Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 2 years ago

Sophia Chang | Average To Savage EP101

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the one hundred and first episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring artist Sophia Chang. Paul Guarino talked with Sophia Chang discussing her journey as an artist, what her breakthrough project was, and working on Topps Project 2020. Follow Sophia Chang https://www.instagram.com/esymai/ Podcast interview with Sophia Chang was originally recorded July 13, 2020

This is the average to savage podcast with Paul Garno, everyone in anyone, athletes, swebs and much more of everybody. Welcome back to another episode of average, average PODCAST. Our special guests today Sophia Chang. How's it going? Hey, I'm good. Thanks for having me on. Appreciate you coming on. So let's just go back in time. How did you how'd you get started? Originally just doing artwork. I was an only child and who was really bored all the time, and we didn't even have cable. I had very pretty strict Asian parents. Those school sill school all the time. But yeah, you just honestly bored them and I'm sure I had add when I was growing up. Blocks of energy and trying was just what I had available to keep myself into kine. So I've been drawing for as long as I can remember just to honestly eat my mind, because my doesn't have much going on. And so, you know, I actually started to pursue why? I always had this dream when I was throughout elementary school. I wanted to become a fashion designer. I would have one of those black and white men notebooks all the time I was a kid. Always have these dragons and I guess you call it just catchbook. And then when I actually had to apply for colleges, my my parents, my dad comes from a family of engineer for there's a lot of pressure there, and typectly for Asian Americans or Asians period, if it was like be a doctor, lawyer, and so I actually didn't think I get into a lot of schools, except art schools, ironically, and so, you know, through my undergrad years at Parson schools design, where I actually learned about the professional side of the creative fields and what's available, like you can actually build an entire career or from drying, you know, like if I like doodle school dope, but like you can actually put it on topeads, you can do it for advertising, you can design book covers, like and you just start to see this whole world. You're the world around you and it completely different spops, especially growing up in New York City, where there's just like images and adds everywhere. You're like damn, like I could actually make that. I could. And I grew up loving sneakers and street where. So there's a lot of kind of cross criss craft between, you know, street are are graffiti growing up, taking the train all the time and it was just a colorful, lively place. My felt like there was a space for me and that you know. I know you went to college to do you think like you think college is a right fit for artists? Well, Parsons, one part of this, Parson's was a private school. It was extremely expensive and there was a ton of very rich kids who are in the school who were really just looking for the easy way out because mom and dad have money. They don't have to worry about it anyways. And every do in tens of dream of being a fashion designer. And granted, I don't think everyone is cut at for school. I know that if I, you know, probably followed what my parents wanted me to do, I become a doctor lawyer, I'd be really bad at it and completely fail in that arena. I think so. Like I just am not wired that way. So it's not who I am and you know, I'll have a lot of tears that fell into the pressure of what their parents wanted them to do and they're quite frankly, a lot of times I'm happy when they get into their late twenty early Thursdays, because it's not where their heart is and they're just as grown robot going into work every day. But you know, if there is anyone who's listening that's interested in pursuing the creative arts, I mean at the end of day it's a business. So you can be a doctor, lawyer, you can be intent, you can be a small business, but you're more so small business owner than anything that. You need to get your hustle and your business right. You need to understand you can be a great artist, but your product, d your...

