Though the term “starving artist” is commonly used amongst adults as well as students, many artists enjoy a comfortable life doing what they love. Artists now have more opportunities to expand their careers, due to advances in technology and a growing appreciation for creativity. Graphic design, in particular, has become a specialized niche and booming aspect of the art field.
Sunook Park, a graphic design professor at Cal State University Long Beach, is one such example. Park is the CEO of Sunook Park Branding, a branch of ANDLAB, a company that provides art exhibitions and art classes for youth, college students, and professionals. Park creates company logos and designs for clients ranging from clothing brand lines to restaurant menus.
“I’ve always made things using my hands and I also enjoy figuring things out. I love the way that things come alive because I made it,” Park said.
For Park, being an art teacher comes naturally. A graduate of the Art Center, he uses his expertise to educate other potential graphic designers who wish to follow in his footsteps.
“Once you are an adult, you have to teach,” Park said. “That’s just the way we are. It’s almost not a job, being a teacher. I think it’s more like a lifestyle.”
In addition to creating his own art and teaching, Park appreciates working in the business side of the art field where he gets to work with a variety different types of people.
“I think it’s great that I can be in so many different types of worlds. There’s never time to be bored,” Park said.
Life as an artist requires being inquisitive, determined, and patient. Park also advises being able to work with one’s hands and allowing ample time to think deeply about each art piece.
“My advice is to always have a curious, open mind, and also always be diligent about research, because you have to think that you have to stand on the shoulders of a giant,” Park said.
Above all else, Park emphasizes understanding the difference between information and knowledge. While information is always available, knowledge is the interpretation of this information. This is especially important in graphic design, which requires the synthesis of large amounts of information into one minimalistic logo.
“The human being is amazing; it’s like we’re giant filters and everybody is a different filter that processes the information in their own ways,” Park said. “That’s what makes our world very beautiful, because everybody will make something out of the things they absorb.”