This series is dedicated to spotlighting some of the talented content creators who also happen to be skin care fans! We previously featured the winner and finalists of the Then I Met You Art Show, talking about what inspired their artwork, and their thoughts and tips on Korean skin care. To close the series, we’re excited to feature four more art show finalists, Lucille Tang, Michelle Hahm, Qi Zhang and Lindsey McClure.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves, and your journey into discovering your talent for art.
Lucille: Hi, I’m Lucille! I’m currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I graduated university over a year ago, and I now work for a consumer product company as a chemicals buyer. Other than art, my hobbies consist of trying out new coffee shops (I’m actually not a coffee-drinker, but I love the good vibes and interior design/spaces), going on nature walks, playing with my cat and exploring new cities (really miss traveling these days). While in quarantine, I’ve tried learning every single egg recipe under the sun, started a personal finance blog and created a lot more digital drawings with my extra free time. Editor’s Note: You can find Lucille on Instagram at @wanderlushi.
Michelle: Hello! I’m Michelle, a freelance illustrator who splits her time between the DC area and Korea. Some of my hobbies include reading and exploring interesting museums and aquariums. During quarantine, I’ve started working out indoors. Editor’s Note: You can find Michelle on Instagram at @michellehahm.
Qi: I recently received my PhD in educational statistics and started to work as a researcher to develop innovative research methods and improve education programs. I dabbled in a bit of everything up to this point of my life. Prior to education research, I was trained as a chemist. My love in art started when I worked as an art conservator, where I got to restore valuable paintings and those that carried sentimental values for the owners. I started to get into ceramics during my PhD journey as a way to relieve stress, and began taking classes at the local art institute. Almost four years later, I am still working with clay and grateful that this art medium is in my life. During quarantine, I started to blog about my skin care experience on Instagram, where I posted product reviews. Then I slowly incorporated artistic photography into my posts. It has been a fun experience connecting with fellow skin care lovers and sharing our own unique experiences. Editor’s Note: You can find Qi on Instagram at @aboveaverageskincare.
Lindsey: My pen name is Riina, and I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. Aside from my love of drawing and skin care, I’m an avid gamer. Right now my favorite games are The Last of Us series, Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. I also like reading and shopping! During my time in quarantine, I’ve definitely learned that I was taking things for granted before. While my work hasn’t suffered, my daily life has. Access to material items such as skin care products or even healthcare items like my medications and vitamins have been very difficult to get, which can be very scary for someone with health conditions. If anything, I’ve learned not to overwork myself and try to be nicer to myself! Editor’s Note: You can find Lindsey on Instagram at @riina_art.
What was your main inspiration for participating in the Then I Met You Art Show?
Lucille: In the last two years, I really got into skin care after struggling to find products that satisfy my combination skin. Back then, I’d use drugstore products that would leave my skin either extremely oily or dehydrated. The turning point was when I discovered K-beauty and Charlotte Cho’s launch of Then I Met You through Reddit skin care threads. I’ve always loved the brand’s ingredient list and found the periwinkle blue packaging visually inspiring, so I knew I had to participate when I heard about the art show.
Michelle: I was trying to win skin care products for my sister! I’m really thankful that as a finalist I received a free product though.
Qi: I’ve always been interested in trying out products from Then I Met You. I am a huge ingredient nerd (my chemistry training is definitely responsible for that) and I’ve always been intrigued by the high-quality ingredients in Then I Met You products. I was especially excited when I saw the theme of the art show because I think a sense of togetherness is so important in everything that is going on in the world today.
Lindsey: My best friend Zona and fiancé Raven. Both are extremely supportive about my career and I honestly wouldn’t have made it this far without them.
What’s your creative process like? Are there any rituals you follow when getting ready to create something?
Lucille: My creative process starts with some sort of inspiration. I usually take inspiration from rich colors and beauty. This can be found everywhere, from foreign cultures to a vibrant spring day. Then I just start creating, even if I don’t know what the final piece would look like. I’ve discovered that once you start creating, your mind gets into a creative groove, and that’s when the best ideas form.
Michelle: I draw a lot of thumbnail sketches and I sometimes gather reference images. I also might listen to music, drink cranberry juice, or light a scented candle.
Qi: I don’t have a specific creative process, but a lot of my ideas begin in my head. If I like an idea, I tend to be very obsessive about it. If an idea is easy to execute, I would carry it out right away and develop it further as I go. If the idea is more complex, I often write it out in the Notes app and revisit it later to see if it still holds.
Lindsey: Honestly, I feel like my process is disorganized a bit. I can’t just sit down and draw. When I work on personal pieces or commissioned work, I tend to have a sudden flash of finished images, which I will draw inspiration from. In school, I learned to create moodboards to help aid the process, but I honestly didn’t stick to it because I found that it overloads my mind. However once I sit down, I’ll have a cup of water or diet soda, open Photoshop, and find something to watch while I work. If I can’t multitask while I draw, I tend to get sluggish.
