We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
I read a lot of fiction, but the one relevant book I’ve read recently is a book called UltraLearning by Scott H. Young. The author essentially lays out useful methods in learning a new skill especially in a way that isn’t time-consuming. He gives real life examples, including his own, of people who’ve learned new skills and have benefited tremendously from doing so. He elaborates on how people feeling stuck in their current profession can use those skills not only to be able to compete in industries where adapting to new technologies and trends are becoming increasingly necessary, but also feel extremely accomplished in themselves. Naturally, his book was super informative and inspiring for me as an aspiring creative professional who is trying to be open about all the possible career paths I have. Personally, using Young’s methods for learning, I’ve tried learning how to code in C#, which is widely known as the easiest language, but still presented a pretty huge challenge. I’ve also attempted to put out a small web comic series, worked on my social media skills and most importantly learned to bake past the basic banana bread recipe (a skill inspired by the Great British Baking Show). I would definitely recommend this book to anyone feeling stuck or unmotivated in their work, life or overall self-worth; it has definitely helped me in that regard.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I use CG as the main medium for my art, though I am very excited about the new technology that a lot of applications like Blender has in store for the easy cohabitation of both 3D and 2D techniques. I think my art mainly centers on things I find entertaining or heartwarming, most of the time based on little odd things or events that I find funny in life. I love creating visual styles out of combining different mediums ranging from photorealistic rendering to cartoon style animation or something else entirely. Experimenting with different looks is what I find the most exciting and is usually what can get me past my frequent art blocks. I would say that I’m most proud of the films I made during school which took me hours and hours of grueling work to finish, but I’m currently really excited and proud by the fact that I passed 1k followers on TikTok. It’s fun.
I’m not that deep into my professional career, in fact I feel like I barely just got started, but I do feel like I’ve had to overcome a few challenges so far. For one, I’ve been using social media significantly more than I used to and I’ve learned to keep more of a distance between myself and my art, working past the lack of feedback from a general audience. I learned to stay motivated in the times I don’t feel motivated to create at all. That’s always a big challenge. And I think I’m still working to overcome that lack of motivation through the constant practice of better work habits.
I want the world to know that I just love to create, it’s the best stress-reliever for me and the fact that I’m doing this for a potential life long career feels like a huge risk. But, hopefully, I’ll be able to survive it and help people get through their day along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is an excellent question. If if was a week long trip and we were in K-town, I would schedule out a meal every day to go to BCD (or every other day if my friend got tired of it) and order kimchi tofu stew with a seafood pancake on the side and always for dessert go to Oakobing for some Korean bingsoo. And in general, I’ve found that scheduling like a big outing for the whole day and improvising the rest of the plans is the best. For example, I could schedule going hiking to Griffith Park all the way up to the Observatory in the morning and then when we’re tired and hungry, we can go to Han Bat Sulungtang for some Ox Bone Soup or Hangari Kalguksoo for some yummy hand-cut noodles. I personally just like walking around the Galleria Market Plaza that’s really close to BCD and just roam around Daiso. There’s a lot of other cute, aesthetic cafes all around K-town too. One of my favorites is Caffe Bene. And of course a lot of KBBQ (Quarters is my go to spot) which would have to be scheduled for at least one of the days out of the whole week. For snacks, 88 Hotdog is in my opinion a better option to the more popular MyungRang hot dog.
I can go on, but the basic gist is working off calories by hiking or any other activity and eating delicious food for the rest of the day. That is a very good day spent in my opinion. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely have a lot of people to thank for all their support. First, I want to thank my mentor from my time at school, Andrew Bac, who encouraged my love for the 3D medium and pushed me to create films that were simply personal and meaningful. Keeping watch over everyone’s shoulder during class was always a great motivation. I also want to thank the director of our program, Maija Burnett, who was a constant and amazing supporter of all of our work as students, understanding and advocating for us wholeheartedly and who helped get me out of jury duty during the busiest time of the school year. Furthermore, I want to give a general and very loud shout out to the rest of the faculty at CalArts for always being there to guide me through the wayward trajectory of my interests and helping to hone my technical skills along the way. Additionally, I want to, of course, thank my Umma and Appa for their love and their financial help without which I would not have been able to pursue anything at all. And I want to give thanks to my one and only sister who has been an ever present cheerleader and encourager of everything I achieve and want to achieve in the future. She constantly pushes me in my creative work and equally cheers me on, which is the best combination of support I could ever wish for.
Other: TikTok: @gourdnpickle Webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/gourd-pickle/list?title_no=572508