The numerous hats of Amber Park
“I grew up with super conservative Korean immigrant parents, and obviously my mum’s aspiration was for me to become a lawyer, so my upbringing was really nothing creative at all,” says Amber Park. The artist’s back story is a fairly common reality among children of immigrants who have ended up in the creative industries, in spite of expectations that they should follow a more traditional career path.
In Park’s case, she spent much of her childhood focusing on academia and playing competitive tennis, although the early signs of her creative future were apparent from her obsession with drawing. “I would always draw all over our walls when I was six years old, and when I was a young teen I would always draw on myself. I used to draw little cartoons on my arm with washable markers,” she tells CR. Fast-forward to today and she is the poster child for multi-hypenate creativity, with a portfolio of work spanning music videos, brand campaigns, creative direction, and most recently Web3, in the form of her first NFT project.
Park’s multidisciplinary approach is all the more impressive considering she is entirely self-taught; starting from the age of 16, she would post her art on then emerging social platform Instagram. After finishing school, she went to Princeton to study sociology and history, joining the prestigious college as a recruited tennis athlete. When she was forced to quit the team after breaking her foot in her freshman year, she naturally started gravitating towards more artistic pursuits. At the same time, she was also connecting with music artists in LA and New York on SoundCloud during the platform’s heyday.
“One thing led to another and I started working with Lil Yachty,” says the artist. “At the time he was signed with Capital Music and they were like, ‘do you want to start working with Katy Perry?’. I thought it was a cool small job as a college student, but they essentially offered for me to come be an assistant art director for her. So then that gap year became an indefinite gap year that I’m still on now, and has evolved into a full-time career.”