Creative Spotlight | Freda Chiu
Published on 11 August 2021
Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make
I am a freelance illustrator and artist who makes work for commercial applications including retail, branding, editorial and festival graphics. Lately, I’ve been focusing on illustrating books for children’s publishing. Some of my clients include: Hardie Grant Egmont, Allen and Unwin, Puffin Books and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Outside of my art practice, I’m an educator at the University of Technology Sydney teaching in illustration and animation design.
Are there any special processes, techniques or tools you use to make your creative work?
I love combining traditional mixed media techniques with digital ones. The little accidents and textures of paint, pastels, collage and crayons feels exciting and human to me, so I want people to feel that in my work. Combining this with digital techniques gives me endless possibilities for experimentation. I treat every project as a unique challenge that requires a different approach!
What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why?
I recently finished writing and illustrating my very first children’s picture book, A Trip To The Hospital, which will be published by Allen and Unwin in September. It has been my childhood dream to write and illustrate picture books, so I’m stoked! I loved working on this project because it gave me the opportunity to highlight the outstanding work that our healthcare workers do and learn more about an institution that I previously had limited knowledge about. Working on children’s books also gives me a platform to spread positivity and influence kids in small ways. It’s a great privilege to be making books that form part of their early learning!
What’s the most challenging part of working as an artist / creative?
Finding a healthy work/life balance. I think many artists struggle with this because their work started as a passion, so they often find themselves working around the clock. There is also a self-imposed pressure to constantly appear ‘busy’, because of an unhealthy perception in society that being busy somehow translates to being successful. Personally, I am most inspired when I have time to do non-art related things, so I’m trying to be stricter about my boundaries these days and saying no.
Do you have any top tips for emerging artists and creatives just starting out?
Learn to trust yourself and be selective about the advice you receive. Because being an artist is an unconventional career path, there may be people who question your choices especially at the beginning of your career, whether they are well-intended or being judgmental.
Get a day job so you are not stressed financially - it’s hard to create your best work if you are constantly worrying about money.
It can take years to build up your client base before you can live comfortably from your art, so be in it for the long haul rather than expecting overnight success!
Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?