Today we’d like to introduce you to Cecilia Chang Lee.
Cecilia, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Over the last decade, I’ve met many designers who grew up fully immersed in the artistic life. Many of my friends in the industry have always known they wanted to work in the creative field- they started drawing from a young age, and/or attended art classes. But I had no clear direction until the end of high school. Sure, I attended a performing arts magnet, played sports, ran for student government and dutifully took the SATs multiple times. I even engaged in all activities parents claim put you on the path to a lucrative future. But when it came time to select one of four UC Schools I had gotten in to, I totally froze. I had no clue what I wanted to do in college. I was scared that I’d waste tons of money on tuition and at the end of the day, I’d walk away with a degree I didn’t even want.
So, with no real plan, I decided to attend Santa Monica College and try to major in Dance. While taking general education courses, I enrolled in a drawing class to meet an Arts requirement. The class was a basic one that taught drawing in perspective, form and light/shadow, etc. Much to my surprise, I found myself falling in love with drawing. I was even more surprised when my instructor also noticed my passion. He recommended I take some extra classes at another prep academy to build a portfolio to apply to the Art Center College of Design. Several months later I did, and miraculously I got in! After so much of my life wandering, trying to find out where I fit in, I ended up lucking into a place that helped me find a home.
At Art Center, I focused on mastering drawing, painting, design, and animation. I graduated with an Illustration degree in 2012 and started working at a small Motion Graphics Studio in Venice called Prologue with title designer Kyle Cooper. After that, I freelanced at different studios in the Motion Graphics industry and picked up more technical skills like Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D. Currently, I am a Motion Designer and Art Director at Brand New School LA.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
As a Motion Designer, I have to be a bit of a chameleon of design. Advertising trends are constantly changing and brands are always looking for the next big hit. What worked in a commercial five years ago may look outdated today. Conversely, what worked in a film sequence ten years ago could still work today due to the strong, timeless nature of the design. My job is to be a problem solver and tailor any design to any brief that will work in the context of the brand. This includes finding new or innovative ways to achieve certain looks as well as figuring out how to achieve them within reasonable real-world constraints.
My personal work somewhat differs from my studio work. I’m always looking for new skills to add to my arsenal, so the process is more scattered and the look is constantly evolving. I mostly utilize skills and programs that I learned during my professional career but love to add new things to the list. Sometimes it works out, many times it doesn’t, but there is so much fun in failure as well as success. Making personal work is a great outlet for ideas that may be too out there for clients. And I learn something new every time I do this, so that really helps me in multiple aspects of my creativity.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
There’s an awful stereotype out there that peddles the idea that artists are financially unsuccessful or that only a select few can really make it. But art and design, in some kind of form, are completely intertwined in all aspects of every day life. Someone had to design that billboard in front of your apartment, the car you drive every day, the graphics in that movie you saw yesterday and even the landscaping in that museum you love visiting. As an artist, I believe that it’s up to us to find that niche that you love and turn it into a successful and happy career. If you produce great work and are passionate about doing it, the money and success will just naturally follow.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can check out my film and commercial work on my portfolio at www.ceciliachang.tv. Unfortunately, most of my professional work adheres to strict Non-disclosure Agreements so I can’t post many projects I produce. But there are still some things up there!
I also post regularly on my Instagram account @cecibunny. Follow me to keep up with the latest updates 🙂
- Website: http://www.ceciliachang.tv/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cecibunny/
Bio photography shot by Lisa Chen