Interview with Hungry Artist NY: Justin Wu
While attending the Hamptons Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to interact with many well known influencers. Upon arriving at the Southampton Arts Center, I met Justin Wu. Justin Wu refers to himself on social media as Hungry Artist NY. Wu calls himself a NYC food illustrator and content creator and is based in Astoria, Queens. He loves to eat food, share new restaurants, and skillfully draw the food he eats. I was so grateful that we met because we share a passion for talking about and eating food. We both have instagram accounts dedicated to food and love to try new places and cuisines. After hearing his general introduction, I decided to interview him briefly about the origins of Hungry Artist NY and the connection between food and art.
Origins of Hungry Artist NY
Justin Wu (aka Hungry Artist) was born and raised in Queens and ate many diverse foods growing up. In addition, Wu has loved drawing ever since he was a kid and is proficient with mediums such as oil paint, pastel, charcoal, pencil, and watercolor. Wu also taught himself digital illustration and loves it. Wu came up with the idea for Hungry Artist NY at the beginning of the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, Wu wanted to find a way to support small local businesses during this tough time. He came up with the idea of illustrating food around the city to focus on featuring local businesses. Wu explains, “In the beginning of the pandemic, I was doing it on a fundraising capacity, but now I just partner up with restaurants to spread the word about different dishes, chefs, and local vendors. It’s been a lot of fun.” With the creation of Hungry Artist NY, Wu found a way to combine his two biggest passions: art and food.
Food As An Art Form
During our discussion, Wu made the profound claim that food is art. Wu explained, “Food ties in all types of senses. You can smell it, you can taste it, it’s tangible, and you can feel it. It really inspires my heart because of how vibrant different ingredients and flavors. Also, when I hear someone else’s story, it really gives me a different perspective about what I’m actually eating. Overall, this inspires my illustration style.” Food allows a person to experience sight, smell, touch, taste, and to hear what they are eating. Furthermore, food can be experienced at a deeper level than most people experience traditional art forms, such as paintings. Wu’s artistic vision has helped him to adapt a deeper perspective on food.
Wu’s Perspective On “Exotic” Foods
As a fellow foodie, I was curious about the most adventurous foods Wu has eaten. Wu took a long time to consider this question and provided me an insightful answer. He first told me about his experience eating crickets: “The served them with Nutella. They were just really crunchy.” Following this, Wu explained, “Food that is totally normal in some cultures may seem exotic to you, but that’s only because you didn’t grow up eating that. It may seem strange to eat some things, such as crickets, but it is a normal part of many cultures.” Wu’s point is that we shouldn’t label food that we didn’t grow up eating as “exotic”. Instead, we should acknowledge how foods differ depending on the culture and not judge a food just because it isn’t traditional in your own culture.
How To Support Hungry Artist NY
Wu sells his artwork in many different forms on his website. His merchandise includes canvas prints, paper prints, mugs, and stickers. In addition, 10% of all proceeds on his website are donated to NYC restaurant relief. Go check out his artwork and merchandise at https://hungryartistny.com. Furthermore, you can find Hungry Artist NY’s latest eats and art on Instagram.