...service. But at the end of it, do you know how to talk to clients? Do you know about client acquisition? Do you know about your you know your customers and your adiance, or do you have your branding straight digitally on soul show, if you have a podcast? You know, like, like all that kind of stuff, you have to have that in place. You have to have your definite a role and you have to come for it, you know, and if you don't, you're the reason why you'll be falling behind behind some of your compatiors. So it's not just being an artist getting an education. That's like just like the first quarter of it. So much more. That's the first hiding. This is a baseball thing. But yeah, it's there's there's a lot more to it and a lot of it is also just like not failure, but making your sure of mistakes and making sure you're smart and learning from it as well. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, like I had a kid doing some graphic designs for me that was like eighteen. I was just an he was talking about college and I was just like, I don't think you need to go to college if you could already do stuff like this and you know you can in turn out a place and work your way up. You can do school of Youtube, you can do plenty of interest. I mean I have to say I learned a lot from my internships. I learned a ton for my internships that I didn't learn in schools of my professors. But I also had amazing access because of college. Yeah, I was in the library all day. Every day I was in the library reading these books, these art libraries, these art books I typically probably wouldn't have access to if I just went to my local library or, you know, Barnes and noble and whenever. But there was that. And what else is there? That equipment. The schools have really good, like technical equipment that I may not have been able to effort on my own, and so that allowed me to spore and just like messing with different a lot more texting. Sure I know every single every single day, every single hour that I had within four years of Undergrad I made sure I was not idle. I wasn't like checking around a college parties doing any of that. I was like now you guys can do that, I'm out here trying to win, because when I graduate I'm competing for the same trips as everyone else and I was lucky, you know, for my parents are able to support me. F'm like, I have to make something out of myself. Failure is not an option. So y'all will do what you want to do on theay. Focus. Yeah, where's yea? Where's that, like motivation come from? I think there's. I think that, you know, definitely being around your peers, seeing what they're doing. I think a lot of it too, is just just heart and passion in creativity. You know, like I said, I saw close for myself when I started to see the world around me a little bit different when it came to the creative arts as a professional field, and I really open to learning. So the internships allowed me to learn a lot as far as what I wanted to do. What I didn't want to do is I in terms of sign artist. I in turn a complex magazine, complex media designing. I learned how to design magazine because of an internship, and it's literally internships are so key because it's like a classic teacher man how to fish and they'll eat for the rest of their lives. Like you're my internships. I learned how to design website. I learned how to design magazine. I have a seven yearlong publication that I'm still working on because of those skills that I acquire tired and I think a lot of those just in New York cusple, and probably sprinkle from add in there too. It's like, why stay still when you can keep moving? You know, I have this mentality and I've always been this way of like I want to go to sleep every day knowing that I made most the most out of every day, whether it's even if I'm hanging out on a couch for last thing, I know that me winding down, resetting for what I'm going to be accomplishing for the week, you know, and I think just being in New York as well like everyone's just trying to one up each other and I find it to be healthy and I like to be around people who are...

...constantly raising bars and I'm always looking to raise my own bar. I think there's that I enjoy that challenge and, you know, I want to be able to, just like how other people have inspired me to raise my own bar, I want to be able to inspire others. And so it's just like this really cool, ecosys, sound and cyclical situation where but it's not even like raising each other's bar. We're also just cheering each other on as well, like my my health and wellness publication called undue ordinary, you know, got me kind of helped me carve out the health and wellness voice within the creative industry. And you know, if you've ever been to a marathon or cheered on a friend that went on there, how you're just cheering strangers on for competing and doing these amazing things, and I think that's that's what I enjoy the most out of it, the hustle of it. Yeah, yeah, going back to what your discussion before, like business, like how did you know or like how did you figure out to, you know, Start Your own business like get lc's, like do your taxes, get everything like that. I mean that was pretty organic. So you know, I in turn, all throughout college I also worked and then when you graduate you're just out here trying to win with everyone else's it was competitive. At the same time. It's like, you know, you're exploring LLCs, you're exploring US Corps to see what fits for you. Everyone has an LLC, so they just assume an LLC. And you know, a lot of it is just educating yourself, talking to other people. I mean you might have friends, have friends that studied, were majored in accounting. So can you tell me how I should be starting up my business right like? And then they'll ask you a little bit about Your Business and help you figure out what what works us. And sometimes people lead you in the wrong direction and you're just going to have to pick OL on that figure it out from there. But it's all, it's all entire learn experience and I think a lot of people act like sheep and they use gravitate towards an lc because they think about what you need to see. But you know, there's there's a lot of options out there for different purposes, depending on the side of your business as well, as you start growing and you start having to pay other people. Is it payroll? Is it w nine, like you got to know all this stuff. That's why I was like being able to draw and they keep stuff like that. It's just the beginning. You have to learn to run a business. Yeah, I think that might be the problem to sometimes, just because I think people just don't know how to do it. Like they know how to do the design part. No one knew how to do it. No, I don't know. I don't get like this pop up in your head. You know, you're lucky if you grew up with parents that are in that it will want. May Be Small bits owners themselves that you may have watched struggles and figure out how they did stuff, but no one knows. You have to figure all of this off. I have to apply for a serial license or tax whatever. I was like a sales taxing in different states. Mother, I don't know you needed to do that, like, Yep, government lots people a little bit of everything you make and you got to your registered. So, yeah, you learn as you go, definitely. That's why. That's why I like I watched some of your other interviason. I can just like relate to some stuff and especially when you were talking about your when people ask you like what you do, you're like it's hard to tell them or stuff like that, because then you don't know, they don't understand it, and that's how I feel like all the time. So I I don't even sometimes I don't even tell people anymore. I feel like explaining it. Yeah, but I'll talks about to like very stressful and then you haven't said anything for like thirty seconds and you're like now this is your awkward so yeah, yeah, so you did up a Ted Talk to how did how did that come about? Honestly, I just got hit up with that opportunity. Is Really Cool, very intermitating because obviously of Ted and I...

