Welcome to COSIGN, where I’ll present a group of fresh and invigorating talent that does more than just add to the conversation of who’s next, they advance it! There’s something intangible they possess. It’s more than just hustle. This collective group simmer on the edge of fame and notoriety not only because of their skill and ambition, but because they did more than just wish on a star
If you want to talk about hustle, you’re obviously talking about 26-year-old Sue Tsai. The Queens cutie and I first chopped it up two months ago, right after Meek Mill and Rihanna Instagramed one of her pieces, catapulting the jewelry designer, artist and entrepreneur to new heights. Just two months later, Tsai’s newest portrait, a heartless woman with mint-green hair winking as she looks over her shoulder, is the official cover art for Wale‘s newest single “Bad” All of this in just two months!
The soft-spoken down-to-earth business woman attributes her success to her marketing ability. With a Twitter following of nearly 13,000 (everyone’s favorite Jew, Aubrey Graham is among the flock) and close to 52,000 Instagram fans, Tsai is well on her way to world domination. We reconnected and talked about Angela Simmons and Jim Jones rocking some of her jewelry and how it feels when some of her fans tattoo her art work. Peep our convo and remember, the next time you hear someone say they’re on their grind correct ‘em and say “Nah, yo, you’re on your Sue Tsai.”
What ignited your interest in art?
Both my parents were always creative. When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my imagination so I started with jewelry. Jewelry was first. I started it in 2007. All my jewelery is handmade. I just stumbled upon painting a year ago.
Rihanna put a piece you did on her Instagram page. That’s crazy! What was the inspiration behind your piece?
The piece that Rihanna put on her Instagram page is called “Love Saves” I had the image in my head and I started it at 11 o’clock at night and worked all throughout the night. Then 8a.m. the next morning, my mom called to tell me my aunt, who I was very close with and who was going through some things, committed suicide. The reason why I call it love saves is because love should be able to overcome everything we’re going through.
The “Love Saves” piece came from your “Heartbreak on Canvas” collection. Explain the meaning behind “Heartbreak On Canvas”
“Heartbreak on Canvas” is about empowering women who are going through a difficult phase in their life, especially in love. I wanted my collection to be powerful and strong and I decided to showcase that through my painting.
Not too shortly after Rihanna noticed your work, Wale did too. Tell me how your latest piece became the cover for Wale’s new song “Bad”?
I knew Wale and some of his people and I heard that song when his mixtape “Folarin” came out and I was inspired by it. I ended up painting while listening to the song over and over. I posted it on Instagram, I showed him and a few hours later it was the official cover and then we released it on iTunes a couple weeks after that.
That’s a good look! That’s like the greatest of looks.
[Laughs] Yeah, I was so excited. I’m so happy.
My friend got one of your pieces tattooed to her arm and I’ve seen a few people do the same. That’s gotta be crazy. How does that feel?
It’s so surreal. The first time I saw it, I was like ‘Oh my God. You love it so much to have that with you for the rest of your life!?’ It’s such a crazy feeling to see what I love to do and people sharing that same view, even more so that they would put it on their body. You see nail art all the time, and that’s cool too but to see a tattoo… I have an archive of them. I’ve seen probably 50 already.
Well my friend, she’s gotta be 51 because I saw her tattoo and I was like ‘Yo, I just interviewed the artist, she’s super cool.’
[Laughs] Yeah, I saw that. It’s so crazy.
You’ve also had success with your jewelry? How did you feel when Jim Jones wore one of your pieces?
That was a great feeling. I met him in a club and gave him the bracelet and I said ‘You’re probably not even going to wear it.’ And then the next day he called, said he loved it and ordered some more pieces. It’s great when a celeb helps you out or wears your stuff because they want to and not because they’re getting paid to.
What’s the process you go through while creating your jewelry?
My jewelry is handmade in the studio. I don’t create my jewelry until I have a sure, clear idea of what I want to do. Some of the pieces take 15-20 minutes others can take hours. I have a porcelain collection that took weeks to make.
What’s the hardest part about being a business woman?
For me, it’s because I’m such a perfectionist. All my friends ask me why don’t I just hire an assistant. Well it’s because no one is going to do it better than I can do it myself because no one is going to care as much as I do.
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