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Check out Kirin Chan’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kirin Chan.

Kirin, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Most artists start drawing from a young age; I was no different. I would say I didn’t start taking art seriously until after graduating from high school in 2013, I was sort of lost. I went to a technical school and majored in Material Science & Engineering. It was something I thought I wanted to do, could’ve done, but also the complete opposite of art. Ultimately I found pursuing my dreams of drawing and painting for a living to be a more worthwhile struggle. We all have to struggle, and I found myself in a fortunate position to have another chance to choose which one I committed to.

I had heard of Art Center through relatives and family friends who were alum. However, that did not prepare me for the journey ahead. Art Center was the one and only school I applied to for college, My dream school. I spent all of my free time from then on working on my portfolio. High school was definitely not for me. I struggled in every class and graduated by the skin of my teeth. However, encouraged by everyone, I was optimistic about my chances and thought my portfolio would compensate for my poor grades. So, all of my theoretical eggs were thoroughly in one basket.

Months after, I receive a letter from Art Center saying I was not admitted.

I spent the next year waiting tables and continuously working on my portfolio. I sent in my admissions portfolio again for the Spring Term of 2014, rinse and repeat. I received another letter, again, I didn’t make the cut.

I felt a sting in my whole body, like the past year of my life was wasted. I manage to scrape myself together and realize I had time to apply to the Summer Term of 2014; It was cutting it really close. “I can make it,” I said, so I addressed some feedback from my night class teachers and sent it one more time.

The date people were getting acceptance letters came and went.


Classes started in two weeks, and I had received nothing,

I guess they couldn’t bother to send a rejection letter this time, I thought, But in the following days, I got a phone call from Art Center admissions. The lady said, “I have some good news, there wasn’t enough time to get this information to you through the mail, but you’ve been accepted into the Illustration program for Summer 2014.”

From then on, I always felt like my education was something precious, to be treasured.

I think this story has been one of the more important things to happen to me in my art journey. It forced me to take risks and learn from my mistakes, and not get caught up with anything but the finish line.

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?
My work is somewhat separated from my studio work and my personal work. My personal work has a graphic quality, with a priority in shape based design. It is mainly an outlet for me to flesh out fun ideas and entertain myself
and others.

I’m a Visual Development Artist at Dreamworks TV Animation by day, so a majority of my work involves making production art for a Netflix show. As a visual development artist, my job is to give the art director and showrunners options for what they want the environment to look like.

We start with the script, and the script will describe the setting, mood, and context, directly and through dialogue. With that information, I will do rough sketches, and paintings with variations in design, color, materials, etc. to best describe the scene.

There are 2D and 3D sequences; the 2D stuff is what you might consider traditional animation, with painted backgrounds and flat objects. 3D requires a different treatment where I’m designing the shapes the same way I would for 2D, but I need to show how they exist in 3-dimensional space. As well as applying for a photorealistic paint job. I’m responsible for everything in the set I’m assigned, props, color, texture, lighting, etc.

I’m fortunate to work in a small, close-knit group of talented designers and an art director I’ve learned volumes from. If I had a takeaway message in here it would be that there will always be someone better than you, so don’t get too caught up about it. And in this industry everyone around you has something you can learn from, As long as I’m living with that mentality I feel stronger as an artist and lifelong student.

The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
If you can do something else, do that first. And if you’re like me and can’t do anything else read below:

I’ve always felt like the calling to be an artist from an objective point of view is actually extremely selfish. We’re sacrificing a lot, time and energy that could’ve gone to family and friends, countless hours honing our craft. Sacrifices and risks are necessary to pursue our art. Coming to terms with that I think, is what it’s going to take to become successful, financially or otherwise.

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?
Unfortunately, most of my current work is under NDA, but you can view my personal work on Instagram or my website.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kirin Chan

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