We had the good fortune of connecting with Yana Pan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yana, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance has always been very important to me, especially as an animator who is interested to produce more independent works. When I was younger, maybe because my relatively strict asian parents, I was focusing too much on both personal works and school works. As I grow older, I value the relaxation time more and the time that I didn’t spend on making animations. I love hanging out with my friends, be social.
The way I think about balance is that, everyone has their own balance, and the balance change because things change in life. If you need to focus more on the work, then do it, vice versa. Don’t get distracted by this idea of “life needs to be balanced”. At different ages we need different things.
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.
I’m an animation director and I love animation. I also draw illustrations sometimes. My works are usually about different things I think about and interested in. I use my works to explore my thoughts, and my thoughts change now and then. Years ago, I was in a phrased where I didn’t believe that animation should only been used as a tool to tell stories. I thought animation should be more about the freedom of movement. Now, I think that animation can also be used as a tool to explore and reflect inner self. I think that both of these opinions are right, just me focus on different things at different time.
My career has been smooth and hard at the same time, some luck too. Because I’m a foreigner, so I always need to figure out my visa with different firms, and it’s complicated. I think that one thing the American culture teach me is that, be confident in yourself. Believe in your talent and your value.
I don’t want much from the world. If someone past my works on the wild internet and thought they were inspiring to them. That is all I want really.
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 will definitely take them to the Elysian Park, where on the top of the hill you can see LA at night. It’s so extraordinary and magical. Then we will go to Tartine in Silver Lake, and get ourselves some chocolate croissant and sourdough, which they are the best in town!! We will also hangout at my friend’s art studio, where I can show my friends about stop motion animation and check out some cool puppets my friend made. We can also go on a cabin trip, but we can also go to see the ocean. LA is fun!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my LA animation community! They are simply the best! Jenny, Nate, Jonah, Phoebe and more! I have always dreamt about one day I will meet a group of people that is as passion about animation as me aka animation nerds. Not only we love animation, but also we are all animators. There is this passion in us to create which is something I think is truly rare. We love conventional animations, but we are more obsessed with experimental animations. Another shoutout has to go to experimental animation!