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Meet The Illustrator: Janet Sung

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For the second year in a row, The Public Theater has commissioned a visual artist to do a series of illustrations capturing the work on our stages. For our 19-20 season, we are excited to partner with Korean-American New York-based illustrator and designer Janet Sung.

Name and pronouns:
Janet Sung (she/her)

What got you interested in illustration?
I’ve been drawing since I was very young. My older brother and I drew “comics” about our favorite cartoons because we couldn't bare waiting a whole week to catch them on tv again (this was way before streaming existed). Fast forward ten years and I honed in on my drawing in school, learned more about the industry, and ten more years later I drew my way into a career where I get to see my drawings in the world like my favorites on tv!

What inspires you as an artist?
Media started as my main inspiration but now I "draw" from a lot of different sources like fashion, photography, and my experiences growing up! I try to get out a lot and experience new things. I forget who first told me this in art school but i sincerely believe that interesting art comes from an interesting life.

What's been your approach to illustrating the shows so far this season?
I was approached to do this series of illustrations as someone very green to the theater world so I try to bring an open-minded perspective to each piece. I try to make something that captures how I interpreted the spirit of the show as I experienced it. I also really like taking notes from the lighting design to influence my color palette.

Has this work at all changed the way you view theater?
Definitely! I didn’t realize how narrow my scope of the theater world was before this project. I’d seen a small handful of off-broadway shows before but my eyes have definitely been opened to shows with more experimental, dark, political, and intimate themes.

What's some advice you have for other artists hoping to make a career in illustration?
1. Just start. And then don’t stop.
2. Make friends. Find yourself an art family that lifts each other up. (You also might end up hiring each other one day!)
3. Always ask for more, you'll almost always get it.
3. Live your life. Like I mentioned earlier, I think an interesting life makes interesting art. Don’t scrutinize over social media, go experience things, and then make art about it!

Follow The Public Theater on Instagram to see Janet's work throughout the season, or learn more about Janet at janetsungart.com.