We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Choi and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erin, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Even as a kid, I think I always knew I wanted to do something art related as a career because creating art was how I spent literally all of my time. I spent most of my childhood writing and illustrating short stories and comics, drawing and painting landscapes, and making sculptures out of recycled objects. I enjoyed the messy, tactile experience of arts and crafts, as well as the sense of freedom that came with creating anything I wanted. Although I knew I wanted to do art as a career, it took me a long time to realize what I wanted to do specifically. At first, I was more interested in fine art, and wanted to make paintings for a living. I later went through phases of wanting to do product design, graphic design, and even set design for theater. In middle school, I gradually developed more of an interest for visual storytelling. I wanted to tell my own stories and create characters and worlds that would inspire other people. I figured that the best way to do so was through a career in animation. I always loved animation because it is a combination of all my favorite media: visual art, storytelling, music, writing, etc., but it never occurred to me that I could be involved in animation production. So when I found out about concept artists and visual development artists during high school, everything just clicked, and I immediately knew I wanted to do visual development for animation.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love doing background paintings and visual development for animation. Since I was little, I have always been captivated by the environments in animated films. I could stare at background paintings from Studio Ghibli films for hours in awe. This interest in environment paintings and set design continued as I grew up, and once I realized it was a job, I began pursuing a career in visual development for animation.

About a year ago, I decided to work as a background painter for a 2D animation capstone project. At the time, I knew how to paint, but I had no idea what to expect in terms of working on an animation production as a team. I was a bit anxious because I had very little idea about how the animation pipeline worked, but I couldn’t let the opportunity slip. I was completely out of my comfort zone, but this experience eventually helped me to learn so much more about the production pipeline, and I made a lot of background paintings that I still feel proud of today.

Through this experience, I learned that I have to keep pushing my boundaries in order to grow as an artist. Without pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I would always end up doing the same thing over and over without learning much. I sometimes struggle to get out of my comfort zone, but I try to take risks by deciding to work on something very ambitious, or just something that I do not know how to do yet. I also try to push myself by working in different styles or working on subject matter that I am not familiar with. When working on these projects, I have to do a lot more research, and I end up struggling a lot in the beginning with my sketches. After finishing projects like this, however, I always feel that I have expanded my skill set and feel much more confident in my abilities.

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.
I moved to the LA area a few years ago when I started college, so I honestly feel like there are still a lot of places I have not yet explored. But to name a few places that I have enjoyed so far: The Huntington Library, Griffith Observatory, Kinokuniya in Little Toyko, Disneyland, Old Town Pasadena, and Koreatown. A little farther away, I enjoyed Malibu and Laguna beach, which were both extremely beautiful. In terms of food, some of my favorite local restaurants are Osawa, Dan Modern Chinese, Urth Caffe, Popping Yolk Cafe, and In-N-Out.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would say that my family definitely deserves a shoutout. Since day one, my family supported me in everything I did. They were the reason why I was able to pursue art without ever questioning myself or my dreams. I would also like to give a shoutout to all of my hardworking classmates at ArtCenter that always inspire me.

Website: https://www.erinchoiart.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/erinchoiart/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erin-choi-art/

Image Credits
Hanna Kim

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