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Meet Quan Chu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Quan Chu.

Quan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Saigon, Vietnam. 1990. Drawing is something I have been doing since I was very little…

Now that’s something you heard quite often so I won’t waste your time talking about how much I love it. Growing up, I always had a hobby of doodling and drawing on notebooks or textbooks or once awhile did a portrait or monsters for a friend. In school, I was very good at mathematics, chemistry, and physic and was destined to have a career in the science field, but my parents acknowledged that I loved art. They’re very supportive.

However, to a kid born and raised in one of the most complicated neighborhoods of Saigon back in the day, a career in art seemed to be never an option. I drew in my spare time. I used to look at the Deviantart website at internet cafes and was amazed at those beautiful drawings and paintings. My jaw dropped when I saw Iain McCaig’s drawing of Darth Maul for the first time. I dreamed of being a concept artist. But then reality slapped me in the face; I slowly stood up, grabbed my bag, paid and rode my bike to math class along with a glimpse of sadness.

Then all of a sudden, on a breezy night of 2008, I received the news of moving to America. That was how a new journey started. And like every other artist, I have been working hard to pursue that dream for the last ten years. It is rough and tough. Looking back, that early chapter of my life somehow is the source of power to keep me going in every despair moments of my career path. Onwards and upwards!

Has it been a smooth road?
Pursuing art to me was never an easy road. It’s a long journey about figuring who I am and what I want to do as a person. I will sum it up in these following phrases:

Critiques hurt. Badly.

Not receiving critiques hurts even more.

Inspiration comes from a lot of sources but keeping it is a tough task.

Confusion is a frequent mental state. Sometimes it transformed into anger.

Getting a decent job as an artist.

It slowly turns into a job.

But the greatest challenge is doing a different job to support yourself financially and not giving it up. It was a constant thought of me every single day in many years.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
Surprising even to myself, regardless of my focus on visual development and illustration, what sets me apart is the graphic novel I’m working on for the last few years. It started out as a side project I freelanced for a writer now my good friend Anthony Mauro. I wanted to put a lot of my personal takes on it, so since 2016, it has slowly transformed and refined my style and my skill. The graphic novel was named “Salvation.”

Besides that, my art, in general, was influenced much by Asian calligraphy and philosophy. It’s decisive and has a sense of drama; you can see these characteristics in my personal works and sketches. My sketches and design thoughts are also impacted by Mesoamerican and African art due to my love for their rich cultural history. But with that being said, I’m also heavily influenced by Western culture, especially the medieval fantasies such as J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as well as Norse, Greek and Babylonian mythologies; these later somehow increased my love for history and world cultures even more.

What am I into at the moment? Megalith. I start to like drawing stone structures now. Hope my upcoming works can bring some excitement.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I do like the diversity of California in general. Overloaded traffic is what I dislike the most about LA, and I do hope the solution for this issue will be prioritized in the new future.

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Quan Chu

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