Today we’re excited to introduce our next featured girl, illustrator and brunch connoisseur Lily Qian. A talented creative in more ways than one, it’s hard not to fall in love with Lily’s lovely work and even lovelier smile. She’s an amazing artist, caring friend and endlessly curious… she seriously gives wanderlust a whole new meaning! Needless to say, we adore following her city adventures from NYC to coveted destinations around the globe. We’ve learned a lot from her travels and we were excited to meet her a little closer to home at her apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In her first diary post, she shared a look into her BK nook and why she thinks this borough is perfect for embracing your inner-creative

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Hi Lily! We’re excited to have you share your city adventures with us. To start, tell us a more about your life in NYC and how you got started.

My name is Lily Qian. I am an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. When I am not drawing and painting, I enjoy spending time with my close friends, having time for myself, and taking care of my kitty Walnut. My best friends are my family. Although some of us have moved out of New York, we still text and talk almost everyday to stay in touch and support each other as much as possible. You can usually find me learning new hobbies, spending time out doors, traveling, reading, learning to skateboard, sailing, practicing yoga, playing music, working on textile arts, learning languages and much more. There’s not enough time in the day to do everything I enjoy, especially living in NYC. Right now I’m just hoping to get a day off this month.

follow the girl lily qian brooklyn

Brooklyn is known for hosting a very distinct group/creative set of people – what are your thoughts on this and what is one thing you think we need to be addressing more about this borough?

I love Brooklyn! I spent my twenties having a great time in Williamsburg. Our friends all lived in the neighborhood – mostly fashion designers, architects, musicians, and artists. Back then there were only a few bars shops and restaurants that rotated in popularity, so you ended up seeing the same circle of people all the time. Now the neighborhood is so popular it feels just like the city. I enjoy spending time in Greenpoint these days. I still have best friends who live 10 minutes away in Greenpoint and South Williamsburg. We know where everything is, it’s easy to make last minute plans together, and it’s comforting be so close to each other and to the city. I do love exploring Red Hook, Dumbo, Fort Green, Prospect Park, Coney Island… even Bushwick. Brooklyn is huge! Every neighborhood has so much to offer. My friends I have tried to devise plans to stop gentrification because we love it here so much and it’s sad that we’re all slowly getting priced out of the neighborhoods we love. Ok forget what I said, it’s awful here! Stay out.

Lily’s Diary:

follow the girl lily qian
Friday, February 12, 2016, 9:00am

As an artist, talk to us about the relationship between New York City and creativity – how do you think art makes a place feel like home?

I knew I wanted to live in New York City every since I was a little girl, not only to pursue a creative career but also to have place that truly feels like home. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. in Northern Virginia, which is a great place to live if you’re not a creative professional. Had I not moved to NYC originally for fashion design, I would not have met key people in my life who encouraged me to pursue my true passion in illustration. This is the only city where l can truly be myself and not have to conform or feel like a foreigner. I thought about moving to Berlin a few years ago, but the idea of starting over and leaving the connections I have built here at this point of my life does not make sense. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now if I didn’t live here. Perhaps later in my life and career path, but for now I love and appreciate the friendships, opportunities and experiences this city has given me.

follow the girl lily qian brooklyn

Check back tomorrow as Lily gives us a tour of her new art studio…

Photos by Bridget Badore for OVERT NYC