Featured Illustrator, Designer

Go Suga

September 2018

We had a lovely old chat with visual artist/illustrator/graphic designer, Go Suga about surfing, being true to yourself, unconscious influences that ultimately mould your style, being passionate, plus he spills about some of the naughty (or not so naughty — it's quite subjective) things he's done to get ahead in his career.

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?

My plan was to start my own graphic design business (freelance) after graduation. Luckily I had 1-2 clients by the time I graduated so was able to start freelancing but then I had a lot of time on my hand and started helping my mate start his car business. I got caught up in running the car business and had no time for design. It was around this time when I realised how much I loved/missed designing and drawing. My business partner and I had a fallout. Problem was that I was young and dumb I was looking to make some money by sacrificing what I really love to do. I wasted a lot of time by running the business for about 3-4 years with my mate but was also crucial as it made me have a clear vision on what I really want to do for rest of my life. Around 1 year later I had a full-time graphic design job and was able to be represented by a professional art gallery as an artist.

What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

Passion and if they actually like what they do. If they like and have the passion skills will come later on 100%.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I used to draw really detailed illustrations but it was just like another illustration you would have seen elsewhere. Basically, I wasn’t my self, it was a programmed illustration which I built up from my childhood drawing and copying Japanese comic characters. I realised I needed to come with my “true” own style. So I started breaking my program down by doing totally opposite to what I would usually do when I draw. I needed to strip everything off and start focusing on being my self.

My tips would be to stay true to what you think is right. If you think you're lost and can’t find the style then break your style/habit that you currently have. Basically, break your style down and then re-build it again with more freedom. Also don't be afraid to be inspired by other artists work, if you like their work that means you like their work so be open-minded about it, I mean pretty much everything has been done in the past as "style" even if you don't think you are you're still influenced by something around you anyways. I think it's a never ending journey though. You think you've got yourself a style of your own but then u get bored of doing the same thing over and over so you start to look for something different and I think this is a great thing about creating, there's never any end to it. It's always a work in progress. I think keep doing the style you like as long as you're liking it and once it doesn't interest you then it's time to start experimenting and looking for something that does interest you.


create your own creative space where you can create whatever you want whenever you want


What three naughty things have you done in your career to get ahead?

Being selfish (but I don’t think this is naughty)

Not listening to other people (but I don’t think this is naughty)

Not caring so much about things (but I don’t think this is naughty)

Taking life as a joke (but I don’t think this is naughty)

What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?

Stop wanking. Take your time and don’t rush. Calm the fuck down.

What advice would you give students starting out?

If you don’t like it quit and do something else cause you're wasting time.

For those that really like art, design, drawing etc just keep at it. This doesn’t apply to everyone but for me I have a really well balanced lifestyle right now and one of the reason is that I chose to do what I love to do as a career. Yes graphic design can be hard sometimes as you don’t always get to do what you want as you have clients and bosses where ever you go. In that case create your own creative space where you can create what ever you want when ever you want, in my case art career/painting. I reckon if I just did regular 9-5 job and all I did was that then I would go mentally nuts. And surf my young padawans, surfing is good for the soul and good for creating.

Website: gosuga.com

Instagram: @go_suga


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