Young Guns 16: Sally Deng

By Brett McKenzie Posted on Nov 01, 2018

Showcasing the incredible winners of Young Guns 16

After months of decisions, discussions and debate, The One Club For Creativity is thrilled to unveil the winners of Young Guns 16! These 30 art directors, illustrators, filmmakers, photographers and designers of all types stood above all in this career-making, globe-spanning portfolio-based competition.

Ahead of the Young Guns 16 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 15, we are shining a spotlight on the various superstars who will be honored that evening.

Sally Deng
Los Angeles, CA



What does becoming a Young Guns winner mean to you?

I never saw winning Young Guns as an obtainable reality. When I first realized how many artists I admired were past winners, I immediately went “Ah, shit” and proceeded to end any and all daydreaming of ever becoming one. My former professor and past winner, Brian Rea (YG3), thought I had potential and nominated me to enter. This was my first attempt entering, and I’m still a little in disbelief. All those hours spent in the studio agonizing over every minute detail in my drawings paid off!

It’s not easy to be a successful creative. What sorts of challenges have you encountered to get where you are today? 

I don’t consider myself to be a successful creative, not yet anyway. (I’m on my way!) That being said, I’m incredibly fortunate that the biggest challenges I’ve encountered have been ones set by myself and my own self doubt. The universe have bestowed me with the most supportive family and group of friends. They are integral in helping me get to where I am today. I know, I’m super lucky–please don’t hate me.

How did you decide what pieces to submit? Was it difficult to narrow it down to just six projects?

I first picked out pieces that were well received in past competitions like American Illustration. Then I chose the ones that resonated with me the most. It’s tough because I usually spend so much time creating my work that I often struggle to get an objective look at it. Good thing I have a studio mate.

Can you name any past Young Guns winners who you look up to, whose work you admire or are even inspired by?

Brian Rea. He’s the reason I’m even answering these questions right now!

What keeps you going, creatively speaking? What drives you and your work?

Survival. Creating art is the only thing I am capable of doing. I’m quite shit at everything else.

Now that you’re a Young Guns winner, what’s next?

Backpack the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal next year. It’s going to be brutal– I can’t wait! (laughs)

The Young Guns 16 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 15 in New York City. 





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