Hyesu Lee (MFA 2011 Illustration as Visual Essay) describes herself as a “happy, clumsy, and messy illustrator,” but that hasn’t stopped Mental Floss, Time Out New York, The Boston Globe and others from featuring her adorable signature doodles. And one look at the sheer ebullience of her website is enough to prove why HOWdesign.com designated it a “Top 10 Website for Designers.” But don’t let all that whimsy fool you: her freelance work may be fun, but she’s serious about her craft. She also has her own product line featuring everything from mugs to rugs. Lee is among the 300+ MFA Illustration as Visual Essay alumni in “We Tell Stories,” an exhibition celebrating the department’s 30th anniversary at the SVA Chelsea Gallery through December 17.
Your favorite project ever?
It’s going to sound really weird, but I consider all my projects my babies. And all these babies are equally important and lovely, so it’s quite hard to pick a favorite. (I know I’ll be a mum with tons of babies!) I get more and more excited every time I work on a new project. One of the most exciting moments was my recent work on packaging for Chobani yogurt. It was really fun to see those packages in person at the supermarket.
Most prominent memory of your SVA days?
Every single day! I really loved my two years at SVA. All the teachers, friends, graduates, artists and illustrators I met made such a huge impact in my life. I dream of going back to school sometimes!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on three very different projects at the moment: a mural for an advertising agency in Chicago, an ad campaign for FEMA and a short animation for a cosmetic company, Dr. Jart+. I recently finished working on limited edition Christmas packages for Dr. Jart+.
Words of wisdom for current students?
I am not qualified for this question, as I still have so much to learn. But I would tell them, “Work hard and WORK HARDER, but don’t forget to have FUN!”