Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?
My name is Serena Wu and I’m a New York based illustrator. I grew up in Queens with my family of four and have been living there since.
How did you start climbing?
I started climbing when my friend asked me to go to Brooklyn Boulders to try out indoor rock climbing. I was hesitant at first because I had a fear of heights but with the constant help and encouragement I got from friends, I was able to enjoy my time there and learn cool tips and tricks about climbing. It then became a race of who can climb higher grades the fastest among my friends and I. I’m still in last place but that makes me more determined to reach where my friends are at now.
How has climbing changed your life?
Climbing has become the biggest part in my life right now. At first I climbed casually to keep me active since I haven’t been to the gym since high school. I wasn’t confident enough that I would be able to reach the harder grades so I didn’t bother to go past V2’s. One day, a friend of mine persuaded me to try a V3. I got on the problem carelessly and ended up almost finishing the problem. The feeling of knowing I can send it if I tried harder gave me the confidence boost I needed to complete my first V3 that day. Ever since then, my determination grew to try my best no matter what and I’ve successfully been getting better and better at climbing. Also, the climbing community has been so nice to me and I’ve met such incredible people over the year. They have been my biggest supporters and have encouraged me to keep pushing past my limit. I’m grateful to have met such amazing people and to call them my friends.
What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?
Currently me and my friend have been working on a website to sell digital goods. So far it’s been me and him just designing all the products but we do plan on getting more designers on board so that I can have more time to work on my freelancing. I plan on growing a following on social media and sell my own art, as well as working with big companies to do collaborations with them.
Who or what inspires you?
The Japanese culture has a big influence on me as I grew up reading manga and watching anime. They appreciate the beauty of nature which is evident in many of their kimonos patterns and ink paintings. I also find nature beautiful so I draw a lot of inspirations from these. Another influence is the artworks done by James Jean. The fluidity of his art is so rich in details, I always catch myself finding something new even after months of having his artwork as my cellphone wallpaper. I think everyone should check out his work because it’s clearly indisputable as to why he’s such an amazing artist.