We had the good fortune of connecting with Jose Chong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jose, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
other than the constant hunger for more, i’d say persistence would be the most important ingredient in the formula. all of the talent or ambition in the world is nothing without the persistence to keep striving to thrive.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art career as a graphic designer started in 2009 but I been drawing ever since I can remember. As a kid I used to just draw where ever, lot of nights falling asleep with a sketchbook on me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Art is one of the only constants in my life and to be able to do it and to be recognized to do it is amazing. I got into graphic design software back in middle school when I kept seeing what I later learned were gamer tag sigs online. me being a lil poor skater kid i never had any gaming systems like that so i didn’t even know what they were for, i just thought they looked cool. I don’t know why. At the time I had to find out how to be able to make those things. so when one of my friends was flexing one in the cover of his binder at the school bus i asked him how he made it and he put me on to photoshop. when i got home, i downloaded photoshop cs and since then have been upgrading along with every drop. Fast forward to high school; I know close to half of the creative suite because I taught myself them with tutorials and am taking freelance design orders for clothing brands, upcoming musicians, a billboard design for a liquidation company under my belt and any thing else that would come my way. I would say that the point that made me decide that I wanted to keep pursuing this was around 2010. I was designing for a brand called Al Dente who was sponsoring the Big Sean Finally Famous Vol 3 tour so I got free meet and greet tickets. As a kid free tickets is great but getting to meet one of your favorite rappers and being behind the scenes to the shit was astounding. I remember being in line to meet big sean a promoter gave me business cards and told me to hit them up when I started my own line so I was gassed up. Then when I met sean he complimented me on the shirt i was rocking so when i told him i had designed it he was surprised. He told me to never stop hustling. I made sure to communicate to get him one of the shirts so imagine how a 14 year old feels knowing one of your favorite rappers is rocking one of the tshirts you designed. that was it for me, at that moment i knew. Since then I have been through a lot. a lot of different projects, clients, helped start up a couple events, venues. The one thing that is for certain is that no matter how good you are doing or how much focus you try and maintain life does not care and just because something you plan looks great it doesn’t mean that you can always maintain the plan 100% because the bullshit will never stop coming. what is important to remember during those times is how you react that really matters. it took me a couple of years to mentally recuperate from a project that went sideways but you only come back stronger. Fast forward to now I am focusing on growing some new skills with my brand. i recently started screen printing and learning about motion graphics so there is never enough time in the day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Start the day with dominican breakfast at allapattah, if they would want to get a tattoo i’d take them to any of the talented artists at junkyard studios (RIP), go thrifting at any of the many thrift stores we got out here, bayside or key biscayne for the water vibes and then bar hopping at lil havana brickell or downtown.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wanna give the biggest shout out to my cat Sweet Dee. She should be a service animal at this point. all of the love from my people is a huge factor in my success. you can work like a robot all you want but the people in your life keep you grounded if you ever get stuck in your head.