The Founder : Eujin Kim Neilan
“You can have your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds at the same time!”
Follow Eujin @myuni_T
I am an artist, illustrator, and highly energized entrepreneur who founded and runs Uni-T. I received a MFA degree in illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and published 5 children’s books while raising my two children. I have earned many awards and recognitions as a visual artist/illustrator.
I started Uni-T in 2010 with a $800.00 investment, which allowed me to begin selling my own designs silkscreened by my hand onto fine T-shirts. Uni-T is a portrayal of my life seeking happiness and meanings, which sometimes can get lost in this busy world. Uni-T sounds like unity, which is the basic philosophy of my line of hand-printed T-shirts, but not very many people know that Uni is also my nick name from childhood!
When I am not creating I like to do antiquing, hiking, exercising and imagining. I love ocean, children, vintage items and boots!
“Neilan creates a mystical aura . . . upward-swirling brushstrokes that meld heaven and earth into a single realm."
— Publishers Weekly
For my Masters thesis project at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, I illustrated "In the Moonlight Mist" (not shown), a Korean tale published into a children's book.
In the Moonlight Mist and my second book, The Rabbit and the Dragon King, are both ancient Korean folktales, which I remembers as favorites from her own childhood. I call these two books her "childhood dreams come true," because to create them, I used images I had visualized as a young child.
I believes that the most rewarding aspect of being a children's book illustrator is the freedom to imagine new worlds from a child's point of view. I love facing the challenges each book brings and exploring different approaches. In The Best Winds, she uses an abstract style of painting to convey the movement of the winds and the emotions of the story. In contrast, the kites adorning these paintings are concrete constructions of balsa woods and rice paper.
“The most rewarding aspect of being a children’s book illustrator is the freedom to imagine new worlds from a child’s point of view.”
Imagine a Dragon consists of short tales from many different cultures of the world. The historical artistic styles of these cultures inspired my paintings for this project. I visit schools in Massachusetts, and my presentation is based on this book. For Fly Free!, my latest book, I sought a different artistic approach to complement the gentleness at the story's heart. As it so happened, her home was being remodeled, and in the chaos of construction she found my inspiration: the odd bits of plywood lying around the house. This unusual choice of canvas, in combination with the warm, earthy watercolor tones, brought this tender story of compassion to life.
I greatly enjoys visiting schools and considers it a privilege to interact with the children and get feedback from them. As a mother of two children, I have focused on building a program with educational value and parallels to their curriculum as well as inspiring the young artist.
“Students’ imagination and creativity are sparked by Eujin’s carefully constructed presentation. After the program, they are eager to create their own dragon!”
— Cheryl Nelson (Creative Arts and Sciences Committee Curriculum Resource Center)