...was really exciting. I honestly started doing public speaking very early on in my career when I, you know, shortly after I graduated. But the weird thing is I hated doing that and I was always very, very self conscious and very uncomfortable with it growing up from, you know, within it, within an academic sace. I think I just got over it when I realize I have to stop trying to talk like a public speaker like other people. I just have to be myself. And what I mean by that is like, you know, when you're growing up and you're doing public speaking at the stamin front of the classroom, you're like you hear people say Um, and you hear them saying like like live, and then you hear them, I don't know, looking down at the paper, and then and then you think of like you you have this list of all the things you don't want to do, which is that? And then you have the list of things you do want to do as and keep looking at the audience. Stand that straight. Imagine if they were naked or something like that. You know, there's all this stuff and when you're on stage you're almost too busy thinking about all those things instead of actually delivering your message. So I think one day, I think a lot of it is also just like I have an attitude where I'm just like fuck it, let's do it, like there're me in the sharks tank. I'll figure it out, and I think that's how I got into public speaking, which was just like no matter what, I think I'll figure it out, like I know I'm an intelligent enough person. Were to store me and they're figured out, and so I got into it, got more comfortable with it and of course the opportunity came along tew years after and it was great and it was such a cool experience because a lot of the people who spoke at the specific Ted talk, but I was at they came from a lot of different backgrounds. So there were engineers, they were they were like neurals, science people. There was Jim the MC, who's a very well known Asian American rapper who was trying to rock riders shortly for period of time. That was really cool. They had people who were professional online gaming sport pasters in a way, and it was very, very diverse, and what I found the most intriguing from that experience was that the common thread between everyone was that we were all very passionate. You're no matter what, we were passionate about our work and our respective field. It's not like, Oh, the engineers any better than the artist or any better than the rapper, but we were just such passionate people in our craft, in our industry, that that was one of the biggest reasons why we became, you know, successful in our respective field and then going back to designing. Like what is I know it's kind of big, but like what's your process when designing from the for the I mean for the cars? I definitely do a lot of research of head and time because sometimes, you know, I'm that I don't come from the baseball community, so a lot of times I don't actually really know what each player might be about, and so, you know, I got to me start to do my research one about player, learn about the team or about that period of time that they played and what they're most notable for for each card, and so I kind of just jot down a lot of notes and then I just start drawing. I start seeing if there's different phrases, quote icons that can help feed into, you know, whatever it is that they're they're most wellknown for. I draw everything out I can and and I kind of start composing everything all together. Yeah, what about what was your like? What was your like breakthrough project? I think the biggest one just being a regular growth from Queens not really knowing anyone or anything. I think like my project with Anthony Bordaine really helps to put me on the map. So when no reservation is still around. I was actually hired by travel channels to watch all the epilot episodes beforehand and actually create a specific poster illustration for each episode, which then they would really on facebook and the...

