Today we’d like to introduce you to Beverly Chen.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Sure thing! Like many people who go into creative fields, I fell in love with drawing at a young age. When I think back to my childhood, I have clear memories of copying Disney VHS covers, creating my own illustrated books by stapling drawings together and coloring everything (and anything) with fruit-scented markers. Though neither my mom or dad had creative backgrounds, they recognized that I had a keen interest in art and encouraged that by enrolling me into classes.
Drawing was a consistent part of my life until high school when I stopped taking art classes altogether, due to the rigorous schedule of school. At the same time I was phasing out art, I focused heavily on academics in hopes of gaining the credentials needed to enter a good college.
One day, to celebrate after finishing a huge final my sophomore year, my friend and I decided to walk to the mall with the plan to catch Pixar’s Up. Simply put, I was floored by what I saw. The combination of “story with heart” and outstanding visuals moved me, so much so that walking out of the theater there was only one thought in mind: I have to find a way to be a part of something like that! From there, all original plans to grind myself academically were scrapped and I began to focus on applying to art school. The next year and a half was dedicated to obsessive researching and nonstop drawing and painting.
There were two programs I was lucky enough to attend during my junior and senior year that really left an impact on me: Ryman Arts, an organization honoring Disney Imagineer Herbert Ryman that provides free art classes to high school students, and the Animation Program at CSSSA, a summer program held at CalArts in which students are exposed to the legacy of animation and taught basic animation techniques to create their own short. Both programs not only provided inspiring teachers and instruction for developing foundational skills, but also gave me confidence that the path I was taking was valid and possible. Being able to work alongside a peer group who also shared similar dreams was invaluable and I’m really grateful I was able to find such programs during this period in my life. In the end, I was able to put together a portfolio and decided to study Illustration at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Since then I’ve graduated and now working as an artist at an indie game studio. Outside of the entertainment arts work that I do, I love toys, children’s books, and editorial illustration.
Please tell us about your art.
Currently, I am an artist at a game studio called Night School Studio creating characters, props, environments, and more. My job involves coordinating with the designers, engineers, and 3d artists to create the best work possible while being mindful of technical requirements. I love the collaborative aspect of my job and it has been really fulfilling to see the results of our combined efforts as we inch closer to our game’s release. We’re currently working on the studio’s 2nd original project called Afterparty, a game in which you play as two recently deceased college buds who must outdrink Satan to escape Hell. It’s a crazy game, and I can’t people interact with what we made!
Outside of my job, I enjoy creating things that are direct to my personal tastes and inspired by all the things I love or am currently interested in (at the moment I’m exploring folk crafts and graphic novels!). They’re joyful for me to make and I just hope they also bring others a bit of joy too. I look forward to continuing to make things that hopefully resonate with others, whether it be in the form of animation, games, sculptures, or illustration.
We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Yes, I think that tends to be the case especially if you are a freelancer working from home. In terms of work environment, I’ve had friends who found studios in spaces that house multiple artists. In terms of networking and creating new connections, conventions and clubs could be the way to go since you can interact with a large number of artists at one time. Some such events could be gallery openings, conventions like DesignerCon, WonderCon, CTN, Lightbox Expo, painting workshops, sketch clubs, etc. Once you start consistently showing up to things like these, people tend to remember a familiar face and connections happen naturally.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can check out what I’m working on with Night School Studio here:
Web – http://nightschoolstudio.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/nightschoolers
Instagram – @nightschoolstudio
Or find my personal work on my website and Instagram:
Web – bevchen.com
Instagram – @bvrlychn
Profile photo by Papa Chen.