Transforming urban life into fantasy with the Rhode Island School of Design graduate illustrator
David Huang grew up in the bustling streets of Taipei, a city he describes as having “action on every single corner” and it’s these scenes that provide inspiration for the young artist, who moved to the city that never sleeps last summer. It’s not the cities themselves that are the focus though, it’s the way that inhabitants interact with, make sense of and use those spaces that David finds such consistent intrigue in.
Balancing self-initiated projects with freelance work for the likes of The New York Times and The Culture Trip, David always tries to find “the most creative and personal way to solve the problem”. Communicating the personality of his work is what makes self-directed projects so important to him right now “as a first year freelancer” he explains, “people don’t know me yet and it could get pretty slow unless I push myself and be my own art director”.
It’s been a rapid rise for David who only entertained the idea of being a professional artist at “the brink of eighteen” as a junior in high school. Assured by his art tutor that Rhode Island School of Design was one of the top art schools in the US, David challenged himself to get a place. Initially applying for a painting major, he then discovered the illustration pathway and having achieved his goal by becoming a successful applicant, quickly settled into the programme. “What drew me to illustration was the freedom to roam in my own world, one that doesn’t adhere to reality” David clarifies. “Constructing scenes” is something that he’s done since childhood. “I remember taking one of those magnetic drawing boards and instead of doing homework, I was drawing out ‘movies’, scene by scene” he recalls. That basic conceptual approach hasn’t changed, David still constructs his own realities, just anchoring them a little more in “non-fictional subject matters”.
For an artist so inspired by — and linked to — the city, it’s hard to imagine David’s work referencing less populated scenes, but never say never. A trip to Iceland in the summer was “the first time nature stunned” the freelancer, the colours and the scale of his surroundings leaving a lasting impression. As yet, those experiences haven’t become the key focus of his work, but we get the feeling that the more David explores, the richer and more expansive his already stellar portfolio will become.