We had the good fortune of connecting with Jin Xia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I knew I want to pursue an artistic career since kindergarten. When I was 5 or 6, I used to draw all day, and our house was full of my drawings. I was a quiet and shy kid, but I was passionate about making images. My parents are very supportive of my hobby. After high school, I left my hometown Hangzhou in Southeast China to study architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. One semester I took an elective class called “Words and Images” in the Communication Design program, and our professor showed us American illustrator Keith Negley’s work. I remembered I was deeply touched by the concept and expressive emotions in his images, which got me super excited about the power of illustration and storytelling. I told myself if I didn’t become an illustrator I would regret it when I get old.
Last year I completed my master’s degree in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art and moved to Brooklyn. Now, I work as a full-time Illustrator for Paperless Post, a design-tech company in New York City, and I keep taking editorial commissions from time to time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from others is that I have a problem-solving mind, and I deeply enjoy figuring out conceptual challenges. With a background in Visual Communication, I have a wide range of interests, from social news to nature to technology to lifestyle, and I am always willing to experiment with new styles. When I get an editorial illustration commission, I am super excited about learning a new topic and translating my perspective into visuals. It was never an easy process. I feel very grateful that I have met some amazing mentors along my creative journey. The most important thing I’ve learned is to trust your instinct, and never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. I believe the best work is created when you’re challenged.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ll bring them to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during the blooming season! I would also take them to The Shed for a mind-blowing exhibition, walk along The High Line, watch the sunset in Dumbo, and then enjoy a feast in East Village!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents! They always told me to do what I love, and success will follow. I would never make it here without their unconditional support.