Meet Vikki Chu: How she tells stories through pattern in our latest H&W Gives Back collection

Vikki Chu in her studio | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

We are delighted to collaborate with Vikki Chu on this very special collection. Vikki is an illustrator and designer based in Brooklyn, NY. An element of storytelling is always present in her work, regardless of the medium. For the inspiration behind this collection, Vikki selected two poems written by students participating in the non-profit 826 MSP's youth writing program. Always one to tell a story through her art, this project was the perfect fit. 25% of this proceeds from these patterns will be donated to 826 MSP as part of our H&W Gives Back program.

Vikki Chu's studio | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

Tell us about your background?

I'm originally from New Hampshire where I spent the first part of my childhood. My brother and I drew a lot growing up and I feel like it has always been a way for me to understand and connect to the world around me. I feel immensely grateful to be working creatively for a living now. Even on the rough days I still wouldn't want to do anything else. I love being able to tell stories and evoke emotions through pictures.

Cheetah's Garden Wallpaper | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

What was your design process like for these two patterns?

Once we had picked the poems, I started brainstorming on paper, just sketching out rough imagery that the poems inspired. There was so much to work with in the poems so this part was really fun. After a while sketching, certain images stood out and I started planning out some pattern repeats that centered on these images. I shared them with Aimee and Christiana who provided really concise and helpful feedback. We worked on some edits and discussed color possibilities, after which I started working on the finals. I usually paint with either ink or watercolor, and with this project I worked monochromatically for the traditional portion. I knew I would be altering the colors digitally and working monochromatically helps me focus better on the value and texture of the images. After the watercolors were finished I scanned the paintings and started arranging and coloring the elements digitally.

Vikki Chu's studio | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

How did you choose the poems that inspired your patterns?

This part was really hard because all of the poems were wonderful. I'm not a natural word-person so I was blown away by how creative and bold and wonderfully strange some of the poems were. Cheetah's Garden has a dream-like quality to it that really struck me. I wanted to visit this beautiful and dangerous garden that Cheetah and all the garden’s inhabitants protect.They all care for it and fill in for each other when the others can't-- It's a really beautiful idea! There was so much rich imagery in this poem and I wanted to get it all in there! Space Owl resonated with me because of its beautiful night time atmosphere. It evoked such a calm and peaceful place in my mind and I was excited to try to communicate that. Like Cheetah’s Garden, this poem to me is also about loving and protecting one's home and environment. I hope I did both stories justice.

Vikki Chu's studio | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

25% of proceeds from this collection will be donated to 826 MSP, a youth writing center for underserved youth in Minneapolis. What about their mission resonated with you?

I'm really impressed by 826 MSP’s work in addressing education inequity. They empower students to think and express themselves creatively, an area of education that is often sorely lacking. Being able to share one's ideas and stories is a foundational skill for healthy and expressive communication.

Space Owl Wallpaper | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

Where do you see this wallpaper being used?

I would love to see it in kids' rooms or nurseries! In a hallway would be really cool as well and I'm excited to see how people decorate around it and make it their own.

Vikki Chu's studio | Vikki Chu + Hygge & West

Hygge means comfort, coziness, and finding pleasure in life's simple moments. What represents hygge for you? How do you find or create it in your life?

Cold mornings at home in a sweater with a big cup of coffee, reading or drawing by the window. It's easy to lose balance with the stress of work and deadlines so I've been trying to take time out of the day to reset and do nothing.

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