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Life & Work with Fiona Lu

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

Hi Fiona, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I have always known I loved to draw since I was little. It was something that came to me very naturally. I studied in classical drawing and painting for a while without knowing where it would take me. In high school I started to watch animated films randomly including Mary and Max, UP, Father and Daughter… etc. And they completely blew me away. I was amazed by what animation had achieved visually, but more importantly, I realized how powerful a good story could be. Since then, the seed had been planted. I wanted to become a storyteller that connects and resonates with people.

I moved to New York after high school to receive my bachelor degree in animation at School of Visual Arts. After graduation, I was very lucky to have the opportunities to work with several independent animators such as Bill Plympton and Signe Baumane. And then, I started to work on animated TV shows for major platforms including Netflix, Adult Swim, et cetera. Now I have started my graduate program at USC and shifted my career focus to storytelling.

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?
When I first told my parents that I wanted to make animation for my entire life, they were not so supportive as they are now. They never thought of it as a career choice and had their doubts. It felt a little stressful at the time but I knew at the bottom of my heart that it was not an impulse but my passion of life. So I worked really hard and proved them little by little that I could do it and do it well. Now they have become much more supportive. I’m thankful for their understanding and the chance to stand by my own choice and prove myself.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a story artist and illustrator.

I used to be a background artist for animation. I had the opportunities to work on several animated TV series for major platforms including Netflix, Adult Swim, et cetera. I’ve worked with the most amazing artists in the industry and I continued to learn during working. Now I’m in the second year of my graduate program at USC with a focus in storytelling and series development. I want to tell stories that emotionally connect with people and resonate with their life experiences. Imagination is also an important factor in my storytelling. Animation is well suited for depicting unexpected extraordinary events and I want to take full advantage of such a medium. I’m willing to explore and be strange in the world of animation and that is what fascinates me the most.

I also enjoy creating illustrations during my spare time. I have done some work for The Washington Post’s Brand Studio. It helps me to flex my drawing muscles and be more adventurous about how to compose an image. I would also try out different mediums and mix them together to explore new visual styles. I think that also contributes to my animation from another perspective.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I believe that good luck comes along when you work hard enough. I have had struggles each step along the way but I was awarded opportunities that I deserved. But I’m always thankful for what I have —- my family, my partner, my friends, my mentors… It’s extremely luck for me to have these care and support along my path.

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Fiona Lu

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