That’s “hello” in Lao. Nice to meet you. My name is Nor (naw) Sanavongsay (să·nă·vōng·saī) and I’m a Product Designer / Story Artist living in the San Francisco Bay area. I enjoy combining storytelling to all the products I create. I design, make illustrations and write a blog about it all.
I am trained in both design and programming of interactive media. I’ve published many award winning projects for great companies like Workday, Barnes & Noble College , Sears and Encyclopædia Britannica just to name a few. Off-hours, I write children’s books such as Xieng Mieng and Kiwi the Green Koala. I run Sahtu Press, a nonprofit publishing company with the mission to promote Lao literature to the world.
A long time ago….
It was the end of a civil war. My family are Lao refugees. We were sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Kingsport, Tennessee. That was the beginning of big changes to come in our lives. Our sponsors taught us many things about American culture, including baseball, but television made the most impact….
At the age of 6, I was completely glued to the TV set watching shows like Super Friends. They had an Asian character I could relate to. The first thing I did when we got a VCR was to pause the recorded show and trace the screen. Samurai, from Super Friends was my favorite to trace. I was hooked on drawing superheroes and drew all the time.
As an avid TV consumer, I was caught by an ad to draw a turtle head to enroll in a home study course from the Art Instruction School of Minnesota—better known as the Draw Me! School. My dad enrolled me after countless hours of begging.
I went on to study illustration at Northern Illinois University, emphasis in comic art but then the web hit me. It was 1994, the world wide web was the new glue. I was caught up in learning how to make my own website to showcase my art. I ended up with a degree emphasis in Electronic Media. I credit my dad again for introducing me to the computer and learning to make digital art for the first time on Microsoft Paint. I have been making digital art and design ever since I graduated in 1998.
I haven’t stopped learning art. I take online classes and share my skills with others. If you’d like to connect, send me a message or visit me at any of the social media platforms under @ArtofNor.