Even though a lot of us would like to believe that it is easy to become famous on Instagram, that it is much easier to say it was “luck” when we see an account suddenly blow-up, the fact is that it is not the case. Though it is much easier to get your works into the world with social media, the amount of hard work and talent, in a lot of cases, is not in any way lesser than what traditional artists have given in the age before the internet.

Angelica Nguyen, better known as Artbyangie.jpg, is a Vietnamese American artist based in Orlando, Florida, who speaks to the point. Her first post back in 2018 gained 226 likes. Today, her posts average around 20-30k likes, if not more. The journey she has experienced, like any other hard-working artist, consisted of stress, decisions, and just the sheer fact of working her ass off.

As a young artist only in her 20’s, she reminded us of the magic in creating art. Speaking to her reignited our fire, in how the process of making art gives us a sense of freedom sometimes lacking in real life. And, the golden rule of consistency, holds the key in cultivating your style and brings you a step closer to becoming a successful artist.

i) Apart from “nostalgic”, what other two words would you use to describe your artwork to someone who has never seen them before?

 

I would use the words “soft” and “transportive” to describe my art. I’m always trying to share my experiences or emotion through my art to somehow connect to people who see it.

 

ii) As a self-taught artist, did you start off copying other artists’ works as practice, or did you learn via another method?

 

I did many artist studies back when art was just a hobby. I would draw or paint other artists’ work (and often times many photographer’s work) in order to cultivate my own style. I started off with traditional art and worked a lot with gouache and watercolor. It was not until I discovered digital art that I geared towards pursuing art as a career. Through drawing every single day for almost a year, I think I have really found my style and exactly what I enjoy drawing the most.

iii) Can you share with us the artists you may have practiced on or tell us more about your practicing process?

 

As many people can tell, I am very inspired by Meyoco. I instantly fell in love with how she made everyday things, like milk cartons, so magical. I found I really enjoy that style of drawing and over time, have developed my own spin to it. I also really love the artists that share their journey through Youtube, like Sara Faber, FurrylittlePeach (aka Sha’an), and Leigh Ellexson, because they are the ones that really made me fall in love with being an artist. And gave me the confidence and inspiration of pursing that dream.

 

It was Leigh who inspired me to start a 100 day project, where I would draw and post everyday on instagram. At first it was very challenging, but after a few weeks, I really started to find my groove. It was also gave my account the little boost it needed in the beginning when I was still finding my own style.

 

iv) Though you also work with watercolors, you have once said that your favorite medium is digital. Why so? Is that also how your instagram name came to be “.jpg”?

 

Yes, I absolutely love digital art. It really set me free. Traditional art is so magical in many ways and it’s still holds a special place in my heart because that’s what I’ve done for most of my life. And although it was my first love, I sometimes felt paralyzed by my fear of mistakes (although that’s where all the magic happens). Digital art allowed me to just draw without that fear, which gave me the confidence to go out of my comfort zone and improve in ways I never thought I could. It also was what made me discover my love of soft, neutral colors.

 

I thought the “.jpg” would be a cute idea since my instagram feed is like my portfolio. So it’s art by me, Angie, in picture form. 🙂

 

v) It is evident that you love drawing clouds, and am deeply inspired by the sky. On the other hand, what is the one thing that you hate drawing, or do not find interest in at all?

 

You know me so well. I have found that I absolutely do not enjoy drawing humans. Something about the process really stresses me out and I find that I cannot connect when drawing them. In the past, I really pushed myself to draw them because I wanted to be well rounded. But after awhile, I realize that I should pursue things that I love to draw more. Like the sky!
vi) Like a lot of other artists, you use drawing as an escape and you draw from your emotions. Are their recurring symbolisms in your works which represents a certain feeling you have at the time of creation?

 

I have noticed that I tend to gravitate towards things that bring a sense of nostalgia. Like the yummy drinks I used to love and the gameboys I used to play. I love escaping through memories. Things that made you feel safe and happy as a kid when the world was all so innocent.
vii) With a part time job at your parents’ salon and drawing whenever you have the time to, how is your regular day like? Can you share with us what your daily routine is? 

 

My daily routine consists of managing my etsy shop, through answering messages, renewing listings, taking inventory, or packing orders. Then I would normally be sketching something or working on a piece to post on instagram. I try to treat that as a job too, so I strive to post new work regularly. I sometimes draw late into the night and it’s easy to forget that it’s a job because I’m having so much fun haha! On my off-time, I like to cook, take walks/bike rides, and play lots of animal crossing.
viii) Do you think there was anything from your biomedical science degree that actually helped you with your career now?

 

Absolutely! It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But it taught me how to work hard, how to teach myself skills (as you often have to do in a big university), and what kind of life I wanted. I learned so much from college and I never ever regret it.
viv) People recognize your style a lot because of the color palette you use, can you tell us a bit more about your decision on this?

 

Thank you! It was a natural progression I think. In the beginning I was drawn to pastel colors. But then gradually, I found that I really loved warm colors. In art, in nature, in home decor. I thought it conveyed a very nice feeling and so after experimenting with it, I found that desaturated, warmer colors are perfect for the emotions I want to convey in my work.

 

 

x) What music do you listen to while you draw?

 

I listen to a lot of lofi and slow, relaxing music. My all-time favorite album to listen to while drawing is Swimming by Mac Miller.
xi) Can you share a line of poetry with our readers so that they can feel a little bit closer to you as an artist?

 

My greatest goal as an artist is connection. Being able to share my life and my thoughts with others and making that connection all across the world with people in different walks of life is why I do what I do. To make us all feel like we’re not so alone as we sometimes feel that we are. People inspire me everyday. By their words, actions, and creations. To be able to absorb that and make something that can hopefully do the same to someone else and continue to spread that magic of inspiration is just my absolute favorite thing about art!
“ I fall in love in moments,
Brilliant moments of blind clarity
When I see them just…being.
Being alive and well and just so beautiful in the way that they are
And I realize that I love them.
The kind of love that engraves lines onto my skin that I proudly wear every time I smile.
These lines are my story.
They are a part of it.
They are the reason behind it.”

A great thank-you to Angie, and images courtesy to the artist herself.