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I grew up in Taiwan, spending most of my time indoors, drawing fantastic creatures and comic book characters. Throughout grade school, I kept on drawing which eventually led me to decide to go to art school in illustration. I got my first big break from Steven Heller at the New York Times Book Review. Since then I've worked with clients such as, Entertainment Weekly, McSweeney's Books, Men's Health, the New York Times Magazine, MTV, Nike and Target. Illustrations have been included in Communcation Arts, the Society of Illustrators and American Illustration. My work is best described as a form of digital silkscreening. Most of the work I do for clients are digital while my personal work is either silkscreened or painted/drawn. I currently work out of a studio in Los Angeles, comprised of three graphic designers and one environmental designer ( and live in Pasadena with my dog Cody. More artwork can be found at and processes at

When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
The pivotal moment was when I won my high school district competition for art, with a charcoal drawing of an old woman. Though to be honest, I've been drawing for most of my life and it was pretty much assumed that I would do something art related....I don't think I figured out that I could make a living out of it until one point in college. Come to think of it, I didn't know you could make a living out of illustration, until after I graduated and started working commercially! Teachers tend to be very furtive about pay etc. I was going to school at the Univ. of Souther California when I figured that I should probably enroll in a more specialized program. So one semester away from graduation, I transferred to Art Center in Pasadena and did the whole no sleep non-stop stress for 4 more years. Currently, addicted to coffee.

Who or what inspires you?

I'm hugely influenced by Japanese woodblock artists, classic graphic design, Paul Rand, Saul Bass, all the Pushpin guys. I studied from great teachers in school such as the Clayton Brothers, Jason Holley, Steve Turk, Bob Kato, Jeff Smith and Mark Todd, Esther Watson. All of which were huge influences on my early development as an artist. Being surrounded by great classmates who were constantly pushing me to do my best. School tended to be very intense.

Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
Art Center College of Design, and I also studied Fine Art and Film Animation at USC.

How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?

I try not to do the same thing twice. Or at least keep looking at new things that inspire me or influence me in some way. I'm always very interested in what's currently going on in the art world and I try not to live in a sheltered bubble of just my friends and peers.

What are some of your current projects?
I just finished an album cover , spread for Entertainment Weekly, and illustrations for the Shivas Iron Society and the New York Times Op-Ed.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I'm probably most proud of my personal work (the silkscreens), specifically "A Flurry", and my "War" series. ( These were done shortly after a death in the family and feel extremely personal and I was working with a few different themes that surprised me with the outcome when I finished the pieces. I love working in a certain direction at first and then not knowing how it's going to come out. It's all about risk!

Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?

I would like to get back into painting more. I use to paint all the time in school but have always felt like I was better at drawing and ended up pursuing that more when I started working commercially. I would love to learn how to use the letterpress machines. One of my studiomates does a lot of letterpressing so I'm always around it.

Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?

Work hard, be persistent. Keep an open mind to what your perception of what art might be. Learn what you're truly good at, and what you enjoy doing the most. Work to become excellent at that.

What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?

If it communicates the idea on several different levels, all the while being a great piece of art. I think I read that somewhere though! Maybe from Norman Rockwell?!? But it's very true...illustration that achieves different things at the same time can be very satisfying.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
Having another life outside of work. Spending time with my girlfriend...Also, I just got a new puppy who keeps me entertained and cleaning his mess everywhere he goes.

And finally, what is the best thing on prime-time TV right now?

I actually don't own a TV right now. I've been watching mostly movies. However, my girlfriend has TiVo so I would have to say, Project Runway, hands down. Maybe because it's easy for me to identify with the designers and the stress. I hear the Office is really good, but I've only seen the UK version which I think to absolute genius. I was going to quote from the show, but it feels a little inappropriate here...??

Recent Work:


Unknown said...

Very cooool posting!!

Chandan Crasta said...

hi Josh,

really appreciate your work. i like your loose sketchy style of drawing and your flat colouring too. very neat.

all the best

~ chandan

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Josh your work is amazing!

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