Traci Yoshiyama is the amazing artist behind the popular "Lost in Paradise" puzzles, which is bursting with lush colorful florals and bright jungle greens. We admire how Traci weaves together her upbringing in Hawaiʻi with her travels all over the world, and wanted to share a little bit more about Traci's journey as an artist. Enjoy!
What made you want to go into art & design and how did you get started?
My career as a graphic designer was completely unplanned and kind of came out of nowhere. I was working as a program manager for a non-profit in New York / Kenya and did a little bit of design work for them on the side. It was fun and I found it interesting, but I never thought of it as a career choice for me - I didn't think I had any actual skills to be a 'real-life' designer. When I decided to leave my job in 2016, I was burnt out and needed something new to do for a while. Several people suggested I look into design and I guess I made an impulsive decision to give it a try. I had no idea where it would take me, but I signed up for an Adobe membership, started watching a lot of YouTube videos and just took it from there. At the time, my husband and I were moving to Kenya and that's where I jump started this new career - just taking it one day, one project, one step at a time. And over the past 5 years, I went from liking design to really falling in love with it and finally finding something that keeps me motivated, happy and fulfilled.
Why did you name your studio Talking Story Design?
At its core, I think the term 'talk story' means to make connections, learn from one another, share our stories and to listen to what others have to say. And this perfectly captures what I want to do with design. I love connecting with all walks of life, hearing the stories they want to tell and help them bring that story to life visually. I also wanted to have a name that brought a little bit of the local spirit through. Although I've lived away from Hawaii for so long, it's still a huge part of my identity and I want to share that with others.
What do you love most about your job?
There are two things that I love most about my job. The first thing that I love is this job is hard; it is constantly pushing me. I know I'm not the best, that I have a long way to go, but that lifelong growth and learning is what motivates me. The second thing is that I'm in complete awe of those in the creative industry and I am always so inspired by what others create. It's a really special thing to be able to create something out of nothing, to use your imagination and see where that takes you - to be able to do that as my job is very fulfilling for me.
Any advice for emerging artists?
It sounds corny, but the best advice I can give is to be yourself - have confidence that there is space for your voice and work hard for others to hear you. We all find ourselves comparing our work to others, judging our own self-worth based on superficial things such as 'likes', suffering from that dreaded imposter syndrome. It can be a hard space to be in. But if you put in the work, continue to build your skills and believe in what you have to say, the rest will follow.