At Then I Met You, our mission is to inspire people to cultivate jeong – the Korean concept describing a deep, emotional connection you can build over time with people, places and things – through our products. The collection is meant to remind you to slow down and make time for the things that matter most, which often includes the soothing ritual of skin care. Tell us about your skin care routine. Are there any steps in your routine that you savor when taking that time for yourself?
Lucille: As the largest organ of the body, our skin needs to be prioritized with good products and consistent care. I like to keep things simple morning and night with a few main steps: double cleansing (oil- then water-based), toner, moisturizers and sunscreen in the daytime. Because my skin can get dehydrated, I put a lot of emphasis on hydrating moisturizers (if interested, I highly recommend researching the difference between humectants, emollients, ceramides and occlusives for your skin type).
Michelle: It’s pretty simple! I just use an oil cleanser, a water cleanser, some toner, eye cream, a moisturizer and (most importantly) some sunscreen. I also use sheet masks sometimes.
Qi: In my typical night time routine, I always start with a double cleanse to get rid of oil, dirt, and sunscreen residue. Then I go in with several (usually 3) hydrating toner and essences. I like to start with watery essences and move on to thicker ones. After hydrating my skin, I always apply a hyaluronic acid serum followed by more nourishing serums. After serums, I like to apply a thinner and more targeted moisturizer. I’ve been using Stratia Liquid Gold to heal my skin’s moisture barrier. Then I go in with a slightly more occlusive cream to seal everything in. Every other night, I apply a thin layer of retinol cream all over my face and neck as the final step of my routine.
Lindsey: I have a pretty extensive skin routine, in my opinion. Since I have oily skin, keeping the sebum production under control is top priority. I prefer the traditional ten (or more) step routine because I enjoy the entire process so much. During my routine, if it’s a mask night, I’ll use something to remove the peach fuzz from my face, lip scrub, and I’ll use two different wash off masks. A clay-based one to vacuum out my pores and then a resurfacing one on rough spots. Korean beauty has turned my severely congested, oily, angry skin into something that is the total opposite. I still have some redness, and get a few trouble spots every once and awhile, but I’m very happy with the journey I’ve been on.
What’s your favorite Then I Met You product and why? Or, if you’ve just recently tried your first product from Then I Met You, what were your first thoughts about the experience?
Lucille: I absolutely love the latest product launch, Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask. I’ve been struggling with severely chapped and peeling lips for as long as I could remember, and regular chapstick tends to actually dry out my lips even more. The Honey Dew Lip Mask has saved my lips from the constant dryness and is now a must-carry staple for me. It also doesn’t hurt that it would look like I’ve applied lip gloss and actually tried in the morning!
Michelle: [My first experience with Then I Met You] was wonderful! I wasn’t sure if I’d see any changes, but my skin started noticeably glowing after just a few days of using The Giving Essence. Highly recommend.
Qi: I loved using the Living Cleansing Balm. This is actually my first cleansing balm. I typically use an oil cleanser in my double cleanse routine. To be honest, I’ve been staying away from cleansing balms because I wasn’t sure if they would work well with my skin. But this [balm] has exceeded my expectations. I love that it melts beautifully and gets rid of stubborn sunscreen residue.
Lindsey: Using the Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel has been wonderful! It really is soothing and helps with my redness. I also like that it has some mild exfoliation that nixes sudden rough patches. Honestly, sometimes I’ll pick up the bottle just to feel the product roll around.
Any final tips you want to give aspiring artists or those who want to get into art?
Lucille: Before I got into traditional and digital art, I would be gripped by the analysis paralysis of getting caught up in all the various brands and art mediums. What I’ve learned is that none of that really matters when you start out. If you want to learn how to paint, for instance, the brand of paints and canvases you use doesn’t matter at all. Just choose the supplies that fit within your budget, even if it’s the cheapest out there, and start painting to learn and develop your own techniques. Nobody is born to possess inherent art skills. But that’s what makes it exciting–the art journey is one that is filled with growth, learning, and experimentation. It’s never too late to get started!
Michelle: Draw from life as much as possible! Study the works of artists you like, and try to take classes if you can afford to.
Qi: I am still very much an amateur photographer. With any form of art, just getting started is key. You don’t need a fancy pen, paper, or gadgets to create art. In fact, I take most of my photos on my iPhone. I think consistency in art-making is a crucial step in becoming a good artist.
Lindsey: Never give up! Every artist works extremely hard to get to where they are, no one woke up the next day and found success.
Thank you Lucille, Michelle, Qi and Lindsey!
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