Mushroom People Desktop 2560×1400

Mushroom People

#NAOHOAstory: Simultaneously, I was trying to find representation for children’s book or fashion illustration. I can’t find any examples of the latter, but here’s a row of characters I designed, based on photos of real mushrooms found on Pinterest.

Again, no luck. There was one particular agent I wanted to work with, and after a few rejections, I somehow managed to catch her attention. She had contacts in gaming and fashion, and we discussed the possibility of me working in the latter. Unfortunately, this came to an end when her feedback was, “Your work looks too Asian. Change your style and use White models – otherwise they won’t sell.”

I’d purposely used Asian models in my illustrations (I can’t find them – everything’s in storage or in transit atm!) because we need more representation. I was unemployed, had finally got the attention of a well-renowned agent and really needed an income…but her words didn’t sit well with me. I ceased communication and walked away from that path.

It’s important to stick by your morals and principles; I didn’t want to actively feed a system that oppressed ethnic minorities for the sake of profit. It’s taken years to get to this point, but I’m finally ready to speak more honestly about my experiences with race and discrimination in my podcast, @ajourneysharedposcast (first episode out tomorrow!).