We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Ning and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My marriage and my illustration career kicking in happened about the same time. I was happy to be immersed in art/work. Having married an artist with similar goals and values called for this lifestyle to be an ideal situation. I missed the ultimate assessment of work life balance, it should have been addressed when my kids came in to the picture. My career at a peak and I was more determined to keep it all together. Answered to every call efficiently to my best as artist, mother, wife, daughter, et al. Quality of work morphed to stress. Life all work was destructive. Many years off-balanced went astray. Now my sons have grown and the kind of time I need for art is returned. At this point, the quality of work and life will not go ignored. The work in the balance weighs in heavier and feels healthy and fulfilling.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work has been in numerous print publications, on billboards, packaging, films to mobile wraps. I was excited to join the infamous OC Register Newspaper’s art department in ’89. Artists won awards left and right and the paper received the Pulitzer in ’97 during my 19 years of employment. I’m proud to complete some 700 assignments for the paper alone aside from my freelance business. Proud to never miss a deadline within a two day turn around per illustration from concept to finish. Much needed challenge was mastering the airbrush technique. It gave me the best quality of print reproduction on newsprint. It was a big challenge to replace brush and paint with a mechanical airbrush gadget. It did bring forth a style I appeal to and come to keep. The biggest decision was the transition to digital. It challenged my abilities on every level. The struggle prolonged and I lost few freelance clients through this period. I wanted to break away from the meticulous process of airbrushing at the same time keep the look only an airbrush could deliver. I’ve taken a new direction as a digital artist in to the fine arts. The challenge is to find the fit of digital work in the ever so traditional industry. I’m still not happy having my final image stuck inside a box and the sacrifice I made. Digital process offers many explorations, and most importantly, I’m having fun.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
1). Soak up the skyline view of Long Beach from Lions Lighthouse at Rainbow Harbor. Go for some shopping, ice cream and a ride on the ferris wheel across the way at the Pike. 2). Drive toward San Pedro over the new Desmond Bridge and be on the look out for the vertical-lift Heim bridge, circa 1948. 3). Grab margaritas at the Green Onion Mexican restaurant, a 30 year establishment in San Pedro. Their fajitas and machaca entrees are delectable. 4). Visit the Battleship USS Iowa Museum on Harbor blvd. and take a bit of history back with you. 5). Onward to a breath taking scenic drive along the outskirts of San Pedro in to Palos Verdes. Walk the Lakeview and Catalina trails through Trump National Golf Club and catch the awesome sunset.
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?
My good friend of 30 years, Monica Edwards is an artist I met in my years at the OC Register Newspaper. We’ve grown together as artists, parents and friends through the years. She is my idol, a tells-it-like-it-is, no nonsense and nurturing person. Her adventures motivate me to explore new ideas and opportunities. She is a recognized plein air painter and shows her work at numerous exhibits. The book, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami helped me through my times of struggle. As I used running to destress, meditate and contemplate… this book worked with me in the same way. My mom is my hero. My parents, my brother and I immigrated to the States in ’73 from Japan. Noriko spoke only Japanese and was a full time mother. She established herself in the fashion industry towards a career as pattern maker. She worked closely with Shelli Segal of Laundry for many years. At 85 years of age, she has and is consistently showing me the ways of life.