We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessie Chang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessie, why did you pursue a creative career?
Because I discovered at a young age that I really liked to draw with crayons. I started out drawing senseless blobs when I was 5 onto the ceiling of my parents’ car in crayon, then the walls of the house, the floor, my parents convinced me to draw on paper. I’d draw during class in the margins of my notebook and my homework and then be called to have a talk with my teachers. They’d point out the small whale I drew, saying I should pay attention more during class and turn in neat homework. I’d ignore it and keep going and eventually all my teachers resorted to taking away a couple points on each homework that had doodles on it, which was fine by me. My parents encouraged me to draw outside of homework and sent me to art classes and my obsession with drawing has only grown since. Early on in high school I decided I’d become a traditional painter, but after watching How to Train Your Dragon, I changed my mind and decided animation was where I wanted to go.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I guess that’d be just constantly trying to improve myself. My dad constantly told me I could improve as long as I tried. So I did. I took a lot of art classes, took on so much art curriculum, and I was so proud of myself for having a portfolio. I went to every single art school portfolio day event to show schools my stuff. What did they think my chances of getting in were? At first, a lot of the schools glanced over my stuff, and then just sort of ignored me. Coming back over and over again, I could see the progress of my portfolio improving, seeing what I needed to remove, how much more art I had to do, how much my skills had improved. And then in college it was constantly looking at people in the industry going ok how can I make my portfolio as good as yours. What aspect of your work could I take and absorb into mine. And I’m still doing that, still working on improving every chance I get. I guess my lesson is, just keep on trying, keep on learning, and you’d be surprised at how far you’ve actually come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Definitely gonna hit up Universal Studios and Disneyland since I really like amusement parks though I don’t think that counts as local. We could visit Birch Aquarium and hang out at UTC which is this mall that has an indoor ice rink that keeps on expanding. It’s expanded so much since the last time I was there I am looking forward to visiting once the pandemic ends. And the mall has lots of good food, like Din Tai Fung, where we can get soup dumplings.
We can drive around Balboa and go through the museums and gardens and it’s right next to the zoo. And San Diego has two zoos! So we can go to both of them.
And I live five minutes away from the beach so we’re definitely going there.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my family and friends! They have constantly supported me every step of the way; my parents sending me to art classes, helping me get materials, anything that I needed, and my friends always encouraging me to continue drawing art.
Also I’d like to thank Griffin, who was always so excited to see what was the next thing I’d make, always giving these dramatic comments and being ever so positive with every art piece I did. It really helped me realize that my art could be worth something to other people.