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Meet Jonathan Hsu of Jhsuart in Pasadena

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

Jonathan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a professional concept designer and artist currently in school at Art Center College of Design. I think most of us have had an interest in art as a child. For me, it has always been something I kept on going back to through elementary school and middle school, but I never really considered it as something I could move forward with my life because of the nature of my upbringing. Growing up as a second-generation Asian American, the values and career choices presented to me were understandably ones based off of stability and potential. When I would doodle or draw in sketchbooks or on pieces of paper, my parents would promptly escort them to the nearest garbage can, discouraging me from engaging myself with art. They wanted me to go a traditional route of science, math, or law. It wasn’t until high school did I realize that art was something that would always stick with me, constantly eating away at the back of my head screaming at me to make something. At this point, I decided to refute my parents on all that they taught me to do.

After much yelling and screaming, I realized the only way to prove to my parents my commitment to the visual arts was to get results. The way I decided to do this was to get into the best art university I thought possible, and show my parents that I had the dedication to pursue what I wanted to do. After some convincing, I decided to take a portfolio prep school which eventually got me admitted into Art Center College of Design. At that point, my parents decided to do their best to support me, even though it was still not the best choice for them. I felt the happiest I’d ever been, free to do what I loved doing.

And here I am now, still in school. Learning and following the path of art and design is definitely not an easy one. Juggling school with work and relationships is definitely tough, but because I fought to be here I have to give it everything I’ve got to make it all work out. Whether or not “success” lies in the future for me, at the moment, I’m satisfied with where I am, and I’m glad I made the choice to be here today.

Has it been a smooth road?
Apart from my earlier years, my struggles mainly have to deal with the sense of need for success that was instilled into me and grew up with. Don’t get me wrong, that sense has propelled me and motivated me to work harder than I ever would have without it, but at the same time it can be toxic and damaging to a person’s mental well being. This is especially prevalent with the nature of creatives and the creative process, where taking your time, and doing things outside of work can have the most impact on what you produce. My sense of pride and need for justifying the path that I have taken is something that I still deal with today, and I think that it’s important that it’s realized so it can be dealt with.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a professional concept designer and I specialize in visual storytelling and worldbuilding. As a visual designer, I feel that my willingness to research and try new experiences outside of actual visual design influence my work in a way that is unique to my work.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Pasadena is a good place for people like me. Because I am situated near L.A, there is a large amount of work that is available for concept artists. There are many game and film studios located in the L.A. area, so if someone is looking for possible opportunities this is one of the best places to be

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