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Conversations with Emily Hromi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Hromi. 

Hi Emily, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio, I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) and graduated in 2014 with a BFA in Biomedical Art. I worked briefly as a medical illustrator in Cleveland before moving to Grand Rapids soon after graduating from CIA. While I continued to work as a medical illustrator in a fairly small capacity by taking on clients here and there, my career truly began when I was hired at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) in mid-2014. I started out as a producer for the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium within GRPM and was eventually promoted to a management position. After about five years, I decided it was no longer the career trajectory for me; I decided to abruptly change jobs and do what I’d originally set out to do, officially founding Studio Hromi LLC in the summer of 2019. I now operate my one-person business full-time and provide medical illustration, design, and general creative services for the healthcare industry and other clients worldwide. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It was a challenge to figure out exactly what I wanted to do in the first place, having moved to a brand-new city straight out of college. I obviously wanted to be a medical illustrator, but there weren’t any specific places hiring those positions, and at 22 I didn’t feel that I had the connections or the confidence to be self-employed right away. The planetarium producer job was the first job I could find in Grand Rapids that seemed like a reasonable fit. 

The biggest struggle was the realization that I was no longer happy at that job and making the tough decision to upend my life and leave. Somehow during the course of my five years at the planetarium, my job and my personality, and my perceived self-worth had all become inextricably linked, and so when I chose to quit my job it felt as though I was rejecting those other things along with it. 

Planetariums and medical illustration are both extremely niche industries with specific skillsets and job opportunities, and they were the only things I knew. When I was faced with the prospect of making a career change and there were no actual jobs in my city for either of those industries, freelancing seemed like the only option. Leaving the comfort of a full-time job to be self-employed is scary no matter the circumstance, but I finally felt ready; I planned very carefully and made sure I was set up for success before taking that leap, and I had a lot of support along the way. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m primarily a digital artist, both professionally and creatively. For my medical illustration projects, I work with a combination of vector art and digital painting. When I’m drawing for fun, it’s more of the same techniques, but I tend to just illustrate things that interest me (those “things” right now are houses, plants, anatomy, and astronomy) with the hope that other people find it interesting too! 

In general, my style is pretty minimalistic. I’m really attracted to the simplicity of an object centered on a clean white background, and I love compositional geometry (lately I’ve been framing a lot of my illustrations within a circular motif). I try to keep my medical illustrations as clear and concise as possible (they are teaching tools, after all), and that artwork tends to be characterized by a bright, limited color palette; the illustrations are scientifically accurate, but often heavily stylized rather than photorealistic. 

This is more of a general attribute, but I’m proud of my ability to follow through on things, which does directly translate to a firm commitment to my clients and collaborators, which I believe is what sets me apart from others. Especially within the medical illustration industry, there is such a huge sea of highly skilled artists out there offering the same services that I offer, and some have been doing it for decades longer than I have. But the way I approach my interactions and obligations is uniquely me. 

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
I’m happy when I get to share with people. My day-to-day work can be very solitary, but I love the opportunities I get to interact and share with my community of local artists, to discuss art and support each other and contribute to social progress. 

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Rachel Britton
Studio Hromi LLC

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