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Meet Junwen Yu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Junwen Yu.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am a student at the University of Southern California. I come from a family with an engineering background, which taught me to be proficient with technology – so I guess that is why I have never been scared of using software to create. I studied physics before I transferred to animation. It has always been my passion to draw something and create something from imagination. The science is formulaic, but art is unique and unbounded. Only you can create this kind of work. No one else can replace you. This makes me feel meaningful. I think that is the reason why I chose art as my career.

I tried live-action before, but directing and talking with actors is such a hard job for me. The outcomes are always different from what I envisioned. Therefore, I transfer to animation.

I think my strong will to create my worlds and stories allowed me to explore many majors and let me find where I belong. At the same time, I have a habit of doodling characters in my notebook as a way of entertainment and relaxation. Drawing always provides me consolation when I am down. I think creating something is very helpful to a person’s mental health and life.

Please tell us about your art. What do you do/make/create? How? Why? What’s the message of inspiration? What do you hope people take away from it? What should we know about your artwork?
I make 3d animations and motion graphic designs. I also want to try concept art in the future. I use Maya, c4d, Houdini, Mari, substance painter and other software to create. I think each software has its specialized field, and to make an integrated 3d animation, you need all the programs. I am a self-learner, I would envision what I want first and then search for the methods to achieve it, which most likely achieved via computer graphics program. In this process, I would master the software automatically.

My films and art are based on my personal experience. Most time in my life, I lived in a city, and I would always go out alone at night. I would notice how beautiful and somber the city felt lit by artificial light. I think the landscape of the place you live in will strongly influence your work. Not only the color and contents but also the feeling. That is my case. I want to express what I feel from this world.

Many great artists influenced me. In the film, my favorite directors are Sergei Parajanov and Andrei Tarkovsky. In the illustration, it would be Lorenzo Mattotti. His colors are beautiful and unforgettable. Art itself is a Visual Expression, so I think it is hard to describe the message of my art in words.

The world is broad and indifferent. Humans live in this world to suffer. The main characters keep searching and seizing and come to their end. Extraordinary beings are hiding in this world. I want to describe this kind of situation of life and the confusion comes from it. That is the basic idea of my art. Also, I feel the style is not a thing that I would overthink of. Because the primary thing is the content and the feeling you want to convey. Once you have these things, the art style will naturally come out.

The animation is a medium that you could transfer your wildest dreams into reality. Although it is a tedious and repetitive job most of the time, it is still interesting when you see your own creation come to life in the theatre as though the world you created is real. I guess that is what makes everything worthwhile.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
I think the biggest challenge is how to balance commercial work and the work of your own. If your style is not mature enough yet, and you begin to accept a lot of commercial commissions. You can quickly become a commercial artist, whose style is the same as many other people in the industry. But if your work is similar to many others, what is the point of making them? Another big problem is, if you put too much time into commercial work, you don’t have time to finish what you want to make. You don’t have time to investigate yourself, read books, watch films, or do research. Your work will be more and more superficial and tedious.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can watch my work at Vimeo and Artstation. I sometimes put my work to the film festival. This is my personal website: junweny.com

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Image Credit:
Junwen Yu

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