Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, where did you grow up?
I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan before moving to Los Angeles when I was 14.
Q: Why did you choose to study at Art Center College of Design?
I knew that Art Center College of Design was going to be the best place for me to pursue my design career when I graduated from high school because I was inspired by the work coming out of the program. After spending four years obtaining my first degree from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program, I knew that Art Center could offer skills that I needed to become a much better designer.
Q: What was your experience at Art Center like when you started?
I remember very clearly that I was struggling big time when I started at Art Center because the workload was way beyond my expectation. The first term was very challenging because the amount of talent around me was a bit overwhelming. I wasn’t sure if I had what it takes to make it through.
Q: What was the most important challenge you faced? How did you overcome it?
The most important challenge that I encountered at Art Center was definitely taking the lead in a group project. I was a part of the first INLAB (Insight Lab), which was a new type of initiative at Art Center that brings together a group of students across a variety of fields of study. We had the awesome opportunity to create a vision for the retail experience for the super hip Parisian-based fashion and music label Maison Kistuné. It took several weeks for me to find a way to communicate with everyone who was involved in the project and make sure that I knew the strength of each creative participant in order to move forward. Of course there were a few bumps throughout the term. But I was able to stay calm and come up with strategies to keep the team together. I realized through this process that only takes one person to step up for the team to move the project forward. It’s not just about making decisions for the team. It’s the willingness to take responsibility that matters.
Q: An important ritual at the end of each term is the final presentation for each class. Sometimes, these presentations can be exhilarating. Is there any project that stands out?
One of the most memorable final presentations for me throughout my time at Art Center was Censored, a project I did in the advanced graphic studio class that was inspired by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. After designing a 200+ page book about the artist and his philosophy, I put together an installation composed of 400 cards representing 400 tweets by Ai Weiwei on the wall and invited people to interact with these messages. The final result was very interesting because it’s essentially a collaborative piece of work that reflected how people responded to Ai Weiwei’s words. Most people stopped in front of the installation for a few minutes to read the messages and then took away something they found inspiring. As suggested, anyone with a card can then share his/her message on Instagram with others, which eventually created a visual progression documenting how the installation evolved over time. Ultimately this project has turned into a platform that not only connected people with the artist, but with anyone who has interacted with the installation.
Q: Is there a school project, that you felt particularly passionate about? Please explain why?
Besides design, I’ve always had a passion for sports – especially basketball. I challenged myself to rebrand the Los Angeles Clippers because I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to explore how design can change the future of sports entertainment. From the moment fans arrive at the arena to watching the game to following up after the game—I wanted to shape the whole experience. I spent a great amount of effort doing the research, interviewing people who watch the game and those who don’t in order to figure out how design can potentially help more viewers to appreciate sports. I ended up with a whole set of components including small prints, large banners, website, mobile app, sports wear and spatial design concepts that visualize how fans might interact with the stats of the game and how they can enjoy the game from multiple perspectives.
Q: The Department of Graphic Design is a leader in transmedia education. Transmedia is important for us, because we believe that, in order to master the present, we must explore the future. How did transmedia help you in your professional life?
I strongly believe that transmedia education, a unique feature of Art Center’s Graphic Design department, helped me connect with some extraordinary opportunities after I graduated from school. Most companies that I interviewed with were not only looking for a good designer, but also someone who could help build a multi-disciplinary design team. I felt more confident when I talked to recruiters because of what I could offer.
Q: Do you think that the structure of the curriculum has helped you learn and master the skills needed for the real world?
Yes. In fact I believe that Art Center might have over prepared us for the real world because a lot of the things we learned in school are beyond expectations.
Q: On a personal level, what was the most important thing you’ve learned at Art Center?
Being able to express myself in a wide variety of mediums and being able to guide others. I found out that we learn the most through teaching and helping people. And I love doing it.
Q: What advice would you have for a student considering applying for admission? What should they know to get the best out of the Art Center experience?
Know what you’re passionate about and do something about it. If you don’t have one passion, then I would suggest that you travel around, read books that have nothing to do with your current interests, watch movies from various periods of time and find something that really inspires you.
Q: What are you doing now?
I’m currently working as a creative at the Google Creative Lab in San Francisco. I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such an inspiring team that creates art with cutting edge technology. The level of intensity is quite overwhelming here. On the other hand I’m having a lot of fun working with some of the brightest people. Things move around fast at Google and that motivates me to continue to learn and see what I can offer.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
I want to be able to inspire people. I would like to have the opportunity to lead a team and create user experience that makes a difference.
Q: What interests you now? Is there a book, an idea, a quote or something cool you want to share with us?
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
— Vivian Greene
Q16: Anything else you want to add about your experience at Art Center College of Design?
Have faith in yourself and be kind to others. You don’t need an excuse to help others and by helping others you’ll always learn something unexpected.
Type 3: Context
“Censored” is an installation inspired by the philosophy of Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei and how he communicates with his followers. The portrait of Ai Weiwei is composed of 400 cards that represent 400 Tweets from Ai Weiwei. Users interact with this wall of cards simply by taking away messages they respond to. As instructed on the back of the card, each person is invited to upload a photo of the installation via Instagram after removing a card in order to help record a virtual progress of how the entire piece evolves over time. The more people interact with the installation, the faster the message underneath the cards is unveiled to the public. This is a student project from Art Center College of Design.