with Nick Onken

I recently sat down with photographer Nick Onken for his podcast series #ShopTalkRadio. I shared a few words about my transition from student to being a full-time freelancer.

“Being able to plan ahead is super important for a freelancer.”

“Why did it catch your eye? That helps you develop your taste.”
Today we’ve got my awesome friend and super talented illustrator, Sophia Chang in the studio. Sophia has done some amazing collaborations including a big one with Anthony Bourdain for his No Reservations tv show poster art (which we get to hear the story about in this show). She’s collaborated with Nike, the NBA, Steve Madden, Complex mag and many more. She’s currently about to release a clothing collection she just collaborated on with Puma. Sophia is an inspiring artist and has a lot of great advice on evaluating internships and how to get started as an artist coming out of school. She’s got a great mindset to share and she sheds a good light into what the life of a professional illustrator is actually like. She and her work inspire me. She is a proactive creator. Her alias and website is esymai.com. Find out what it means in the show. Sophia is a great example of how someone trained in design and illustration can transcend across different types of arts. She’s done print making, apparel, websites, graphic design, illustration, show curation, and others. Design thinking allows you to create more efficiently in a larger spectrum, especially in business. We did a little photoshoot of her in her workspace so check those out above and get an idea of how she works. Let’s dive in!

Some things we learn in this podcast:
On the bravery to embrace personal creativity
How she landed the the first client with The Travel Channel
Working with and for Anthony Bourdain
Overcoming being bad at math with Asian parents
The monumental moments that empowered a career in art
A schedule for a hustler trying to make the most from 4 years of art school
Lifestyle of a freelance illustrator
The value of multi-disciplinary internships – Even getting coffee is incredibly powerful
Attitudes for excelling at internships
Skills for cultivating your personal artistic taste
The typical day in the life of Sophia Chang
How to pay the bills when you quit your job
Where the internal drive comes from to get the best work
How Sophia Chang gets around resistance
The origins of "EsyMai"

Links mentioned:
Check out her stuff: www.esymai.com
Check out her Illustration feature with Anthony Bordain
See her stuff on HypeBeast


Sophia Chang™