February 10, 2017

Pride, Work and Necessity of Side Projects: Esther Fan & Olivia Park—Sad Asian Girls



What are you working on—on the side?

Esther & Olivia: Our side project is Sad Asian Girls, where we make activism-based projects about our experiences as East Asian femmes living in Western spaces.

Olivia: I am also working on a photo series in which I’m documenting Asian art school students who clearly use clothes and styling as an integral tool to express themselves and how that could relate to their artistic practice and upbringing.

Esther: I haven’t been working on any personal projects aside from SAG for a couple months now. I had an ongoing photography project in which I featured artists and musicians from the local Providence creative community which was neat, and allowed me to grow familiar with the creatives outside of our college campus. I turned some of the photos into photo books that I would give back to the artist shown in the books.

If it counts, at this moment, I occasionally do some freelance work for the collective Get Artists Paid, who aim to do exactly what their name suggests, and I am also a social media contributor for Philadelphia Printworks, a print shop/blog that is also activism-based.

How do you manage to work
on your side project(s)?

Olivia: I associate side projects with socializing. The chance that my collaborator is someone I want to hang out with is ~99%. I definitely see work as mostly play. If it’s too stressful, I’d rather just not do it. Collaborators who work well with me on something we care deeply about, and also get tacos afterwards, make my time worth it.

Esther: For some time, we were able to use assignments given to us in class as opportunities to work on SAG; we’d bend the objective so that it stayed relevant to both SAG and whatever it was the professor required. I think one also has to be deeply invested in a project to keep it ongoing; it started off as something that was important for us as an outlet for our frustrations, and later on, our increasing number of followers and supporters also helped motivate us to keep working on SAG.

Why have a side project?

Olivia: For me, side projects are an outlet to transform my greatest concerns or interests into form in a productive way.

Esther: If anything, I consider my side project to be my main work, and everything else that I need to do to live or to survive I consider to be “on the side.” I will always fully invest myself in any work that liberates me.

• • •

Diptych courtesy of Sad Asian Girls.

• • •

Read more about the joy of side projects.


This series, devoted to side projects, is delivered in association with Chicago creative agency 50,000feet—dedicated to helping brands and businesses soar.


Please consider supporting Design Feast
If you liked this lovingly-made interview, show your appreciation by helping to support my labor of love—Design Feast, which proudly includes this blog. Learn more.