Saints Custom Trikky figures that released NYCC 2016
In Above the Fold, we spotlight individual members of Coroflot's vibrant creative community. The idea is to take you behind the scenes and inside the minds of talented Coroflot members who we think are doing exceptional work. Coroflot was created by designers, for designers, and Above the Fold is the place where we can talk to creatives about work that we not only love, but think you'll love too!
Plenty of design students spend their days sketching ideas for sneakers and cars, hoping to be the next hotshot at Nike or Audi. Of course, those things have their place, but being a toy designer sounds like just as much fun, especially if you happen to be Andrea Kang.
Though Andrea has worked as a product designer for larger toy companies like Hasbro, these days she can be found doing her own thing as a freelancer. This includes illustration, design, and toy making both for clients and for her own art exhibitions. Andrea's work is steeped in pop culture and usually cuteness. In her own words, Andrea "has created a world filled with stoic bears and creatures that evoke nostalgic reflections." She recently had a solo show called Puff Puff at the toy store PIQ in New York City, and starting this weekend some of her work will be shown at the Post-It Show 12 at the Giant Robot Gallery in Los Angeles. Andrea recently took the time to chat with us about her inspiration, process, and how she ended up working in so many different (and fun) design mediums.
Was there a specific moment in life where you realized you wanted to pursue a creative path?
When I was young my mom used to stress the idea of writing your dreams down and by doing so she'd say that they would become tangible at some point. So in 7th grade, I wrote in one of my journals that I wanted to be a toy designer, and I think that's when it really all began.
Bedtime Bears - Collaborative project with artist Peter Kato
Who are your design heroes?
There are so many to choose from but if I had to name a few, Mike Kelley, The Royal Art Lodge, and Yositomo Nara. Love how they all approach their work in a nostalgic and naive way and the narratives that their pieces tell.
Can you share some details about your most recent project?
I just had a solo show "Puff Puff" that ended mid November at P!Q in Grand Central Terminal, NYC. The show was inspired by my puff creatures that inhabit a dream-like universe in the clouds. It featured 10 new acrylic gouache paintings on wood panels, and some Android figures I designed for Dead Zebra Inc.
Puff Puff solo show at P!Q in Grand Central Terminal, NYC
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
I have a handful that I'm currently working on, but I'm particularly excited about some knitted plush animals and a vinyl toy of one of my bear creatures. Stay tuned for more details.
Walk us through some of your process for creating.
I take many different routes, though on a daily basis I make lots of notes to myself, even if it's just a word or a phrase. I also keep several sketchbooks, some for scribbles and testing materials/medium, for sketching loose thoughts, and a couple of others for more finished renderings. Then when it's time to create, I'll go back and look through all of my ideas as well as lot's of sketching concepts that pertain to that project.
Puff Pins released at NYCC 2016, produced by Myplasticheart
What is your favorite project that you've completed (professional or personal) and why?
That's a tough one because I've had so many favorites. Guess one of them would have to be my first mini plush blind box series that I collaborated with artist Nathan Jurevicius and were produced by Toy Tokyo, called Owlets. We had a lot of fun designing the 7 characters and both were really happy with how they turned out. The first production run sold out so we were able to also release a second color way of them.
What tools (physical or digital) do you find yourself using repeatedly?
Cintiq, Illustrator, Photoshop, scanner, X-acto knife, and Tuff Stuff Erasers.
Moonbeams, acrylic gouache on wood panel
Do you have a ritual for getting in work/design mode (music you listen to, certain exercise, food you eat) aka a productivity tip?
I usually like to clean my workspace from the previous day and because of my two pets I like to vacuum my studio daily. The clear space helps motivate me get into a work mode. That and a hot cup of tea!
Outside of your professional life, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?
Playing the piano and trimming my dog Harlow's hair so she looks symmetrical.
Bubble Gum Stickers
If you're stuck on a desert island and can only bring three (design) tools, what are they?
X-acto knife, duct tape, iPhone
Do you have any tips for getting the most out of your Coroflot portfolio?
Update your portfolio frequently and show a range of different works that showcase what you are capable of as an artist/designer.
To see more of Andrea's work, check out her Coroflot portfolio!