The Future Creator
By Diana Al Shammari
Sabrina Wong is a Long Beach-based artist who goes by the name “Ms. Wrong.” She is currently in school majoring in something that couldn’t be farther from the arts – computer science. She sat down with me and we spoke about her art and its future.
Diana Al Shammari: Why did you choose your artist name as “Ms. Wrong”?
Sabrina Wong: It’s a play on from when I used to get teased in middle school. The kids would take my last name and they used to say “you’re going the ‘wrong way’ Ms. Wrong. Always doing the wrong thing.” I was trying to choose a name that was not my given name. I wanted to keep my art separate from my real identity, so I picked that name and turned something negative, a name that was used by kids to tease me, into something positive.
DA: When did you start painting and getting into art?
SW: I’ve been doing art for as long as I can remember. I just did it as thing I would do at home or school. I remember drawing and doodling at kindergarten and middle school. I remember spending a long time on my drawings because I’m such a perfectionist. I really enjoyed it and eventually it started turning into something bigger. But I would just do it just for fun. Growing up, I would draw pictures for friends and people would give me their shoes, so I would paint on them. I didn’t think much of it until I started spending more time with other creatives and gave a thought to the idea of going full-force into this.
DA: How do you define your art and explain it to people?
SW: I’m an emotional artist. I can’t create anything unless there’s some emotional backing from it. I have to be inspired first. I don’t do a lot of portrait style works of other people or a lot of commissions. I just have to be very driven to do something in order for me to create it.
DA: Has being a perfectionist hindered you at all?
SW: Yes, absolutely. However, when I started doing group shows, I was given deadlines. That really, really helped me to get more organized and get my head into the game to meet those deadlines. I realized that when I’m given a deadline, I have to have to clear idea of what I’m doing and what I’m doing it for and have everything sketched out before going full-force into it.
DA: Have your parents always been supportive of your art? If not, why?
SW: No, they haven’t! They didn’t think I would make any money in it, which I understand. Now that I’m older, yes it’s difficult, but they understand how much I love it and after I started doing shows, they saw the potential in it. They saw a lot of people coming to see the shows and all the different people I’m meeting. Luckily, I have uncles and family members who are very into the arts and collect pieces. They definitely had an influence on my family and shed a positive light on it.
DA: Are you studying art at the moment?
SW: I was, actually. I studied industrial/product design. I wanted to get into footwear design and was heading towards that direction. Then I eventually ended up switching into computer science.
DA: How does an artist studying art switch into something very abstract such as computer science?
SW: I ended up falling in love with computer science after taking my first language class. The main reason I took that class is because I was interested in VR design and saw a lot of positives that can come out of it in the future and I wanted to see how I can use VR into my future. I got to see different artists paint in VR and it’s becoming a new medium. There hasn’t been a new medium in the art world for a long time and it’s making its way up there. It really intrigued me and I thought to myself that other than painting and creating, what else can someone do with this? I realized that the world is heading into a more technologically advanced direction and VR is going to play an immense part of that. And we’re going to need designers and creators in this technological future. So, I did my research and found out the things and classes I have to take to get into the field. It’s certainly challenging me to think differently and it’s going to benefit me and others in the future. I want to be the one who helps people in this new technology in a positive way.
DA: Any advice to up-and-coming artists?
SW: My advice to up-and-coming artists is to not be afraid and go out to introduce themselves to other artists. I know I was a very shy person and it was difficult for me to talk to other people who were in the art world at first. People are very open to talk to and explain their experiences and enjoy art. There are different types of people for different types of art and if you don’t get out there, you’ll never know. There are many group shows available for people to join and showcase their work and many opportunities for artists to get involved. If you don’t get involved, nothing is going to happen. As soon as I started getting involved, I started doing a lot more and moving a lot more in the industry and meeting people who were doing shows. Be open and talk to people.