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Life & Work with Fiona Hsu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fiona Hsu.

Hi Fiona, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My interest in art-making started when I was encouraged to make paper dolls when I was a child instead of buying plastic toys. That was one the first memories of art that I still remember in my mind. Other than that, I also remember designing and making paper sculptures of flowers, animals, and holiday cards. Up until studying in UCLA as an undergrad, I was always discouraged to take art lessons by my mother since she would always say that assignments are the death of creativity. Thus I’m mainly a self-taught artist in traditional mediums such as oil painting, acrylic, watercolor, graphite and other drawing and painting mediums.

For fine art photography, I developed blazing curiosity and passion for photography during a recovery journey from a foot tendon surgery. I was in a cast and strapped in a wheelchair, so I was unable to freely move nor do the things I love–figure skating and art. At the time, I only had an old tiny laptop with me in which I started writing my own novels and short stories for fun and to help me escape the four walls of my bedroom where I was recovering. Creative writing sparked an overarching passion in storytelling, and as I was looking for inspiration one night, I stumbled across Brooke Shaden’s fine art photographs. Brooke’s works perfectly embody my constant desire to create and exist in imaginary landscapes, I was truly inspired and decided to teach myself photography and photo manipulation.

Later on, self-portraiture helped me overcome my shyness and taught me to truly love myself–both inside and out. Of course, practicing fine art photography involved a lot of time in exploring Adobe Photoshop. As I already had one foot in the digital art realm, I decided to go all in. I began practicing digital painting–character design, background design, and other visual development mediums–on my own, and before I knew it, I’m suddenly exploring 3D modeling, texturing, and rendering in Blender.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This journey was not smooth at all, self-learning is definitely challenging although the advancement of technology made a lot of information available on streaming sites such as YouTube. I could follow any pre-recorded tutorial, but ultimately it is me that has to figure everything out through my own first-hand experience. One of the biggest struggles in my journey I’ve encountered was when I started to diverge into the digital art realm, was access to software and tools. I was lucky enough that my father has a ten years old DSLR camera that he lent me to use, but I did not get any guidance on how to use it, thus I have to figure the settings on my own through trials and errors when I was taking self-portraits. In terms of photo manipulation, I started with a free software called before Adobe Photoshop. After one or two years into photography and photo manipulation, I discovered that the earliest version of Photoshop (Adobe Photoshop CS2) is free to download on Adobe’s site, and that’s when I started using it. It was until three years ago I finally had student access to the updated versions of Adobe Photoshop.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a fine artist and photographer! I’m currently working as a freelance digital artist and photo editor, and as a full-time undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in studio/fine arts and minoring in arts education, I’m also a figure skater at UCLA Figure Skating Team. At the moment, I’m a student at Emile Cohl Atelier in the background design program. In the spectrum of fine arts, art mainly revolves around the themes of complex emotions, imaginary narratives, and childhood imaginations in my life. I tell these storytelling concepts with the textures of quaint tales, which I wish to invite others to explore other meanings my art could And the mediums I’m currently most specialized in are drawing/painting and fine art photography. The thing I’m most proud of and what sets me apart from others is my ability to manage multiple passions of mine at once. An example is that I was practicing art, doing figure skating and solo ice dance, competing in piano competitions, playing cello, participating in youth symphony orchestra (rehearsals, concerts, international tours), and attending dance classes simultaneously in high school. Even in college, I’m still continuing my music practices, ice skating, and dance all at the same time as I am pursuing a major/minor degree and attending extra programs at another school. Handling these extra-curricular activities truly trained me to time manage exceptionally well and understand my capabilities in pursuing my passions.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
People can work with me and collaborate with me through contacting me via email! ( And people can support me by purchasing my original artworks, limited edition photography prints, photoshoot bookings, and commissioning art services from me, either through directly contacting me through my website/email or visit my student creator store at The Cubby (

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

The digital painting of UCLA building is part of a collaboration with UCLA GenRep1 where I’m given an interviewee’s response for an article.

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