Middle of Somewhere
hi internet. meet my side project: MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE.
an original illustration series inspired by people i see on my commute.
I made an Instagram account for this project if you'd like to follow along. I created it mostly to keep myself accountable to this project.
I plan to POST only about my faves here, so we'll see!
Where is SOMEWHERE?
Location doesn't matter.
We're always moving from some place to the next. This project isn't about physical location. It's not the subway line they're riding or the stop they get off at. This project aims to capture people on their way between where they're traveling from and to. It's a middle moment of their lives.
But I guess 'somewhere' is technically in New York City—for now.
Middle is my state of being.
I'm a middle child.
And yet, I never feel overlooked for being in the middle. In fact, being in the middle has widened my perspective to both sides of any situation.
I grew up in the middle ground between cultures.
As a second generation Asian American, I've never felt fully in one group or another. I'm not quite Asian. I'd be doing a disservice to individuals who were raised in Asia and have a much better understanding of history, culture, and what it means to experience the world as an Asian person. However, I do recognize that my parents have instilled values from their own upbringing in Taiwan: a reverence for elders, a gratitude for food, a tireless yet humble work ethic.
I'm also not quite American. I grew up in the suburbs, had my first mall job folding clothes, took the SATs and went to a 4-year university. But I always felt 'other' to my classmates, especially in university. People often see the tone of my skin and shape of my eyes before they notice my personality and experiences.
I'm usually straddling both perspectives—especially when it comes to food. I love me a good burger, but can never turn down a plate of sheng jian bao.
My career straddles the middle of old and new.
In my time as a creative at ad agencies, I've become a hybrid of sorts. I'm not exactly a traditional creative. I've paid my dues with monthly iterations of banner ads, email marketing campaigns, and mobile ad units. I've pitched tv spots with moving manifestos voiced over lush scenery.
Since then, I've—by happy accident—fell into a very specific focus on social media marketing. It's made me see the world mobile-first and ladder concepts back to KPIs. It's fun, transient, swipe-able. However, I approach it bearing in mind a more traditional structure of story-telling and bigger picture thinking.
I usually end up stuck in the middle on the subway.
I live off a rather busy subway line in NYC. Most days I'm pretty much a sardine in a tin train car. The middle of the subway train is where I notice the people by the door. Maybe out of envy. Maybe because I don't know here to stare.
But from the middle is where I do my best people-watching.