Ping Zhu is a freelance illustrator currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for her gestural paintings, which playfully balance large block colours with simplified flat shapes. In 2013 she received the ADC Young Guns award.
Ping fell into illustration at around 12 years old. Some of her friends started taking an art class on Saturdays and she joined just to hang out with them. When her friends had stopped taking the class a year later, she continued going, every Saturday, until she was 18.
Ping was accepted into three art schools and chose to study illustration at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. While still in college, she took a trip to New York to meet a few art directors. She visited the New York Times and spoke to Leanne Shapton who asked her to do a small illustration for the Letters page. It was her first encounter with the professional world of illustration. Ping has since gone on to work with The New Yorker, Pentagram, Penguin and Nobrow Press.
Ping has described her style as “Charley Harper and Isamu Noguchi’s love child.” She works with gouache on paper embracing the potential of mistakes, using the natural flow of the brush rather than fighting against it.
The nature of my work is gestural and the effect of dry brushing is unpredictable, even if I try to control it. The result is always a little bit unknown.— Ping Zhu, TGD
You can find more of Ping Zhu’s work on her Website, Twitter and Instagram. You should also check out this short Hyperakt Lunch Talk, where she discusses the progression of her work and how she stays productive.