...community groups and people could actually enter a chance to win a poster, and some of them were actually signed by Anthony Bordine himself. Let's do did this? This happened like two thousand and eleven. Yeah, you didn't go into the tops. Two Thousand and twenty project. How'd you get selected for that? Honestly, I have no idea. They just put me up and I was like yeah, sure, I'm down. Sometimes you don't know, sometimes you just but you know what? Once thing I have learned is the streets are always watching. Have to be mindful of how you move, how you present yourself, like you never know who's going to call. The reason why they call these because they've study. Do they reviewed your work? You know what I mean? It's not like it's kind of like a chicken before the ED situation. So it's like continue to just do great work. They will get the vocal. Make sure your presence is known and in resonates with the types of work that you want to get and it'll come. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you get rough months to yeah, which which? Which card are you working on now? If you got a couple mets players coming up, okay, cool, which I'm really excited about because I'm from Queens New York, so I grew up writing this pub and chain right by shake gadium all the time. So I still call it Sha Stadium. I refuse to call it city field, but yeah, yeah, so I'm really excited to work on that because it's going to be my ninth card and definitely everyone from my hometown has been like what are you putting out a mask? Everyone's everyone's like, well, I know it's kind of horrible. Which one has been your favorite so far? They design't so far. I I like all of them. They all have a story. That's the coolest part. They've all had their own stories, their own challenges, their own you know, I have to be in the head space of the story and telling the story those they're all a little bit different. I think Mariano Rovera was my first one, and that one was also the most difficult one creatively because, you know, the original card that I had to the rookie card that I had to work with. It had nothing about based on it that he was a rank. He's standing under the feel the baseball stadium or something. He's wearing these very loose slats that biessbody and just this is my first card, the first file. I'm like Hey, I'm going to work on top two thousand and twenty nine. Great. I opened the file and I'm like, Oh my God, what am I supposed to do with this? And so you know, we we pitched that. I pitched them just to make sure they were okay with it, tops to see if I can put him in the Yankees Jerseys. Is that what he's most well known for? And obviously the community love that, which is that was really cool. That was like, I think, the biggest win I personally. Esthetically we love Bob Gibson. I think their original template that I worked with it was really cool. Maybe it's the colors. I love that. It was kind of a circle die cut and it I just felt like from the graphic the retro vintage graphic design perspective, it was really cool. He Chiro was also fun as well. That one took me the longest time. Wise, I don't know why it took me a very long time and that will hopefully we'll never have to work on something that takes that long. And then might trout, which is my most recent one. That one had the most stuff. It was just so much stuff in there and also it launched right before July, fourth weekend, and you know the angels colors are also blue, where that specific card had blue,...

...maybe red and why? It was very American and you know, just wanted to give it that bit of Love Duly for my trout angels team and just kind of see how it goes. So I'm just excited for the rest of the year and then I have a couple mets players left to do. So be really exciting to see how I can play with the color ways to be able to, I guess, bring out like the mets and Yankees personalities from within within each card design. Gosha, is there any is there any that you're excited to do other than those who know? So how do they? How do they? How do they? How did they tell you which ones to do? Like it just random. They just tell you. They just tell you like every few weeks. Ore like Oh hey, it's just this in this. I'm like, okay, I'm going to work on it. So how many, yeah, how many like weeks do you get to work on it or days? I think about every month. It's every month. You know. Sometimes I'll randomly just get an email and that's like hey, here your next few cards and there do the artwork is do this day and it's really say, it's Super Chill and I'm you know, I actually like working on them in different sins rather than wow at one. Yeah, has it? Has It? Has it got overwhelming it, because I know you started signing cards and that I seen. Like I listen to been baller's podcast and he's just like he's just like stressing out over it. You know, I've got a good assembly line, I've got, you know, a summer intern, I've got a project Menerger that's been helping me with the entire tops project and it's an awesome like yeah, it's a lot, but it's also really fun and I genuinely, you know, I'm in I'm involved in this project more so and than anything as an artist. So when tops first hit me up, I was just so psyche to work on a body of work like an entire piece is of twenty different illustration is I'm going to work on like shit and Awfo, like it was just a cool prompt. So I know that the scope of things have evolved with the market and the signatures. I mean I'm also in the discord channels, in the facebook groups, and it's it's really new to me. And you know the sands and I wouldn't even I mean obviously their fans, but there's a community there and I think we have one of the most in like highest engagement of discord channels which in the entire project, two thousand and twenty artists groups, and it's just dope. Like I think people doesn't need something and to look forward to. You know, like a lot of other struggle, like a lot of people here nowadays because of the pandemic, the sports was already really big part of their lives. Like my husband, we wake up, I wake up the sport of counter every morning. Every morning you've an ease mess is yelling about something, you know, and then the other day I caught him watching football and I was like, Oh, it's it's all back on, because everything attention. He's like no, this is a reread, like he was. He just like miss his sports, a big sports person. So I understand that. Like there's the baseball card community, there's a collector hobby community, but just people who love or they missed it and it's you know, twenty bucks is a pretty good entry point and think people are just excited to have a community to resonate with, not to mention, you know, there's probably good resell value and stuff like that within the as well, but it's just exciting to be able to be a part of that and meet and actually have a chance to talk to people were fans of my work and they have an Alima channel. They asked me last questions about how I work. They have kids, they want to get their kids into drying or all this stuff. There's really cool to be able to have that opportunity to really connect with with people who not only love my work but they fully support it, which I'm extremely grateful for. Actually. Yeah, I think out of your cards, I...

