Artist of the Week: Janine Kwoh

"I think there is a lot of value and comfort to be found in hearing shared stories about what are often really difficult and isolating experiences."

Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations

Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!

This week we are featuring Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations! Janine is a one-woman show whose art helps people connect when it really matters. Whether it’s a poignant greeting card or stickers that give you a deeply needed pep talk, Kwohtations can make it a little easier for us to feel like our best selves.

Who are you?

Janine Kwoh, the Owner / Artist / One-Person Assembly Line behind Kwohtations I am also an imperfect but dedicated friend, sister, and partner. Books, coffee, any kind of fried potato topped with cheese, and jumpsuits are my daily happinesses.

What do you do?

I am an illustrator and a letterpress printer. I make greeting cards and other usable art that reflect and celebrate a diversity of identities and life experiences, and always with some humor and whimsy that is so critical to savoring the good times and surviving the hard ones. As a one‐woman show, I’m effectively the CEO, head of operations and finance, creative division, production team, customer service, and intern all rolled into one.

Who/what inspires you?

Creating and sharing art, for me, is a meaningful, tangible way to celebrate real life and real people, to provoke people (including myself) into self‐reflection, and to insert a bit of joy and humor that I think is so critical to finding connection, joy, and healing. In my art, I offer up my own truths ‐ about navigating love and loss, about searching for an authentic voice, about (re)defining family and identity and success, about bearing witness and figuring out what it means to be responsible to ourselves and others. My hope is that others might recognize some of themselves and feel a bit more seen, more connected, and less alone. 

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

When I have a vague idea that I've been turning over in my head and trying to wrestle onto paper for a while - whether it's trying to create an image or come up with the right words - and then the missing piece comes to me in a flash - it's usually when I'm out jogging or on the subway or in the shower.

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

Sometimes not knowing what you're doing is what ends up sparking the greatest creativity and a unique style, because you're not limited by the knowledge of how things "should" be done.  

6. What’s next?

More greeting cards! I'm interested in delving deeper into life experiences that I think many of us go through but don't necessarily talk about (e.g. grief and loss, mental illness, infertility, imposter syndrome) - I think there is a lot of value and comfort to be found in hearing shared stories about what are often really difficult and isolating experiences.  I'd also like to experiment with other mediums and products, maybe create limited edition apparel or art prints.  The fun - and sometimes scary - part is not knowing what's next.

Struggle Bus Greeting CardNotes to SelfDrink All the Things
See more of her work here!

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