"I was constantly reading tutorials on how to make or edit things because I was obsessed with the act of creating. Being exposed to the digital world at a young age really flipped the switch on what art had the potential to be for me."

How did you become interested in graphic design?

It’s a giant mix of things. I think I was experimenting with aspects of graphic design before realizing it was graphic design. When I was younger, I played a lot of online roleplaying games and ended up on their fansite forums. One forum had a subcategory for art and there were multiple threads where users had “Signature Shops”. They would upload examples of their in-game character against some cool background, sprinkle on some glitter or star effects and add a nice gradient overlay to use as a forum signature. They even had forms for other users to fill out and have their signature created.

I’m sure it’s cheesy now, but for ten-year-old me, it was absolutely groundbreaking. I ended up playing with Microsoft Paint and GIMP for hours, making edits to my in-game character which eventually led to me creating my own art. I made pixel creatures that I animated with Microsoft Gif Animator. I also edited screenshots from the anime I was watching and used that as a forum signature.

I was constantly reading tutorials on how to make or edit things because I was obsessed with the act of creating. Being exposed to the digital world at a young age really flipped the switch on what art had the potential to be for me. I only knew what I was doing was kind of graphic design because one user with a “Signature Shop” thread proclaimed themselves a graphic designer. Naturally, it led to me telling my parents I wanted to be a graphic designer. I never budged on that career choice.

How did you get into Animal Crossing?

When I was younger my family used to go to swap meets together. One time, when I was ten years old, my sister and I bought a GameCube from a stall for thirty-dollars along with a copy of Animal Crossing. It was the cutest option out of all the games I could find, and I've been hooked ever since.

It’s comforting to play a game that doesn’t have any specific goal, you can literally do anything you want. Plus it has the most relaxing music!

I know you’re also a jewelry maker, do you find that your jewelry and graphic designer work influence each other?

I personally don’t. My jewelry work feels like a complete 180 degrees from my graphic design work. It’s night and day when I compare the two. However, I think jewelry and graphic design are similar in the way that you have to be overly meticulous with your work.

For example, I did a series of necklaces in college where I carved sheets of plexiglass and encased them into aluminum structures. I spent hours using the flex shaft to carve a crazy amount of circles, drilling over fifty holes on the aluminum encasements. To date, it’s still the most tedious project I’ve ever done. Similarly, in Adobe Illustrator I’ll zoom in at 64000% and spend an embarrassing amount of time cleaning up a vector, solely because it drives me insane to have one stray anchor point.

What media do you enjoy working in the most?

I love to make organic forms out of copper. In college, I took enough metalworking classes to do an independent study which culminated in a series of pieces based on high-speed photography of seafoam. I haven’t made anything out of metal for three years now, but nothing has taken its place yet.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

When it comes to my personal work, I look to companies like San-x, Sanrio and Tokidoki as a source of inspiration. I’ve always admired how they’re able to reimagine a set of characters in different settings and create new merchandise from it.

I also love flipping through books and sifting through the Museum’s online collection. I have a small collection of art books. Some of my favorites are Brands with Character, Handmaking in Design and Symbols in Graphic Design. There are so many cool objects in Mingei’s collection, I find myself referencing it at work but also during my free time. I’ve recently fallen in love with a blouse panel and tanuki in the Museum's permanent collection.