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Inka Mathew Interview

Indonesian born and Texas based-graphic designer Inka Mathew lends her creativity to a variety of projects. Whether Mathew is freelancing, delving into the quirky side projects, or designing a clothing line, she is always in her element.

Who are you?

I’m Inka Mathew, a graphic designer based in Sugar Land, Texas.

What do you do?

I am freelancing at the moment under the name of Green Ink Studio. In my spare time, I do a personal project called “Tiny PMS Match” in which I match everyday little objects to their Pantone colors.

I have a book that’s going to be published in Spring 2016 based on this project. I also recently started a clothing line called 139Made with which I’m trying to spread awareness of human-trafficking.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is a country full of diverse culture, art, patterns, and colors. It definitely influenced my design, style preferences, and my love of colors.
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When did you take your first big risk in life?

I would say the first big risk I took was when I came to the United States in 1991 to study Graphic Design. I was 19 and fresh out of high school. I landed in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, without knowing anybody there.

After surviving lots of snow and one semester with broken English, I transferred to Philadelphia to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts at Tyler School of Art.

Computers were not as advanced as they are today. We were taught to do things in the old-fashioned hands-on way. And I loved it! Over at Tyler, I developed a passion for logo design which I continue to have.

After graduating, I came to San Francisco and lived there for 11 years. I met my husband there, got married, and moved to Sugar Land, Texas.

Looking back, I feel grateful I took that first big risk of pursuing Graphic Design degree in the US. It was the right path for me.

Why have you persisted with the path you’re currently on?

I love graphic design. It is a part of who I am. Designing is one of the things that feeds my mind and soul. I have been working in the design field for about 18 years now. And I’m going to do so for as long as I can.

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Who is someone you’d love to work with, but can’t?

That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it. But in general, I would love to work with a client who has a great vision and taste for their products accompanied by a suitable budget. It is a rare combination.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on three things at the same time: my freelance design business, my upcoming book on Tiny PMS Match project, and my clothing line 139Made.

Aside from work, I’m also a wife and a mom. I have two small children. It’s a lot of juggling, but so far I think I haven’t dropped the ball. I think it’s because my husband helped me make sure that I didn’t drop the “family ball.”

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Who are a few people in your field that have influenced you?

I have many, mostly my contemporary peers. To name a few: Gardner Design, Jay Fletcher, Nathan Yoder, Jessica Hische, Marco Goran Romano, Studio Muti, Ryan Hamrick, and many more. The list will be too long to write here.


What do you think is your biggest success so far?

I have two big successes, if I may. My first success is being able to do what I love, using my full talents. I am doing exactly what I was created for.

My second success is my family. My husband and our two kids are the reason my first success becomes even more meaningful. My perspective of the meaning of success has changed over the years. I think I understand it now, finally.

Written by Breanna Muir