...think Mariano one is my favorite, but I like the MIC trout one lots and that I was definitely dough because I live with a lot of kids from New Jersey and you put the New Jersey thing. So I know if he saw that. I don't know if he saw you, but he'll be pumped about that. I mean, look, everyone, everyone's proud of where they come from, you know, like New Yorkers, definitely more than ever. I've got so much love for new guy said Queen Tattooed on my own as well. So you definitely always want to roup where you're from and you think that's the word. But definitely with my trail. You know, when I was doing research on him, it was it was a big thing that he came from Thoseville, New Jersey, and they just wanted to make sure that that was that was known, that was a part of his story, and I actually put the ZIP code for Noville, New Jersey in the car design as well, just just for people to know, like it's like I hey, here's where I'm from, here's here's here's the Zit Code. I rest. So, yeah, I don't. I didn't notice that, but that's dope. That's a fun par it's a little something for everyone, like for the general masses, people who are, you know, specifically my shot nerds or fans of his is and that's that's what I really love about the illustrations that I do, whether it's for a toast or other projects. It's I think what you know for the Ballard community calls the Easter eggs. If you know, you know kind of thing and I've always appreciated that. Did you think it was going to take off, like you has no, I had no idea. I just thought I was going to make these cute. I was just decided to work on this project, the body of work. Had No idea. I'm extremely grateful, you know, especially given our current climate of things. So yeah, I'm I'm honestly, like always looking to give back as well. So, like in right when covid hit, and I teach a lot in the small business space, I do like online teacher to do workshops as well in social media are branding and productivity and marketing, and it was a really tough time right in covid hit. I was impacted as well, you know. So I was lucky that government money kicked in, but to help keep my business as goot, and so I was actually working with squares, square reader to be able to work with their looking small small business owners. All around America there s where you help can see a founding board for them in terms of where to go from here, because so many small pences were so deeply impacted and every single day counted, every single day in such is what they did was really important. So, you know, I think that was something but as I'd love to get back into, of course, like financial securities really great and comfortable and important. But I think I try to make sure I'm like giving back to that the extra time that I might have now to focus on supporting other people. What about when you finish all twenty cards? Are you going to like put them in a frame or something? Yeah, so I'm working on that. Okay. Yeah, all right. So these are the last ones. Are the average of savage questions. Are you ready? Yep. What's your favorite Song Right now? Song? Okay, I haven't really been listening to music too much, but my husband has been playing pop smokes album or these a bunch of top smokes, so I'm like one of them, one of the songs sounded one of them with a me goose guys. All Right, I've been listened to that too. What's a WHO's an artist that you want to Clab with on this project? No, anything. Oh well, both. How about Burns? I really, really like earns, the stuff like Ernsy was. It is actually the main guy which actually reminds me right now I should check the top club thing. He's like the main guy that I actually buy personal cards from. Okay, that's dope. It's Don mattingly from foods toos, really cool too. I mean, you know, a lot of their styles are kind of similar to mine. I love this kind of like so illustrative, creative...

...hand style. So I'd love to, I love to Collab on something with them. And last one, what's something people don't know about you, Hum Um? I was talking to my husband. Read it this morning. I Yawn really loud. I got intense of want really just like so into. It's so like comfortable releas thing. So there's a fun fact. All right, let's take it. Well, I appreciate you coming on. I could do with the listeners know where they can follow you at. Yeah, people can follow me on mainly instagram, on social and if you want to see my latest project, you can always check my website as well, just to get a better sense of my background, of my work. It's all the shy and Ai, I guess you can call it semi. It's actually just my initials, FC phonetically, and then Nais. I am backwards. So it's really just iron sophia chain, but very reverse with putting it. Yeah, I got it. I actually I was going to ask you how to pronounce that. Yeah, let's see, like my initials, Sofia chain, my a. It will appreciate it and I look forward the rest of your cards coming out. Awesome. Yeah, keep me, keep me updated. Love to share the contest when it comes out as well. For sure,.

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