The first three words that come to mind when we think about designer Ping Hatta are: bold, whimsical, and FUN. A resident of both NYC and Bangkok, Ping is a creative fireball who, in addition to her work as a designer, has been an illustrator, live-portrait artist, and maker of tiny things. She’s created everything from massive campaigns for Nike to memes about cats...all in her uniquely cute and brightly colorful style.
If you're a longtime BFF, you know we've been carrying Ping's super-cute cards and bold artwork for many years. And, before Covid social distancing, she stopped by the store for two live portrait events!
We recently caught up with Ping to ask a few questions to check in and get to know our fun, creative bestie a little better!
How long have you been an artist/illustrator/designer?
4-5 years. I work with many mediums including painting, textiles, printmaking, and digital.
What led you to this type of art? What do you like most about it?
Before I made a career pivot, I was a full-time lingerie designer for a company based in Thailand. At that time, I thought I wanted to take part in helping women feel confident and empowered, and by designing lingerie, it was a way to create a positive impact on how women carry themselves.
But now creating art is a way to empower women. I am happy to know that someone is happy because I represent them when the main media does not. I make them feel seen. I love that I am able to do what I love everyday and that my message resonates with women/womxn out there. I want to create something that is visually pleasing, comforting, and empowering people. I want my work to uplift someone, or to be the catalyst for change for someone. Also by creating and making things, I want my action to empower others to start doing the things they love to do or to have the courage to get things started.
Where do you find inspiration for the pieces you create?
I’m inspired by many things but most importantly, women and female forms. There’s something aesthetically pleasing and comforting about the female form, and I want to celebrate that. I don’t have any specific muse, but I’m mostly inspired by women I personally know. Seeing them grow with grace from their challenges inspires me.
For me, a woman can be both soft and strong...where she can command a space as effortlessly as she can blend into her surroundings. These two dichotomies of strength and softness can coexist harmoniously. I hope that all women/womxn will be able to see their beauty and strength mirrored in my pieces.
I read you are also a singer and tap dance instructor. Does dance or music inspire your illustrations or designs?
Music and dancing is a form of creativity, and I think practicing creativity is a form of healing. Doing these things sometimes reminds me of what it feels like to be as carefree and in-the-moment as when we were young. Music and dancing is where I put my adult-self to rest and let my inner child come out to play. Although I no longer participate in singing and dancing as much as before (because of the pandemic!), they help me get into the creative zone quicker and I still incorporate that into my daily practice.
There's a page on your website titled Art in Covid 19. Do you have any tips on staying creative during the pandemic?
Creativity is healing. It doesn’t matter if you want to make it a profession or do it as a hobby. To me, creativity is the medicine that heals our souls. It is a way to channel our emotions into something else, to bring negativity and transmute it into something beautiful, whether painting, music, a meal.
I want to encourage people to practice creativity everyday. Play, have fun, don’t overthink it. It also doesn’t have to be perfect or complicated. Make practicing creativity simple, accessible, and necessary. By simply believing that you are creative, and showing up to practice creativity everyday, it transforms and uplifts you. You heal yourself, and you heal others as well. That’s the beauty of creativity.
You can bring a little creative inspiration from Ping into your life with the bright, empowering, and expressive pieces in the new Ping collection at Friends NYC! Stop by the store or shop online!