Five Minutes with Jeremy Leung
From Toronto-based designer to NYC illustrator, Jeremy Leung talks about his past year.
This is the one visual element that can be seen throughout Jeremy Leung’s work. The New York-based illustrator says these lines have been a part of his repertoire for the past ten years.
But it wasn’t until recently that Leung realized why line work was such a staple of his creations – he finds the act of drawing them therapeutic. “They are very flexible in how [they] can convey human emotion,” he says.
In the Applied Arts 2018 Photography & Illustration Awards, Leung won a Young Blood Award for his series ’NEW BODIES.” Since his win, the OCADU grad has left his design job in Toronto and relocated to New York City. This past September, Leung was hired as art director and staff illustrator for the business publication Institutional Investor.
“The hardest part was adjusting to the pace and vastness of the city,” he muses. But when it comes to his work, there was no adjusting. Leung explains that he approaches business and investment topics the same way he would any other. “I like to think I was hired because they appreciated my point of view,” he says.
He does allow that the subject matter demands a certain cleverness in what he’s “trying to say — away from any trite or contrived representations of business and investing at the highest levels.”
Leung finds his inspiration in all sorts of places. His head is currently fixated on the imagery of international films. If you are a fan of Taiwanese New Wave cinema or modern Korean auteurs, then Leung’s illustrations may look familiar to you. The films of directors such as Tsai Ming Liang, Hou Hsiao Hsien and Hong Sang-soo are particularly influential.
“I’ve sort of absorbed these influences subconsciously into my work,” he says. “Not only with regards to representation, being Asian myself, but also because of the way the story is told; it’s very unconventional and the characters are subtle,” he explains.