We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Sy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
My form of social impact may appear small but it is honest and it is focused on serving communities beyond myself. Both my work as a freelance designer and my work sold in the Artreleaf shop has an underlying dedication to social causes I believe in. I often work with small businesses and non-profits as a designer, and for every sticker or pin sold at my shop, I donate proceeds to charities for sustainability and/or health. I hope to contribute in service or in monetary value whenever possible for as long as these movements need it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For any creative, the road to success is rarely easy. I acknowledge that I had advantages and privileges that helped my journey to where I stand now as a creative person and that I take that into account with any design challenge or illustration project I may be tasked. I faced most of my challenges with learning how to speak up more for myself as a queer woman and as an Asian American with immigrant parents. I picked up skills and knowledge to accommodate for changes in a task during freelance jobs. And often, I created my own work to signal the kind of clients I wanted to work with in the future. I’m excited to be developing as a multimedia designer and illustrator who has a passion for branding, UX/UI, learning experience design and art direction. Ultimately, the work I do for causes in education, sustainability, racial justice, gender equality and so much more will be the work I’d be excited to make for the rest of my life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is a lot to see in the city of Los Angeles and even a couple nice spots in San Fernando Valley where I live. I recommend the following: In SFV: – O’Melveny Park at dawn. It’s a great hiking spot that can be a challenge but is worthwhile for the view at the top. – Reseda Point at sunset. I know it’s still in a residential area but it is a nice place to get a view of the valley without as much of a hike. – Fishbowl Poke Co. in the valley is my go-to poke shop and has a great variety of options for poke. – Mon Ramen is probably my favorite ramen shop in the valley, located in Woodland Hills. – Pho So 1 is my favorite small restaurant chain in the valley and the best pho in the valley for me! In LA: – Little Tokyo & Chinatown are my favorite places in Los Angeles. I think the truly OG and local shops that have been there for decades and withstood so much gentrification they’ve witnessed deserve more love and support to keep the history alive. Skip the Howlin’ Rays line and eat something true to the names there. – I’m a fan of doing art tours with the public art throughout DTLA and the Arts District. Hueman has a lovely mural on Alameda Street and there’s wonderful work always being made or refreshed around the area. – As a designer, going to contemporary art museums such as LACMA or The Broad helps with creative out-of-the-box thinking and a refresher on how people interact with art today. – Last but not least, Leo’s Tacos Truck is amazing and tacos in LA are usually always spot-on.
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 shoutout is to my best friend Helen L. who runs Adorangeble, and helped me through encouragement, advice and support to start my own personal shop. Knowing her since we were kids, she has helped me grow, up close and afar. She is a wonderful friend to everyone she meets, extremely kind and funny, and uplifts any atmosphere she walks into. We sold together at a booth at Designercon once, learning how to collaborate as designers and as human beings more than ever before. She is a key reason my business got off the ground when it was just a dream.
Me, Ichiro Ao and Adobe Creative Jam.