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Meet Qian Wan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Qian Wan.

Qian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
To be honest, I always felt that I’m very lucky to be born in an artistic family with parents supporting me no matter what. My father is a ceramic artist, he guided and inspired me to see the world in a different way since I was born. I still remember when I was little, they would take me to a movie theatre once a week to spend our family time together. At that time, there were few foreign movies that could be broadcast in China. The first movie that made me feel cultural shock was Harry Potter. The whole film screening process made me feel so magical, just a brick wall could bring me to a whole new world. I guess by that time the subtle influence on me made me interested in design. From that moment, I have planted a seed in my heart that I want to go abroad to see the world. Guessing the experience of growing up in China as an art student is very different compared to other countries. I started to have professional training in painting since I was in high school, always trying to work as hard as I can. Even now, I still remember when I was in 12th grade, I was so worried and confused about my future, because within one year I will take the one of the kind test in China, which will determine at least what kind of life I will have for the next four years. In China, due to the uniqueness of the education system, for most Chinese students, the college entrance examination is the most important test to determine the development of life, and you can only take it once a year.

Well, I’m very lucky, my hard work pays off, I got into the best theatre school in China, Central Academy of Drama to study Scenic Painting. During my time there, I met incredibly talented professors who guided me and offered me so many opportunities to participate in both international and national projects like the National Centre for the Performing Arts, National Theatre of China and several film projects. After seven years as a theatre artist, I decided to study abroad to see the world. As I just said, I have always had an American Dream since I was a little kid, wanted to see and get to know how the Hollywood industry works. After one year of preparation, I got into California Institute of the Arts to study Art Direction. Through Calarts, I was able to work on Universal Studio Hollywood Maze, present my designs to Walt Disney Imagineers, Dream Crew Company, Knott’s Berry Farm and worked on several USC films. Now that I am a graduate of Calarts 2020.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not a smooth way for me, but there are also sweetness along the way. As moving from Beijing to Los Angeles, it’s absolutely not easy for me to start from 0 here. Starting building connections here for a shy person like me is absolutely a challenge. Lucky for me, I always meet people that are willing to guide and support me through this journey. To me, small challenges are everywhere. Recalling my first semester here in Calarts, small things like starting from shopping in a grocery store to buying a new car from the dealership, these are the things that I took for granted back home. At the same time, trying to find professional jobs outside of school after my first year is difficult. As I said earlier, I’m a very lucky person, I got my first professional job working on Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights Maze through Chelle. These unique job opportunity furthered my experiences taking design to reality in the theme park industry. I guess what I am trying to say is life is an adventure, always be grateful and friendly to others, because you will never know what will happen tomorrow.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I would consider myself as a designer. From my perspective, art fields are interlinked. Different media and tools are the things assisting us to create the effect that we wanted. I mainly focus on designing immersive spaces which could bring the audience into other dimensions so that the surroundings could empathize with the audience.
Surprisingly, a shy person like me is known for a brilliant color mixer. Please visit my website: and you will see.

The thing that I am most proud of is I have both a background of production design and scenic painting. These skills allow me to clearly understand what I can and cannot be done during the construction process at the design stage. For instance, When I designed a space I would imaging which material would perfectly match my vision and how the technical director and scenic artist would be done to achieve my goal. I believe these qualities made me a strong candidate for this industry.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I believe the most important quality to me is always be grateful and be nice to people around you. And I want to take this opportunity to thank the people who helped and supported me along the way. Li Ming is my first life mentor besides my parents, without him I won’t be who I am today. He opened the door of theatre art for me. Also, I want to thank my college professor Zhang Qingshan and Zhang Hongchen, all of the scenic painting skills and great opportunities that I had before I came to the United States were offered to me by them. Last but not least, Tobias, when I was struggling about what I should do about my future life, it was him who supported me and showed me the right direction. Without them, I won’t be who I am today.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 9096557654
  • Email:
  • Instagram: qianwan18helen

Image Credit:
Qian Wan

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