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Meet Kaila Chen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaila Chen.

Kaila, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was always a creative kid. I gravitated towards arts and crafts in class, and my favorite days of elementary school were when we had, “Meet the Masters,” a day dedicated to learning and making art. However, during middle school and high school, I lost touch with art because I didn’t think it was a reliable career choice. Especially in high school, when I saw what my friends wanted to major in, I felt like choosing art would be a silly career path. Funnily enough, I also really enjoyed math and almost majored in something math related. However, one of my biggest fears was being on my death bed and wishing that I had done something else with my life. Therefore, I did some research and learned about the jobs in the animation industry and that’s when I knew that I wanted to be apart of this. To be part of a team that creates animated films and television shows that I grew up watching every night sounded like my dream job. I somehow convinced my parents to let me major in animation at Cal. State Long Beach and ever since then, I am so grateful to be pursuing my passion and meeting likeminded people along the way!

Great, 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?
Like all journeys, there are bumps and turns. Not everyone supported my decision to major in the arts. It was hard at first because I felt like I had let people down, and that I constantly needed to prove myself to someone else. However, I realized that I’m not living my life for someone else, and therefore, I needed to trust my instinct to pursue what made me happy. I would say, although, my biggest struggle is most definitely self-doubt. I constantly fear that I’m not good enough and that I won’t “make it.” There are times when I wonder if I made the wrong decision, but then I think about the joy that art brings me and how excited I am to attend classes everyday. I think it’s quite a common feeling for artists, and people in general, to feel like they aren’t good enough. However, it’s important to remind ourselves that everyone is on their own journey and to be persistent. Usually, when I feel this way, I take a step back and look at the bigger picture of why I am doing this in the first place.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently a full-time animation student entering my last year of school. My goal is to become a visual development artist one day, as I love creating backgrounds, characters, and props to go along with the stories that I conjure up. Storytelling is a big part of my passion and has always been something that I’ve done since I was little. Additionally, I have a strong urge to never stop learning and experimenting, as I find that this allows me to grow the most as an artist.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment in my career so far was taking the original leap to even pursue what I loved. It can be hard to pursue something that may not have the most stable career options. However, I am proud of the confidence that I have gained in my decision and whenever others ask me what I am pursuing, I gladly say “animation.” I feel that I have come a long way as an artist and I am eager to continue learning and growing.

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Kaila Chen

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