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Meet Simo Liu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Simo Liu.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m a LA-based multimedia artist working on animation, illustration, and motion graphics.

I am originally from China. My art career started when I was a kid. I was influenced by Japanese animated TV shows such as Sailor Moon, Doraemon, and Sakura Card Captor. Specially those featuring vivid characters, brilliant colors, and magic worlds made me become addicted to drawing. I remember how much I enjoyed drawing those character’s fancy outfits during those times. Since then, I started learning drawing and painting. After I graduated from the fine arts institute in China, I came to the U.S. for grad school. I got my master’s degree with animation major in USC as well as a master’s degree in Calarts (California Institute of the Arts) majoring in motion graphics and graphic design.

After graduation from USC, I was lucky to get the chance to work as a graphic designer and artist at Illumination Entertainment. I feel very proud of being a team member of Illumination. I have worked on some very exciting projects such as Despicable Me 2, Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets. It was an amazing experience which provided me an environment to boost my professional skills as well as a chance to work and collaborate with a lot of creative talents and experts.

In 2013, I also worked as an animator at Tokyo Broadcasting Television (TBS), in Japan. There I participated in several projects for an animation DVD series for one of their original children’s education TV shows called “Catchat”, in TBS. Working in Japan was another amazing experience where I got to experience the different working styles between eastern and western cultures.

I currently identify myself as a multi-faced individual artist 🙂 I am working on various projects for different clients, ranging from illustration, animation to design.

Has it been a smooth road?
I believe art is, unlike other careers that can potentially deliver quick results, a career that requires a considerable time for artists to accumulate experiences and knowledge from different perspectives. Also, artists need to be very confident and ambitious in order to improve and challenge themselves.

When I was in high school, before the college entrance exam, I was trained in drawing techniques, which I had to practice religiously for the tests in order to be admitted into art college. I’m grateful for this training because they did help me to build a solid drawing foundation. However, I felt a little puzzled during that time too. I felt like a machine, drawing the same objects all the time. There wasn’t the opportunity for me to draw whatever I wanted to draw. I thought to myself “Is this what I want to do in the future?”

After I came to the art institute to study for my undergrad, I got the chance to learn more about illustration, animation, and design. This really increased my potential directions to explore and research. I could feel the many possibilities to make art from different mediums and platforms. This also increased my desire to study abroad to explore different perspectives, various forms as well as innovative concepts.

Coming to the U.S. to study arts expanded my vision. One of the most significant things I learned is to focus on finding our own voice as artists. To draw the most beautiful painting is not the most important thing, but conceiving an original and creative idea which can represent our personal and unique point of view of the world, that is the soul of our artistic creation. This new vision on what is to be an artist influenced me greatly. It gave me the confidence to do what I want to do, to express my inner thoughts, and to explore and experiment various innovative forms of art and styles.

Gradually, some of my works including animations and illustrations, received international awards, exhibitions, as well as more than 50 showcase screenings globally. My works were appreciated and supported by many people, this is a great honor for me. This made me more and more confident and determined to pursue the path of arts.

Please tell us more about your art.
Compared to many artists who might focus their work on one direction, I perceive myself more like a multi-faced artist. I’m working on illustration, animation, motion graphics and also some graphic design. I love to explore and experiment with different techniques and styles to achieve various aesthetics. Some people have said that my work showcases a variety of distinct styles. Some people have said that they can feel that my work contains a bright color with some fantasy and wit inside.

I love to create animation playing with sound and music. For example, Geometry, one of my animated films, can be defined as a visual music piece. Inspired by Oskar Fischinger and John Whitney, Geometry experiments with the illusion of motion using graphic shapes, combined with sounds and music to show a ball’s journey. In the animation, sounds and music were translated into a related visual presentation, which maximizes the illustration of music as well as putting the audience in a world where music is not only heard but also seen. In Geometry, the animation creates the music and the music also creates the animation.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I believe human beings will interact more and more with arts in the future. In the same way that we can enjoy classical art pieces in museums or galleries. In the future, there will be more and more innovative artworks that need audiences to interact, collaborate and generate the new art piece together.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has greatly affected our lifestyles during this year. People might rely more on technology, I can foresee a more extended use of technology in art. Also, people are more concerned about public health and medicine, I can see a big potential opportunity for arts to be used in the area of health treatment. For instance, art has been scientifically proved to improve the outcomes of patients within hospitals, this is a viable opportunity to apply arts in the benefit of society.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.simoliu.com
  • Phone: 2135097757
  • Email: simoliu88@gmail.com
  • Instagram: simoliu.works

Image Credit:
My Profile photo by Tuo Kan

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