Jeff Huang is a graphic artist and illustrator based in New York. He is a diverse artist with amazing skills in digital illustration, photo manipulation, and 3D. He has been featured in many publications such as Adobe’s Design Center, Digital Arts Magazine, Computer Arts Magazine, Advanced Photoshop Magazine. This interview will showcase Jeff’s talent, passion, and the inspiration behind his work.
First of all, we’d like to know more about you. Can you tell us more about yourself?
Sure. My name is Jeff Huang, and I’m a freelance digital artist & illustrator from NYC. I have been freelancing for 6+ years now and I’ve worked with many companies worldwide. My digital art journey started in 2003 when I first laid eyes on 3D abstract art. I began teaching myself Photoshop and the rest was history. 8 years later, I am still in love with digital art even though it has greatly evolved. In my free time, I like to hang out with my loved ones, playing video games, and just taking it easy. Oh, and I love shopping!
How did you get started as an artist and illustrator? What influenced you to take this career path?
My path into design was inevitable. As a kid, my passion was to draw, especially drawing cartoons, superheroes, and “Dragon Ball Z” characters. I remember in second grade, I used to draw for the teacher and in return, I wouldn’t have to pay attention in class because I was doing something “important”. I continued to draw as a hobby until I reached high school, when I created my first portfolio and applied for a special art school – LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Peforming Arts. I got in – and in the next four years, I received a full fine arts education. Around the time of my junior year in high school, I accidentally found 3D abstract art. This was around the year 2003. I was immediately hooked because 3D abstract art looked absolutely stunning – I took one look at it and never looked back. I had already started to play with Photoshop 7 prior to this but after my confrontation with 3D abstracts, I took on Bryce and Cinema4D and started to play around with those programs.
I joined the DeviantART community around 2004, began making and submitting digital art to the community. I noticed that I was slowly getting noticed – and it was a great feeling. At the end of 2005, I stepped into a whole new world – I joined the Depthcore collective. From then on, my art improved drastically and quickly. I created a digital portfolio and started to market myself online as a freelance digital artist and illustrator.
With my new passion in digital art, I went to the School of Visual Arts for college and majored in Computer Animation. I honed my skills in 3D and motion graphics there, and had a chance to work and intern at a couple of awesome design and animation houses. Thankfully by the time I wrapped up college, I already had a few years of freelance experience under my belt, and I knew that this was something that I wanted to pursue – to be a freelance designer. As of today, more than 6 years since I started to take on digital art, I am still a humble freelance designer and illustrator striving to come up in the ranks.
What is a day like for you? What usually keeps you busy?
I work remotely (from home) so I have the pleasure to plan my own days. Typically speaking, I wake up at around 9am and I walk my dog shortly after. I get back home to make breakfast and tea, and from there I begin my day. As of everyone in this day and age, the first thing I do is check my emails and check my “must-go-to” websites. Once that’s done, I would begin working on whatever client-work I have going on at the moment. From there, I only really stop to take bathroom breaks and to break for food. Once I get into the zone of working, I am in full-throttle mode and it’s hard for me to stop. Before I know it, it’s already past 7pm and I would have worked a full day without even knowing. The great perk about working at home is that nobody can tell you what you can’t do or when to do it. I may goof around sometimes, but I always, always, get my work done! And that’s what matters most.
What apps do you use for your designs?
I work mainly in Photoshop and Maya. Sometimes I’ll open up Illustrator and Mudbox depending on what the project needs.
I personally liked your work, “Memoir”. Where did you get inspiration for this?
Memoir was a piece created after breaking up from a unreal love relationship. Whatever I felt at the time, was what I created in the piece. I often create my best work when I am sad…which can be a good or bad thing. I would say, I create the most personal and heartfelt pieces during those times and that is why they seem to reach out to the viewers more.
Which of your works can you say reflect you best as an artist/illustrator?
To be honest, I am who I am because of all my work. People often automatically pin me to the surreal, or fantasy based photo-manipulation work, but I am actually a very diverse artist. I’ve experimented with so many styles and I enjoy each one thoroughly. That being said, I would not be the artist I am today if it wasn’t for all of my work.
Would you say that you have a signature style?
Presently, I would describe my art style/persona to be “refined fantasy” art. Though many of my friends and fans have known me for my diversity in art, fantasy/surreal art had always been my niche. More so now, with more than five years of experience under my belt, I’m now able to create such works with a confidence that I never had until recently. Quoting what a friend had said about my work – it seems that I have achieved a certain “uncanny eye for detail, patience, and precision in skill and technique.” This has benefited my commercial work greatly, as generally speaking, clean, refined, precise illustrations are what clients like.
Do you consider anyone as your mentor? What other illustrator/artist inspires you?
I have a few in mind. Back when I first joined DeviantART in 2004, Josh Dutra helped me by teaching me tips and tricks in Photoshop and Cinema4D. After I joined Depthcore, Jerico Santander was a close friend and a great inspiration. He influenced my style the most out of everybody. Finally, Justin Maller has been a mentor to me when it came to the business side of things. He is the agent that I never had, and he continues to push the Depthcore collective to new heights. I admire his work and more so, his integrity as a person and a fellow illustrator.
Do you have any new upcoming projects?
Yes, I do with various clients, but unfortunately I can’t disclose any details. As far as personal work goes, I am trying to push more work out for the upcoming Depthcore chapters. Very excited about that! Be on the look-out on my portfolio website!
What message can you give to our readers?
Thank you all for taking your time to read this interview. I hope that I have left some useful insight that you could use. If you like my work, please feel free to follow me at my portfolio: www.thefifthorder.net and let me know if you have any questions! Take care, and all the best.