We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellen Ma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellen, how do you think about risk?
I’ve been a pretty big risk taker throughout my art journey. Risk taking has taught me how to set real expectations and that failure is natural, especially since I’m a creative who does a lot of exploration. For example, if I start to think about taking my art in a completely new direction or I thought about picking up a new medium, it’s a lot of time, money, and effort that I need organize my thoughts around. I also think about commitment and passion, and it’s generally those two qualities that will tell me if I’m ready to take the risk. With failure, I think I’ve grown from “this idea didn’t work so I’m going to drop it and move on” to “this didn’t work so let me think about how to refine it before giving up on it” and somehow that process actually makes me really excited. I think it’s a big signifier (and reminder) that I want to learn how to improve and be better.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m still working towards becoming a full-time artist. I’m currently working a day job and during nights / weekends is when I work on my art. Currently I find a lot of joy having a day job because I like interacting with others and that gives me a creative break. Plus working a day job really helps with finances. I think what I like the most about this set up is not only does it work for me, but I’ve also given myself a choice of whether or not I do want to go full-time artist when I feel the time is right. Sometimes the challenge is not being able to produce as much art as I want but probably the biggest lesson I learned from other artists is the quality really matters. Quality is what really showcases your passion and it will really shine through in your work.
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?
Ktown is a great way to spend a full day exploring and eating. We’d also most likely head to Santa Monica for the farmer’s market and check out the beaches. I know we’d really enjoy going to San Diego for a few days to visit Balboa Park and the zoo. And of course, lastly, we’d have to check out Disneyland. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This particular shoutout is for Elda (@thousandskies), Erica WIlliams (@hookieduke), and Yoshi Yoshitani (@yoshiyoshitani). They’re amazing creatives and really motivate me to continue my art journey. What I find most inspiring about them is their willingness to share their experiences and being very real about the art journey. I also wanted to give a shoutout to my art bae, Addi Miyako McClure (@amiyakom). We tabled at a lot of art events / cons when we started and I really don’t think I could have made it through them without her support. My next shoutout is to my partner, Greg Sakakura. He only ever shows unbridled excitement for ever creative idea I bring up and really believes in me. And lastly, to all my friends and supporters – your encouragement means the world to me and I hope to continue my art journey with all of you.