites like Its Nice That or Brand New, or from work my creative friends are producing. Lately I am trying to make an effort to find inspiration outside of graphic design/typography-specific projects.

7. Recently you had your very first solo exhibition "I believe in space", how was that experiecne for you?

It was a little strange. It’s weird seeing your work on a wall with a little plaque underneath it for the first time! But overall it was a very positive and educational experience. Through the show, I was able to teach myself some new skills and meet some great people, and prove to myself that I could pull off a big project. It was also really nice to have a project I could call totally my own without the pressure of clients or creative directors. It was a pretty hectic experience, but I’m looking forward to doing all again soon, hopefully!

8. Tell us about some of your favourite moments which have occurred during your career as an artist? (e.g. exhibitions, art school, people buying your works etc.)

It’s hard to pin point specific moments. I guess there was a moment when I realised I was actually doing something with my little lettering hobby: that people were responding to my work. Actually this is probably a something that was made up of lots of smaller events: being invited to have a show at the gallery in Sydney. Being asked to speak about my work at a conference. Seeing my work ‘in the wild’ for the first time. Hanging my work on the gallery wall and realising, “holy crap, I did a thing!”

9. What are you looking forward to and what’s your next big project?

I’m looking forward to having a little break! And to speaking at Typism conference next year, which will be my first speaking event ever. After that, I’d like to start planning another exhibition maybe. Who knows!

10. What type of environment do you need to create your work and get in the right mind frame?

A clean-ish studio space, some questionable music, plenty of snacks and a few plant friends (the ones that aren’t dying). And a good 1-2m radius of clear floor space where I can throw all my process work. I like working in a clean space to start with, but I am definitely a messy worker.

11. What is your ideal way to spend time over a 24-hour period?

Ideally it’s a weekend and I get a sleep-in, then I go to brunch with my husband. Then we go see a movie and I eat too much popcorn. Then it’s home to either watch more movies in bed or read a book, or if I have some interesting projects going on then I would work on those for the rest of the night. Hopefully, a cheese plate, a tub of Messina and an encounter with a friendly pup occur somewhere in this period.