Art Center College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Ping Zhu


7th Term

What was your background prior to attending Art Center?
I came to Art Center straight out of high school, but I had taken Saturday High classes that helped familiarize me with the College and its structure. I committed to getting accepted to Art Center after seeing a Graduation Show my junior year of high school. This was when I realized what careers were possible in art and design. I was impressed by the fact that these students could pursue a career telling stories through images. This is when I knew I wanted a career in illustration.

Why did you choose Art Center?
The work by the students was just so impressive, and I felt that it was really the school for someone who was going to be a professional in the field that they majored in. Other art schools seem focused on refining artistic skills, and post-graduation probably couldnít give you the same boost into the industry that Art Center does due to its ties to industry.

What has your Art Center experience been like?
Art Center is a big time management boot camp that helps you realize that the better habits you develop here, the better equipped you are for the real world. The biggest thing Iíve learned is that you alone determine how much you want to get out of your time here. Every term is a learning process.

How has your view of the role of art and design changed since coming to Art Center?
I learned much more about the importance of the history of illustration among other subjects. There are do many subtle aspects to design that can be easily overlooked in everyday life, and once you learn about them it brings a whole new appreciation and inspiration for any future work.

Whatís the most challenging aspect of studying art and design in general?
When I feel like I have drained all my creative juices, I feel the most frustrated and stuck in a funk. It takes the right inspiration to help me out of that ditch, and most times itís observing aspects of life that have nothing to do with art and design. It feels challenging at times to stay focused and find an equilibrium between what other people are telling you to do, and what your true passions are.

What do you hope to accomplish through your work?
To show that illustration is extremely flexible, and is and should be more than just pretty pictures.

How has attending Art Center impacted your work?
My work would not look as it does today at all if it werenít for the perfect mixture of instructors, friends and mistakes. Art Center has taught me more than I would have thought to learn in a college environment, including basic career skills and strong concepts for engaging an audience.

Ping Zhu graduated from Art Center in 2010.

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