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Camily Tsai

Camily Tsai

Meet graphic and motion designer from Los Angeles, Camily Tsai

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello, my name is Camily and I am a Taiwanese-American creative based mainly in Los Angeles; however, I do travel back and forth to my hometown in Taiwan quite a bit (and sometimes Japan too!). By day I design for motion graphics and advertising, and at night I illustrate for clients ranging from news media to independent record labels. If I’m not drawing, you can probably find me in cafes drinking copious amounts of coffee or at the karaoke belting out my favorite anime songs.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Life in Los Angeles is largely defined by the traveling that you do from point A to point B. The commutes that you take to go to school, work, or even leisure spots are essential to how your life gains its rhythm. An average Angeleno spends much of their time in the car waiting for some miracle to take place in a godawful traffic situation. In fact, complaining about traffic is probably the number one topic for small talks between coworkers. Yet ironically, some of my fondest and most impressionable memories are these experiences and conversations that took place in the car with my friends or family–on our way going 5 mph to a new hot spot in town or just to get errands done.

 

By day I design for motion graphics and advertising, and at night I illustrate for clients ranging from news media to independent record labels.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Best: The incredibly diverse food scene, great weather, close proximity to nature, interesting offbeat museums.

Worst: TRAFFIC! And finding parking.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Competitive, multifaceted, lively

 

How did you start your career in art?

After graduating from art school, I spent some time working as a freelance translator (another passion of mine) while I casually looked for opportunities related to illustration and design. I had started out mainly focusing on editorial illustrations, but a friend of mine had later on asked if I was interested in freelancing for a big scale project at a studio. That experience eventually led me into the studio/agency world, where I found myself thriving in the fast-paced world of collaborative work environments. So now I try to manage these two sides of my career, all the while keeping my eyes peeled for other opportunities to try different kinds of work (that I may also end up enjoying!).

 

I had started out mainly focusing on editorial illustrations, but a friend of mine had later on asked if I was interested in freelancing for a big scale project at a studio. That experience eventually led me into the studio/agency world, where I found myself thriving in the fast-paced world of collaborative work environments.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Thankfully, my family has always been really supportive of me working as a creative, so long as I had a plan.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

Due to the nature of my job, I spend a lot of time telling other people’s stories. There is no doubt that as a designer, it is a passion of mine to solve creative problems for brands and campaigns. However, a part of me does want to take some time to focus on the stories I want to tell for myself–whether that takes form in a short film, a comic or a body of work.

 

There is no doubt that as a designer, it is a passion of mine to solve creative problems for brands and campaigns. However, a part of me does want to take some time to focus on the stories I want to tell for myself–whether that takes form in a short film, a comic or a body of work.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

That is a tough question since there are so many people on my list! But as a longtime anime fan, I would love to work with studios like Trigger or Science Saru.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Strong-willed, resourceful, smart and resilient.

I’m surrounded by amazing women who are exceptional multitaskers, emotionally and physically!

 

Strong-willed, resourceful, smart and resilient.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

For some time during the end of high school, my friend and I studied with a local fine artist named Ji Oh at her studio (you can check out her wonderful works here!). She became a good friend and a mentor to me while I was contemplating pursuing art in higher education.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

Certainly, especially when it comes to industries like advertising and animation where the work culture has long been male-dominated. While everyone experiences varying degrees of the challenge depending on several factors, it is particularly prevalent when it comes to the issue of leadership. Despite the fact that gender equality in the workplace has been improved immensely over the course of the last decade or so, the female to male ratio in leadership positions remains disproportionate to this day. Not only do I hope to see more senior roles offered to women, but I would love to see more diversity in female leadership as well–in the sense where we as female creatives are free to approach directorship without having to conform to the method imposed by limited opportunities.

 

Know that your hard work and efforts are never in vain, as they will manifest in something bigger and greater down the road.

 

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

This probably applies to everyone including young women who are aspiring to work in the creative field:

Know that your hard work and efforts are never in vain, as they will manifest in something bigger and greater down the road. And when that opportunity presents itself, you are ready.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Camily Tsai.

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