Artist Spotlight Wilson Ma

Meet Wilson. He studies Integrated Design at Parsons New School of Design, where he combines the worlds of fashion, illustration, and graphic design. Recently, we sat down with him to discuss technique, inspiration, and aspiration.

“The pieces are definitely inspired by fashion — and the common area between fashion and graphic design is graphic t-shirts. I made these illustrations thinking about how I could put them on t-shirts.”

One of his biggest inspirations? World history.

“I was never strong in math or science, but history has always been a strong interest of mine. The way in which everything connects is like a never ending story book.”

Naturally, his illustrations are influenced by all things history. Religious imagery is an especial inspiration for Wilson, who loves using illustrative and graphic design techniques to dissect cultural references.

“I broke up historical images and then re-arranged them to start a conversation. How others react to the work becomes an engagement with the work. Engagement shouldn’t be limited to galleries or museums. It can happen anywhere, whether on a school campus or street.”

Another inspiration? His own history.

“My heritage is an inspiration. I was born here, but my parents are immigrants from China. Growing up in New York, I was surrounded by western customs. But when I was home, I was surrounded by a different kind of culture. It was like a switch I could turn on and off. Finding that balance was a struggle. Nowadays I identify more strongly with my Chinese background, but am also accustomed to western civilization.”