We had the good fortune of connecting with Jasper Wong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jasper, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Early in my career, the balance was skewed heavily to my work. I was young and the urge to make a name for myself was paramount over anything else in my life. My personal relationships were one of the many things that suffered due to this imbalance. Time and maturity tend to correct these imbalances, especially when you become a father. I did not grow up with a solid father figure. He left when I was 12 and my brothers and I were raised by a single mother. So when I was blessed with fatherhood, it was important for me to become the dad that I never had. The balance started to shift towards family. At the same time, I needed to provide financial stability, so work was always at the forefront of my mind. I found it very difficult to balance the two. One was always tugging at the other for dominance. I am still trying to find that balance, but I have become more aware of when my work starts creating a widening imbalance. Family is always more important and it should always skew in that direction.
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.
Being an artist is not an easy path in life. It requires determination and thick skin. Rejection is the norm and the ability to continue pushing forward is a necessary trait. There is no clear path, so striking on your own is the best path forward. Most of my career has been spent keeping the doors open and trying new things. I find it is important to be a multi-hyphenate. Diversifying your skillsets is the key to success.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have a hand in populating my community with murals and art. We have created hundreds of murals over the years, so we’d start there. Do a tour of the art and be immersed in the color of the neighborhood. We’d continue by getting good food. I’d say Native Hawaiian cuisine would be the first on the menu. It’d be a must to eat good poke, laulau, kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, pipikaula, haupia, and luau. Nature walks would be the next item on the itinerary. Hawaii is full of amazing hikes and beaches. A nice swim in the ocean to top off the day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Entrepreneurship is in the lifeblood of my family. My grandfather built his entire life from nothing. I witnessed my mother raise three sons on her own while starting her own businesses. She had a frozen meat company and a bakery. We all worked in those stores throughout our childhood. My work ethic and drive are from my family.
1. Photo by Andrew Tran. 2. Photo by Pete Ulatan. 3. Photo courtesy of Jasper Wong. 4. Photo by Mark Kushimi.