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Teresa Chan's Fragrant Creativity in Isolation

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You can often hear that artists and creatives tend to feel lonely much more easily. Be it for an enhanced kind of sensitivity or a particular disposition of character, being a professional creative can be isolating and a global pandemic isn't certainly helping with that.

Designer and illustrator Teresa Chan wishes for a creative industry in which creatives will be able to meet face to face more often, sharing their experiences with like-minded professionals. Though, like every good creative, she does enjoy spending some time alone in her world, working and creating in her comfy office every day.

For this Member Spotlight, we've had a chat with a pure and homely creative who draws inspiration from the eyes of her daughter, loves to get out in nature and has good wishes for a more connected, transparent and accessible industry.


How did you get into the industry?

I studied Industrial Arts at University with an emphasis in Graphic Communications. I started off working as a production manager for a Microsoft magazine, medical publishing, and food packaging as a graphic designer. It wasn't creatively fulfilling so I took an online course in surface design and got hooked!

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I'm based in California, USA in a tiny town right outside of San Francisco called Kensington. I work for myself in my home studio and love every minute of it.


If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I would be leading and coaching women in finding their creativity and leading an authentic enriching life through art. This is a quote that I believe so strongly in:

"Unused creativity is not benign. It metastisizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame."
- Brene Brown

Can you explain your creative process?

I work with subject matters that call to me which usually involves nature and animals. I then map it out visually in my mind and when I get a clearer picture of the energy and essence I want to invoke I start working on it in Adobe Illustrator.


How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

I work primarily digitally, although I do love water color as well. I work on an Mac in Adobe Illustrator with a Wacom tablet. 

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Some days creativity just pours out of me and some days not so much. I just show up and create a little every day regardless. Some days I hit it out of the ball park and some days I just show up intending to create. What inspires me the most is seeing the world through my daughter's eyes and creating that vision


What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

I have designs from Bloomingdales to Walmart and everything in between. What I'm still most proud of is  my first licensing contract with a fabric manufacture. I think the first will always be special. 

How do you recharge away from the office?

I run with my dogs and get out in nature. I spend time with my family and friends away from technology. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

My best advice is SHOW YOUR WORK! Do it on social media and other outlets showcasing artists and designers. I know some artists are hesitant but the benefits I've gotten in return are definitely worth it! 


What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

I hope there is greater access and transparency into what each industry would pay so as a collective there are standards. 

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I would love for there to be more of a community for designers and illustrators to meet face to face. This profession is sometimes isolating.


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