We had the good fortune of connecting with li liu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi li, what are you inspired by?
Ever since I was little, I have been inspired by the color and light of sunsets and how each one is unique. As a child, at the beginning of each school semester, I always enjoyed carefully choosing what wrapping paper to wrap my books with and what color of pens to use for note-taking. When faced with plain-wrapped objects or spaces, my creative mind kicks in to find new ways to create excitement and joy through color, texture, and design.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m currently working as a creative director and production designer. I studied environmental design, but I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry and become a production designer. I wasn’t a straight-A student in college, and my interests have always been all over the place. When I was about to graduate, my classmates were working hard on preparing their environmental design models for the grad show. The high-intensity pressure made me feel very anxious, so I started to do something else that I enjoyed more. I put a lot of effort into creating a personal brand for myself and designed a bespoke tote bag for guests of the grad show to take away. A friend from my class told me that I was wasting my time on this and that I should work harder on my models. I agreed with him, but I still choose to do what made me happy because I felt so good following my passion. I ended up meeting my current boss through my grad show. He picked up one of the tote bags that I made and reached out to me later. He’s been supportive and patient with me from the beginning, and has taught me everything starting with the basics, introduced me to wonderful and talented people, and trusted me to express myself on every project. He’s my boss, my mentor, and also my friend.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned is that there will always be a lot of noise on the way to discovering yourself and understanding the world and that the path to clarity is to follow your passions through creativity and experimentation.
I’m now also working on my accessory brand. It consists of handcrafted goods decorated with beautiful natural gemstones that I sourced from different places. I experience so much delight by just looking and working with these beautiful elements from the earth. Some people believe that gemstones can bring you good energy. I hope that I can pass along good energy to people by creating these pieces. By creating this brand, I want to share how the world can excite and inspire us with its numerous possibilities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA is a fantastic city full of lovely and creative people. It’s a place where one can pursue their dream regardless of race, gender, or background. When I feel uninspired, I just look at LA’s street scenes and skyline, and I am reminded that I am so blessed to have beauty and wonder like this in my life.
When I was in college, I would often visit Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice for shopping, eating, and people watching. The street is full of beautiful and unique shops, gourmet restaurants and bars, and crowds of people enjoying themselves. At the end of a day on the boulevard, I would rent a scooter to the beach to take in the golden sunset.
I recently visited the Topanga Lookout Trailhead. It’s an enjoyable and beautiful hiking trail. When you get to the trailhead, there’s an area where you can sit down, enjoy the incredible mountain views, and take in all the ever-changing beauty, light, and color of mother nature.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my parents. I was born and grew up in a small town in China. My parents are very traditional Chinese parents. Sometimes they don’t understand what I am doing, but they have always tried their best to understand my life. They have done their best to make me feel confident and support me along the way. My parents are like many other traditional Chinese parents who rarely express their love verbally but silently do everything else they can do to help their children. I want to take this opportunity to tell them that I love them more than words can describe and thank them for allowing me to grow into a strong and independent person. I will never forget the lessons they have taught me, and I will always try my best to make this world a more colorful and exciting place.