We had the good fortune of connecting with Benson Shum and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Benson, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I chose a creative career because I’m not sure what else I would be doing. I’ve always been drawn to things where I can create things with my hands.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I just wanted to take a quick moment to say Thank YOU for having me part of your series. I really appreciate it. For my career, it’s not a straight A to B path. My journey has been windy and I feel for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My first job out of school was as a prop designer for an animation TV studio in Vancouver. BC. It was great, I learned a lot and got to move through other departments from character design to animation. From there, I jump from studio to studio and learn more about the industry and made some amazing friends. After a couple of years, I decided to go back to school and learn the 3D side of the industry. After graduating, I worked at both 3d and 2d studios, and eventually landed a job in London, England at a game studio as well as a VFX studio after. A couple of years later, I went back to Vancouver working in 2d and 3d and eventually made my way down to the US, to the Walt Disney Animation studios, in Burbank, CA where I currently work and have been for the last 8 years. Throughout my career in animation, I’ve had a lot of “no, and rejections” when I’ve applied, but I learned if I don’t apply, I will never know if I could get the job. So, I just kept trying and eventually something hit, and landed me a job. While at Disney, I found a lot of inspiration from the artist around me that led me to go back to my roots of drawing. I started to paint and draw often which then led me into the world of Children’s books. I am so excited to be having a second career learning and writing/illustrating children’s books. Animation and the KidLit community have a lot in common. Both industries have the most amazing, encouraging and supportive people I know. The challenges in Children’s books are similar as well. Rejections and No are common. But we make children’s book because like animation we have a passion to create stories that will hopefully resonate with kids and adults everywhere. To answer your question about what I want the world to know about my work/brand/story is, I hope my stories and illustration will give a little light in our world. We all go through tough times and sometimes the world isn’t in a great state. So, I hope my work will shine a little hope and light. Thank you for listening to my story.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Mmm, if I have friends coming into town. I think the most important thing would be places to EAT! I love to eat, so I hope most of my friends do too! HA! and we’ll go for a stroll/hike in between feasting. Griffith park is beautiful to go for a stroll or a hike. Korean food is definitely on the menu. It’s AMAZING! Check out the Hollywood bowl if there is a show. It’s a wonderful experience. Tour through the studios if they are interested.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes, there are so many I could thank. First, my family. I can’t say enough how fortunate I am to have them. They are continually encouraging and supportive of what I do. My teachers, colleagues from school, friends from work and outside of work. I feel they inspire and have influence in my work one way or another. And my partner who is patient and knows what it’s like to be in the creative field.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bshum79