We had the good fortune of connecting with Susie Soojeong Koh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susie Soojeong, why did you pursue a creative career?
Since I was young, I have enjoyed trying new things instinctively. For the same reason, art and design have always been something that inspires me. I decided on my career path as a design major at a relatively young age of 10. Fortunately, I was able to study at middle and high schools specializing in arts in Korea and receive professional education on art & design earlier than anyone else. My art career began with experiencing different genres, from fine art to graphic design rather than a specific track. This experience helped me develop creativity than stereotyping a single major.
I think art is something that shows life visually. Rather than one correct answer, you can try a variety of approaches until you get to something. And in the process, I think it’s more attractive to communicate with and persuade many people than to be trapped in the world of one person. I feel that all these processes are always challenging new things and that I am grateful and happy to be a graphic designer. It seems that I am really blessed that my career matches what I liked.
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 greatest strength is that I am not afraid to challenge myself. I do not doubt that my work style has something to relate to my strength. I have always wanted to be a designer who always creates high-quality work, no matter what unfamiliar materials, concepts, or themes I encounter. And this is still the most important standard for my work.
We live in a lot of changes. Every day, countless new pieces of information are pouring in, and a variety of technologies continue to be developed that give a fresh impact. Of course, I think these changes are applied to the field of art and design. Graphic design is a field of art that is easy to experience these factors because it covers many areas. I always try to be a designer who catches these changes quickly. My graphic work has a wide range of spectra, from brand identity projects using heavy typography to motion designs to 3-dimensional works using cinema 4D. I think this is the result of my continuous training to move forward. I am a very ambitious Designer, so I am always trying to expand my skill sets in graphic design.
Let me give you an example of my experience. My art and design career started with fine art-based drawing like other artists. Starting with pencils, I grew up to be an artist who could use more and more mediums such as oil painting, acrylic, and gouache. Furthermore, I was craving to incorporate the digital technique into these paintings. From that moment, I learned digital tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and applied them to my works, so I encountered graphic design. That was not the end. While studying various fields of graphic design, I started thinking about things like ‘Can I move the digital work I created?’, ‘ Why don’t we turn these into three-dimensional ones?.’ This led me to motion graphics using After Effects and Cinema 4D. All the processes are accumulated in my experience. I was able to grow into a graphic designer with such a wide spectrum, combining my handicraft skills into motion graphics and introducing motion graphics skills into 2D-based graphic works. Whenever I work on it, I always try in various ways, even if it is just one result. I get excited when I find an unexpected way in the process.
Of course, sometimes I felt burdened when my work does not go well or when I cannot think of anything. But at those times, I always keep saying, “Who cares? Let’s just do it!” and brace myself. Of course, that does not mean to give up! If you always try to move on, you can suddenly find the answer to your problem without knowing it. I want people to think of me as a designer who is constantly developing. And I think it would be perfect if people who look at and communicate with my work would be inspired to challenge whatever it may be. I believe graphic design can bring a positive impact on society. And this is the reason why I love graphic design and think that being a graphic designer is a fascinating career. 🙂
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?
I think Los Angeles is a romantic city! So, I hope my best friend will have a trip where she can put a lot of romance in her memories. Like many LA residents, I really like the movie La La Land. You may think it is a bit cliche, but I recommend setting a travel course based on the filming location of La La Land. There are many tourist attractions that my friend must stop by, and also many local places that I love. I believe that if we go on a La La Land tour, my friends will be satisfied by walking around the entire Los Angeles.
I will take my friends to Hermosa Beach first. LA has many beaches that I like, but I think Hermosa’s pier is the prettiest. And I like many shops and ocean view restaurants on the beach because they have an atmosphere for my age. If it is not too crowded, I will stop by ‘The Lighthouse Cafe.’ Of course, the song City of Stars will continue to play in my car on the way. On our way back home, I’m thinking of stopping by Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice beach. I recommend Alfred Coffee. I like the cold brew here, and the interior is unique because it has a retro mood from the ’80s. Next, I want to go to the center of DTLA and go to ‘The Last Bookstore’ and take pictures and eat at the ‘Grand Central Market.’ Then, of course, we are in the city of stars, so we should go to the Griffith Observatory and enjoy the night view. But we must wait until dark and dark so I will take my friends to the Hollywood walk of fame. And I’m gonna go to Dave & Busters on Vine Street and enjoy the arcade game until night. When the sun goes down, we are going to Pink’s Hot Dogs on Melrose and finally, buy one hot dog at a time and go to the Griffith!
Another good thing is that I live in Pasadena. So we can continue the La La Land tour while heading to my unit. We cross the Colorado Bridge to my house in Pasadena. Then we can see the Rialto Theater if we drive around south Pasadena. Just driving around would be enough. There are so many other places to take my friends! If we have time, I would like to go to the Getty Center to appreciate the beautiful scenery and architecture, and I would also like to go to the Barcade Bar in York Blvd. And someday, we will go to the Arcana bookstore in Culver City to buy art books and do beautiful cafe tours. Oh my gosh! There are so many places we have to go. I really want my friend to come someday.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It’s a meaningful question for me! I don’t think I can write my story without the help of everyone I’ve ever met because so many people have credit for my life, haha. First of all, I would like to thank my parents for discovering my talent since I was very young and giving me full support. If it had not been for my parents’ trust, I would not have even started my career. And there were countless teachers and mentors in my life. They all were amazing people who led me enthusiastically and pondered with me, especially a teacher who helped me to encounter graphic design. And many professors at ArtCenter College of Design had made an immature international student into a talented graphic designer. Also, the cool adults and clients of the company I work for now. All the teams I worked with before have always reminded me how much I love graphic design. Of course, I must credit all my friends who gave me the courage to do it in all this process and always stand by me.
Susie Soojeong Koh