This year, Amy Hwang took the plunge that many fantasize about - she left her comfortable office job to become a full-time artist. As a cartoonist, her work appears in the likes of The New Yorker and more recently on our own Instagram feed @reclinernyc,
Right now, Amy is also organizing an art exhibit of Asian New Yorker cartoonists with fellow cartoonist Jeremy Nguyen, which will be held in downtown Manhattan later this year. We sat down with Amy to see how her transition has been to working from home, and what she’s learned about creativity and productivity.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you become a cartoonist?
While at Barnard for architecture, I decided to draw cartoons for the university newspaper and continued to draw while I started my architecture career. Recently, I left my 9-5 office job and as a cartoonist work regularly with The New Yorker magazine. I’m also a single mom and co-parent my daughter who is in third grade.
What is your daily routine?
I find the more information you have on how you work, the better. I work best in large chunks of time. Because I love what I do, once I get into a flow, I can continue working for hours on hours. Once I start something, I keep at it until I finish it.
During the school year I wake up around 6:45 a.m. and we’re at school by 8:15 a.m. Then, I head back home to make myself breakfast. Most days, I’ll make tea, toast with butter and honey, yogurt, fruit, and steel cut oatmeal. After that, I get to work before going to pick my daughter up from school around 3p.m.
How do you unwind?
I take naps! Because the work I do hinges on my being alert and my creative mind being at its best, I can’t function well without being well-rested. If I find myself losing steam, I’ll take a nap and once I’m refreshed, I’ll continue working. The feeling of accomplishment relieves a lot of my stress.
Also, I find that for me, a lot my stress is time-related. I try to anticipate where my stress is coming from, and make adjustments from there. For example, if I’m getting bogged down in administrative tasks, I’ll look at my schedule and see how I can maximize my time.
What are your bedroom essentials?
Recently, I traded in my big bed for a twin size bed! It’s been the best decision because it simplifies everything. Now, not only do I have more space in my room, it’s a lot easier to make my bed, wash my sheets. Plus, because my daughter also has a twin size bed, we can share sheets!
I keep my bedroom pretty sparse with a lot of greys and neutrals, and have always enjoyed reading Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui for home tips. I have a good reading light, good quality pillows, and have never had trouble falling asleep.
What is your favorite RECLINER item?