[ATAS Artist Spotlight] Ariel Sun: “Work hard, be nice, and great things will happen”

In our ATAS Artist Spotlight series, we take a deeper dive into our artists through their work and the creative process and stories behind them.

Ariel Sun is a Brooklyn-based artist known for her vibrant, dramatic, and minimalistic digital illustrations. Her artwork is influenced by her travels, relationships with different people and the world around me, and how light interacts with objects and surfaces. When Ariel is not drawing, you can find her traveling, reading, and brewing kombucha. A motto that Ariel lives by is to “work hard, be nice, and great things will happen”.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


I love to support such an important cause”

What is your creative process?

Ariel: I think I’m more digital of a person than analog. Instead of keeping a sketchbook, I take photos of objects, landscapes, dramatic lighting situations and compositions that inspire me, compile them and conceptualize what illustration or graphics I’d like to make out of them. When beginning an artwork, I use Adobe Illustrator to come up with a basic layout and the base layers before airdropping it into my iPad and sketching out the lighting and shading situations. I then go back to Adobe Illustrator to finish the artwork. Sometimes I use Photoshop to add specific effects or textures.

Which one of your works is your favorite?

Shangshui Landscape / Vector Illustration

Ariel: My general approach is to push myself to make each piece better than the last, so I like to say my latest work is often my favorite yet! But I would say this piece is probably the one that hits closest to home, because it carries so many fond memories of the travels I did with my family when I was a kid growing up in China.

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?

Ariel: I would really love to go to Indonesia because I’ve been obsessed with Indonesian food for years and there’s no sign of stopping!

What is your favorite piece of artwork that is not your own?

Ariel: “Office in a Small City” by Edward Hopper.

What do you listen to while you work?

Ariel: I listen to the podcasts the “Creative Pep Talk” and “Design Matters with Debbie Millman”.

Why did you decide to become an ATAS artist?

Ariel: I love to support such an important cause that still has such a long way to go.


You can check out more of Ariel’s work on her Instagram and ATAS Artist portfolio.

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