Image Credit | Angela Kang
By Lily Sarafian
Angela Kang is a passionate creative and all-around dynamic individual, who ventured from radiography to the doors of LCI Melbourne, looking to follow her dream of interior design.
After less than a year studying at LCI, Angela has already landed a position as an interior design assistant at Metricon Homes. Recently, we caught up with her to ask a few questions about her creative journey, design ethos and the Subtle Asian Traits community she has been fostering since 2018.
- Hi Angela, how are you today?
I’m good thanks! Despite what’s happening with lockdown at the moment, I’ve been trying to keep busy and trying to appreciate the little things more.
- We wanted to congratulate you on your new role at Metricon! What has the experience been like?
I’ve only been a part of Metricon for a total of 7 days so far, but I’ve been loving it! I’ve worked a total of 6 jobs before from scooping ice cream, to selling jewellery, to x-raying broken bones and now to Metricon, helping clients select interior design products to build their dream home. Everyone has been really friendly which is always nice starting at a new workplace and the showroom is beautiful, I feel like I’m surrounded by nice products and great people!
- Describe a typical day in the life of Angela at the moment. What are you currently working on?
During uni holidays now it’s been a mix of learning new things for my job, trying to balance adult life as I just bought my first house and trying to make it insta-worthy with a student budget! I’ve also been keeping busy managing Subtle Asian Traits, taking my dog on walks and practicing skills such as hand rendering and gouache painting. A lot I’ve been wanting to achieve, but the keyword has been “trying”.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement with the Subtle Asian Traits social media community you have fostered?
I started Subtle Asian Traits in 2018 with a small group of friends (aged 18). It started off being a Facebook group full of memes and quirky one-liners and has now grown to nearly 2-million members globally. SAT consists of a broad range of topics mainly focused on Asian culture as experienced by children of immigrants, being personally relatable to me growing up Asian-Australian.
I think it also relates to lots of people with immigrant parents such as the struggles growing up bilingual, celebrating cultural festivals, multicultural foods and influences in modern pop culture. SAT’s unique group has generated attention in media and mainstream news appearing in The New York Times, SBS and ABC Melbourne. We also have celebrities such as MasterChef judge Melissa Leong, Marvel superhero Simu Liu and comedian Hasan Minhaj who are active members in the group that we’ve interviewed.
In 2019, I was personally invited to Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California and met app developers and engineers, so it’s been really eye-opening to know that there is a big world out there full of opportunities.
- Can you share a bit about the inspiration behind your work? What factors inform your creative process?
I would say I’m quite a thought-out and planned person, with everything I do I try and make it “make sense”, whether it be through colour, composition layout, style or meaning. I always try and think about what the purpose of the piece is, who it’s for and where it’s going to go. I like working with colour as I think it’s such a powerful way of changing the way something looks and instantly changing the way it feels and reads.
Lots of my inspiration comes from travel, culture and seeing where new technology is heading towards. It can be challenging at times trying to make everything picture-perfect and being unable to put the pen down, but I’m learning to trust the process and go with my gut more.
- Were you a creative kid? When did you realise you wanted to explore art and design?
I started weekly drawing classes when I was 6 years old, learning how to draw circle shaped watermelons. Having Asian parents, I did so many out of class activities from going to Sunday language school to swimming, dancing, table tennis, drawing class was probably the only one which I didn’t dread going to. During primary school I had won school art awards here and there, but I never thought much of it.
My younger brother is studying Architecture at university and I think I realised I wanted to explore interior design when his work started to look more interesting than whatever was happening in my life. When people would say “Uh, picking stuff for houses is so stressful and tedious” I would say “Really? This is actually fun to me” and that’s when I knew I had found my calling.
- What was your transition from medical imaging to LCI Melbourne student and designer like? Were there any hurdles?
I think I was just googling “interior design courses” spontaneously one day and clicked onto LCI’s website and entered my email, then I got a call from your team asking whether I would be interested in hearing more and coming to tour the campus. Once I walked into the beautiful campus, heard about the course outline and how supportive the LCI Melbourne community was, I knew I would be in for a good ride and that I was at the right place.
There were hurdles changing paths, but they were mostly my own self-doubts. Worrying what everyone would think about the massive change from radiography to something creative, thinking that I’ve already spent years finishing a previous degree, already settling into a full-time job in healthcare and the thought of being a first-year student for the third time was embarrassing! It was a daunting but exciting change, and I have no regrets so far. I didn’t want to live my life regretting not having given design school a shot.
- How is studying at LCI Melbourne for you? How do you think your journey has been affected by your mentors and classmates?
Studying at LCI Melbourne has been great! Having been to two major institutions, LCI was the kind of support network which I really needed for my personal growth. I actually got the job at Metricon through connecting with an LCI alumni, so it goes to show that there is such a strong, supportive community.
The course structure with the workshops was eye-opening, venturing laterally, learning new skills and meeting students in other creative disciplines. Being able to complete a bachelor’s degree in two years was also a massive perk for me. I personally don’t thrive well in competitive class environments and I think why I love LCI is that you really don’t need to step on others in order to get where you want to be. Everyone has an equal opportunity to learn and share ideas.
It’s always really interesting hearing how our mentors have a wealth of experience but are also like our friends. With mentors saying things like “feel free to message me whenever you need, even on a Saturday night when you’re out partying” … never would you get that light-heartedness and love from your teachers at other institutions.
- Do you have any advice for LCI Melbourne students? How can they make the most out of their study?
You get as much out of your education as you put in! We’re surrounded by a lot of experienced, inspiring and talented mentors and classmates, there is something you can learn from everyone. Uni is the best time to connect, network and make mistakes, you’re better off making mistakes at uni than in the real world.
- What’s next for you as a creative?
It’s just the start, I definitely want to finish my degree at LCI and continue to apply my interior design skills practically, helping people design their homes and working on renovation projects. I am also looking into the possibility of a master’s degree. Although the thought of more study used to scare me, I now realise there is so much out there to learn and I really enjoy being surrounded by passionate, creative people.
I also want to do an overseas exchange down the track. I’m still trying to develop my personal style and exploring different areas which I’m less familiar with such as commercial interiors. I’m just training my brain to be open to trying new things and to “be a sponge” ✨.