We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Chon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
For me, art was something I rejected growing up. I was creative as a kid but was always told that it isn’t a career or was shamed for being indifferent. So, I let it go. I lost a part of myself in doing so which led me to join the Marine Corps. Even while serving I’d doodle random things, anything I could find to pass the time. Something I rejected was still a part of me and made me happy. Near the end of my term, my fellow peers convinced me to go to art school, “the Corps can do without you so don’t waste your potential.” Terrified and anxious to step through a door I wasn’t prepared for, I accepted that small part of me wishing to create magical worlds, an escape. To create worlds and story moments that inspire other people through visuals of different cultures and empathy. It took a decade to realize why I love this creative part of myself. It is to find that same feeling when I was a kid watching Miyazaki movies and Toonami. That’s why I pursue art. To show people through visual language fantastical environments and moments in life of what if and what could be.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A huge take I’ve engrained in my brain is attention to detail and adapting to change. As a former Helicopter Crew chief and mechanic, I had to see every single spec of deformities. I wasn’t good at it, but I did my best. This skill has helped me to understand and dissect how certain elements work. From small household items to decorate a scene to mechanical functionality, it has greatly enhanced how an environment looks. It isn’t easy to do on the fly. What helps for me is to imagine how a person or thing would interact with the objects around them. How you can imitate or fake an illusion; to make it look believable. I learn every other day new ways to design and paint. It’s how you apply them that make them all connect and work together. I never started out pro or good. It took many years, including the years outside of being creative to find a method that worked for me and my aesthetic. Keep in mind I’m still learning and figuring that out right now so don’t be complacent and embrace change. Get out of your comfort zone to get motivated.
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’m an introvert so I’ll do my best. First off is Korean barbeque at Oo Kook Korean BBQ. All you can eat meat and sides. Korean culture is a huge part of me as I’m a Korean American. It wasn’t at first but glad to have found my way back to it. Next (if I had to force it) would be random bars in Koreatown or West Hollywood. Most of the time would be just hanging out at my house with my Fiancée and 4 pets playing switch games and watching movies. This may sound dull but for me it’s heaven.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, Dhairya Patel for recommending me for this interview. My friends I have shared memories with over the years in the Marine Corps. We may not talk much or have wondered on different paths but I would like to say, thank you for convincing me to pursue art. My Otis college crew I hung out with. They helped drive my competitive nature to better my skills. My parents for always providing me with unconditional love and support regardless of my irrational decisions such as joining the Marine Corps. Shoutout to all my friends that deal with my reserved quiet self. To end, I would like to dedicate this forever shoutout to my fiancée, Abi Savage. For always sticking with me through thick and borderline thin. For helping me realize my true potential and unraveling a part of myself I never realized.