Featured on Jun 27, 2011
"Live in a moment..."
Born in China, raised in China & Russia, and now living in the U.S., Yue Tuo is no stranger to adventure. Five years ago, she came to the U.S. to pursue a Masters degree in digital design with Ellen Luptan at MICA. The past year and a half has taken her down a entrepreneurial path, resulting in the creation her latest project iLand. True to the project’s mantra, ‘no man is an island’, she works along side her lifelong friend and co-creater, Kidy. Together they have developed a social graph-based online network where people come to share their dreams and make them happen. And what better way to lead than by example.
- Title: Digital Art Director
- Age: 26
- Location: Upper West Side
- Contact: @Tuoyue
You’ve worked as an Illustrator, Designer, and Interactive Designer in the past, and now you are a Digital Art Director. What similarities and differences do these different creative roles have?
My professional journey took shape pretty naturally, resulting from external and internal factors. Evolving technologies led me down a more interactive path, and my own interests evolved from a more aesthetic approach to conceptual one. Though there is a lot of overlap between the three disciplines, each informs my ideas in different ways. Being a Digital Art Director has allowed me to leverage my entire skill set in that it requires both conceptual thinking and expressional execution.
More importantly, I am the type of person who relies more on intuition than conscious choice. My gut instincts and curiosity are mainly what have and continue to drive my career path.
How did you decide to pursue a Masters degree in design, a field in which further education isn’t always necessary? What advice do you have for designers/illustrators/other creatives who are deciding whether or not to pursue a Masters degree?
My decision to get a Masters in design was far beyond academic. It was a continuation of my pursuit for the meaning of life. I think the key virtue of any creative person is an insatiable curiosity, so I found it only natural to want to continue in my education. Your work is a product of what you invest in yourself, so I think the more inquisitive and exposed you are, the better. I like to think of Alice in Alice in Wonderland who left no door unopened and no stone unturned, even if it sometimes got her into trouble.
In all, i believe that whether or not a person pursues a professional degree, they always remain a student of life. As long as they walk into the world of design with strong inner drive and passion, it will always build a good foundation for the future.
What drew you onto an entrepreneurial path? How did you and Kidy come up with the idea for iLand? What do you enjoy most about working on this project?
After working in a social media related industry for several years, I found myself fascinated by the dynamics cause by our online interactions. Though social media brings people together, it is often does so in a very synthetic way. As two young women living on the passionate island of Manhattan, Kidy and I wanted to create a social platform that breaks down physical barriers rather than perpetuating them. Born from our personal reflections and complimentary skillset, iLand is far more than just an entrepreneurial effort. It is an expression of the great potential of social media to facilitate interpersonal relationships rather than replacing them.
What illustrators / designers, current and past, do you look to for inspiration?
There’s no one in particular I draw my inspiration from. A person’s work inspires me as long as it is self-reflective and done in a respectful way. Everyone has a unique means of expression, so there’s something of value to be taken from every style. That said, I am a firm believer in finding your own voice and letting your own unique experiences inform your work. I find this process of self-discovery to be crucial to success in any field, and it is one that is ongoing and ever-evolving.