Young Guns 21: Jiaqi Wang

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 01, 2023

Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21

After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.

Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.

Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!

Illustrator & Animator


Brooklyn, New York


Suzhou, China


When did you first learn about Young Guns?

It was from someone who won Young Guns a few years ago. They posted their winning work showreel, and I thought it was super cool. So I did some research, and found out that many of the artists I admire are past Young Guns winners. This fancy fact made me really want to be a part of it. I thought, if I can win it, then I can probably be as cool as them 10 years from now.

"I did some research, and found out that many of the artists I admire are past Young Guns winners... I thought, if I can win it, then I can probably be as cool as them 10 years from now."

How did you end up in the creative field anyways?

I went to art high school, and after three years of traditional pencil art training, I was really excited to try something new. I studied graphic design in college and then animation for postgrad in London. The creative scene in UK is quite different from where I am from, because there is much more freedom to express yourself. I found my first internship in Italy with a studio called illo. They are a very small crafted team with an unique style based in Turin. They basically taught me everything I needed to know about animation, so now I have good taste in design. I moved to Los Angeles to work at Buck for a bit, and then I decided to freelance. When you work by yourself you become unafraid about being yourself– and that's when I really started making things for myself.

Congrats on the Win! What did you do this time that was different than two years ago?

I actually entered two years ago, and stopped at finalist. I was happy about it, and still thought it was really cool. But I am turning 30 this year, so I felt like I should give it one last try. Maybe I won this year because I understand myself a bit more, and I know how to express my voice stylistically through my work. I entered more animation projects this time. I always felt shy about sharing my animation, because I worked in one of the best animation studios, and the animators there are insanely good. But now I think it is a way of expressing a concept that is polished, but does not need to be perfect.

You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?

It all depends on my mood when I am making the work. I know it sounds random, but I do believe when I work in a happy and inspiring mood the work speaks for itself.

What was your reaction when you discovered that you won?

I was working at home, around lunch time. I scanned my email and saw WINNER in bold, and froze for a couple of seconds then shouted the news to my partner. I had a really big smile on my face for the rest of that day.

In what ways does your hometown and your current city inspire your creativity as an artist?

My home town is known for its gardens. There are a lot of geometric shapes and languages in the space, and I love it. New York is such a diverse city– the vibe here really keeps me going. I like people watching on the street, and drawing different characters to resemble them.

Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, who are the past winners you look up to and admire?

Oh, there are so many of them. Hattie Stewart (YG15); Tim Lahan (YG10); Max Guther (YG16); Jing Wei (YG15); and Olimpia Zagnoli (YG9). They know how to be playful and capturethe mood.

Name a brand who you would love to do a creative collab with — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!

One of my dreams is to make an Hermes scarf, because they are just so shiny and beautiful.

This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?

I hope I will be as passionate as I am now, and I will still be creating. And I hope I can make some furniture, and have at least one cat and one dog.

Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?

Hell, yeah!


IG: @jq.wan

Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!

Get tickets! It's party time!

The class of Young Guns 21



Fire + Fragility: Zuzanna Rogatty's YG21 Cube Design
Young Guns 21: Max Amato
Young Guns 21: Justin Au
Young Guns 21: Tess Ayano







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