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

Hi Ken, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Throughout my life, there have been times where I enjoyed the more lax side of life than working on my craft, and times where the latter happens. My friend taught me a life-changing term in my first year of college when he noticed me spending too much time working in the computer labs and not sleeping. This term ‘temperance’ changed the way I viewed output and input balances. From that point on, I always believed in this idea of a middle ground. All activities and acts in life should be consumed in moderation. You can’t just go your whole life eating chicken tendies and french fries. At some point, you’ll have to consume vegetables to counteract the increase of your cholesterol. The same applies for work and leisure. These things require a delicate balance so as not to create bad habits. In my opinion, overworking yourself is just as bad as not getting any work done. Breaks between working should be used to refresh and relax the mind. That’s the whole reason why the concept of vacation days, weekends, sabbaticals, and lunch breaks were created. Usually these days, I spend the first part of my day seeing friends and exploring the city and the latter half of the day until 3 to 4 am working on my art.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Art for me has always been about having fun. I feel like the moment you start producing art for yourself is when you’ll yield the best results. We often forget why we started exploring art when we work at a studio or when we produce work for teachers in art school. Dice Tsutsumi once said in a panel that he didn’t want to be considered a studio artist. He wanted to be known as an artist working at a studio. This need for identity and individuality is what prompted him to leave Pixar and start Tonko House. Being able to wake up everyday and produce art that I want to produce, to challenge myself with new mediums and prompts, is what keeps my love for the craft from becoming stale. I dabble in different forms of art such as character design, illustration, publishing work, advertising, painting, fashion design, editorial, and gallery work. I tend to wear a lot of my influences on my sleeve so you’ll see that a lot of my art is tied to music and fashion. Keeping an open mind to new developments in life, both career-wise and the humdrum of the day-to-day, keeps me flexible to whatever opportunities come my way.

I wouldn’t say that my path in art has necessarily been easy. Throughout college, I had a few teachers that led me to believe I was doing well before crashing down on me with extreme malice. The first year of my art college experience was a rollercoaster of my emotions. I also had teachers that straight-up disliked me. For the longest time, these individuals led me to believe that I wasn’t cut out to be an artist in the first place. Before throwing in the towel, I started to meet other faculty members and fellow artist friends that helped me regain my confidence. Those individuals will always have a place within my heart. People will sometimes hate what you’re doing, and sometimes people will love what you’re doing. As long as you’re having fun, you’re doing what’s right.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my all time favorite breakfast locations is easily Flappy Jack’s. There are two locations in existence, but the superior one is the one that sits in Glendora. It’s just a great all around breakfast joint with great decor and great food. Other great food spots include Burgers Never Say Die in Silverlake, where they make my favorite burgers in Los Angeles, and Pasta Sisters for amazing, authentic Italian pasta dishes. I would recommend Curry House, my favorite restaurant of all time, if it wasn’t sold heinously under our noses and gutted for resources. Champion’s Curry is the next best option for a unique Japanese curry experience.

As for drinks, Los Angeles is the perfect spot for unique alcohol experiences. Bars here can range from $1.50 dark gremlin holes in walls to high-falutin’, wallet-emptying falling hazards halfway up the way to see God. My favorite place to drink with my fellow chums on a Saturday night is Congregation Ale House in Pasadena. When I’m feeling super extra or celebrating, I go to the Semi-Tropic in Silverlake, Toe Bang in Koreatown, or the tiki bar speakeasy on the third floor of Clifton’s in downtown.

If you’re looking for clubbing, Los Angeles also has that in spades. What was once the busy and bank-filling stock exchanges of Los Angeles, Exchange LA is now infested with rave and party rats looking to escape everyday monotony. Break Room 86 is easily one of my favorite speakeasy bar/club to go to. Only playing music from the 80’s, this place is filled with great ambience and a live breakdance routine show every night. Another fun thing to do with a friend is to take a lime scooter and ride it up parking structure five in Santa Monica and race down as fast as possible. I did it a couple nights ago, and it was great.

Los Angeles is also home to some of my favorite fashion boutiques. Dover Street Market Los Angeles is practically my second home. They house some of the most interesting pieces ranging from high fashion to streetwear. Shoutout to all the great folks I’ve met such as Josh, Alex, Mark, Drew, Minia, Darcy, and Melissa. Bodega is another joint that I frequent any free time I have. Emily, Isaiah, Tristen, and some of the other great employees hold down the fort there with some of my favorite brands ranging from Human Made, Needles, BrainDead, and Kapital. Other stores like American Rag CIE, Union, Trading Post, Kith, and H Lorenzo have great selections and are part of my shopping circuit whenever I have a free day.

All in all, the beauty of Los Angeles doesn’t come from its outward appearance, but the weird, unique, and interesting things going on in the underbelly of the city.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
You can’t have a proper shoutout without recognizing your day ones. These include my family for giving me a roof over my head and feeding me, my friends for snapping me back to reality when I doubt myself, or when my ideas get out of hand. Ducks for just being cute and existing, Curry House (RIP) for the best curry in the world, my buds over at Dover Street Market Los Angeles and Bodega for supplying the heat in the coldest days, the sun for being warm, and the ozone layer for doing its absolute best at shielding me from skin cancer.

Website: https://kencamellia.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kennynooo/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ken-camellia-b9173417b/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chennethkang

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ken.chang.581/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBkMfBR-UWGCwy9eG11hrfw

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