Over the past four years, I’ve had the chance to live in some of my favorite places in the world: Tokyo, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Honolulu. I’ve seen firsthand how design affects cultures, cities and ultimately, humans.
I find all forms of design fascinating: the minimalist product design of Tokyo, the iconic architecture across DC, the convergence of tropical and modern graphic design in Honolulu, the unique infrastructure design of Seattle and just about anything else that involves humans trying to find the best way to create or communicate something.
I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and my design journey started in high school. Well actually, maybe a bit earlier.
As a kid I was obsessed with Legos. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so they’d buy me tubs of the generic bricks— no lasers, no lightsabers, no Harry Potter figurines— just blocks. I still remember recreating pirate ships and world monuments with generic Lego bricks (with accurate colors, of course; this was very serious business).
Eventually, I began doing freelance graphic design and animation while in high school. I took whatever clients I could get. Some of them paid, many did not. I designed for churches, sports websites, even a Youtube rapper and some online forums.
In 2015, as a 23-year-old student who had changed majors six times and was on the brink of becoming an insurance salesman, I took a job as a designer for my university’s student media organization. I was promoted to Advertising Graphic Design Manager by the end of 2015, and in 2016 I led the program to over ten national awards.
In Fall 2016, I had my big break when I received a fellowship with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Even though I was there as a researcher, I was also given the opportunity to design the graphic treatment for an entire exhibition, even helping design an installation space there.
2017 - Present
Since then, I have continued to work with the Smithsonian as well as other amazing organizations and individuals as a freelance designer. In the past couple of years, I’ve had experiences that I never would’ve dared to dream of: a couple 3-month stints in Japan, 8 months in DC, a cross-country US road trip, 9 months in Seattle and hundreds of design and art projects.
I’m proud to say that I’m just as enthusiastic about bringing beautiful, people-centric ideas to life as I was when I was a kid playing with Legos.