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Check Out Holly Chiu’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Holly Chiu.

Hi Holly, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am currently an undergraduate at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena pursuing visual development. Previously, I studied graphic design at Cal Poly Pomona before transferring in 2019. My love for drawing goes way back – the very first memory I have is of me picking up a crayon and absolutely ruining my kitchen wall. Growing up, I would be constantly drawing on my homework, my tests, and on the desk. The teachers weren’t too keen at first, but they eventually gave up and accepted that I wasn’t going to stop. All throughout preschool to middle school, I was recognized as the artsy kid who, admittedly, probably should’ve focused less time on drawing and more on academics. Art had become a full-time hobby of mine, and I was happy with it. It wasn’t until I reached high school that I had to decide on pursuing art or choosing a ‘real’ career. So I spent most of high school and a little bit of college exploring more practical paths to pursue, but none of them felt quite right. Aching to bring back art into my life, I tried out graphic design. It was a nice breather to be immersed into art once again, but unfortunately I also didn’t feel this was the right choice for me. It wasn’t until I entered ArtCenter that I was introduced into animation in the art industry, and I instantly fell in love. If I wasn’t blessed with an unbelievably strong support system, I’m sure I would’ve never discovered this side of art. Now I am extremely content that I’ve found my greater calling in life, and I’m working everyday to go further on my artistic journey.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I wouldn’t say the road has been completely smooth. There was a period in my life where I stopped drawing completely because I was tied to my own expectations of success. I imagined success as having a stable income and gaining a sense of accomplishment for myself, and at the time I was too naive to believe art could supply me with that. Now that I’ve opened my eyes more to the possibilities in the art industry, I realize that even now I am more content with myself than I’ve ever been. Art has become more than a hobby to me, it’s become a soulful bond that nourishes my mind and heart everyday.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m currently working towards my Illustration degree at ArtCenter, with an emphasis on entertainment arts. I create illustrations that are more geared towards visual development, including environments, props, layout, and characters. Initially, I had a mindset very geared towards character design, but shortly thereafter I discovered my love for environments. Though I still love designing a multitude of characters, my heart will remain with painting backgrounds dealing with lighting, props, and especially color. Seeing my growth in versatility, whether it be pertaining to medium, style, or subject matter, I can say I’m proud of the artist I’ve become and who I’m continuing to grow into.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Don’t be afraid to trust yourself. If I had listened to my innate passion as a child, I might have begun my artistic journey sooner rather than being deterred by the expectations and limitations the world had ingrained upon me. Though I wouldn’t change anything in my life now, I want to help others realize how rewarding it is when you follow your calling in life. Following my dreams has absolutely completed me and made me the best version I could possibly be.

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