Jing Wei in her studio
Photo Credit: Sara Forest
xo Jessica & Nicole
details of Botanica & Rocky Point prints
Describe KORE SWIM in one word or phrase.
When did you decide you wanted to be an Illustrator?
I had a sense that I wanted to be an illustrator when I chose my major in college. But it wasn’t until I got out of school, got sidetracked, tried a bunch of other things, and rediscovered my motivation to freelance, that I really decided to commit to this thing.
How do you describe your personal style and how it translates to your illustrations?
I’m a pretty big fan of man repeller fashion. Baggy tunics, dense patterns, high-waisted denim, etc. I would say I’m equally drawn to both subtlety and loud, unexpected detail. This balance probably comes through a bit in my work. Mostly of my illustrations lean toward the quiet side, but occasionally you can spot strange moments like a large creepy cat or a man with his face melting off.
What inspires you?
It changes every day. Last week I was inspired by a tiny mural on the street. This weekend I was inspired by my friends. Yesterday I was inspired by an article I read online. I also love traveling, and often feel healthy doses of inspiration whenever I’m in a new place. I like to force myself to get out of my routine, to avoid stagnation. All of my best life experiences have come from moments when I was slightly uncomfortable.
Tell us about your design process in developing the Botanica and Rocky Point prints.
I worked on both prints at the same time. Even though they are pretty different, I wanted to make sure they could still play off each other and exist in the same collection. Both began with pages of drawings that were then edited down. Rocky Point started with very loose textures and mark-making on paper. Botanica started with research. I definitely have a set of default plants that I tend to draw over and over again out of habit. In order to avoid that, I put together a folder of references from various tropical settings and tried to draw new shapes that hadn’t been used in my previous illustrations. After the sketch phase, I began digitally collaging the drawings together to create a seamless repeat (this was the longest part of the process). Color always comes last for me. In this case, it was nice to have a predetermined palette because even with this limited range, I feel like we could have come up with a million different colorways! Sometimes it’s helpful to have boundaries.
What is your favorite part about the collaboration?
Coming into the project, I didn’t really have much experience making wearable patterns. It was awesome to see the designs slowly come to life, from mocking things up in Photoshop to initial test swatches to seeing the artwork on models. It’s very different from print and web work, where the illustrations usually have a short life span. I love that people can wear and interact with these patterns. It really brings a different dimension to the work.
Which styles will you be bringing on vacation with you & where are you going?
I’ll be going to California next month, and I also have trips to China and Croatia in the works for next year. I try to pack light when I travel, and warm weather destinations definitely make it easier. My favorite suit to take anywhere is definitely the Nyx Maillot in Air. It’s the most flattering one piece I’ve ever worn (and I’m not just saying that because this is an interview for KORE!). In general, I like to bring versatile pieces that mix and match well together. And comfortable walking shoes, always.
Any exciting upcoming projects you’re working on?
I’ve been feeling a bit burned out on commercial work these past couple of months, especially the ones with fast turnarounds. So the most exciting thing I’ve started working on recently is actually an ongoing personal project which I’ll probably share sometime next year.
Jing Wei's Works