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Ivyy Chen

Ivyy Chen

Meet London-based animation director and illustrator, Ivyy Chen.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi everyone! Originally from Taiwan, I am Ivyy – an Animation Director and Illustrator currently based in London.

Using 2D Animation as my primary medium, I focus on storytelling and visual thinking. I enjoy digging into the most unexpected subjects and turning them into something fun and inspiring. My use of symbolism and metaphors in stories allows me to challenge a deeper meaning of storytelling and provide a different perspective for my audiences to re-evaluate their perceptions. I also have a tiny addiction to telling stories about the Chair.

 

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

London is a fascinating and vibrant city to live in. It’s a city that has endless potentiality with all sorts of events and gatherings.

Having lived here for over 5 years, there are times quite challenging and times I really love it.

It could feel overwhelming to juggle between multiple things at once and have to keep up with the important details for each of them, but it’s incredibly amazing to see how quickly new opportunities pop up and how this city stimulates my creativity to push myself for wanting more.

 

My use of symbolism and metaphors in stories allows me to challenge a deeper meaning of storytelling and provide a different perspective for my audiences to re-evaluate their perceptions.

 

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

I love how unexpected things happen around every day and how it brings a new perspective to the way I see the world and my arts. Even if I have a rough day, I could easily take some time offline and walk a few blocks away from my house to clear my mind at a bookshop, a cafe or a park which I have yet to explore.

It’s tough to deal with the high living expenses and not have the choices to eat or buy what I want.

Growing up with different food culture in Taiwan, I never had many thoughts on weighing how much money I could spend on eating. As a foodie myself, I miss eating out with friends or going to night markets. Luckily I enjoy cooking a lot. When I do eat out here, London has the most delicious and authentic international restaurants that I am also saving my money to try out.

 

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

Dynamic, energetic, tireless

 

How did you start your career in art?

Growing up studying traditional Fine Art in school for over 10 years, I began my path of animation in 2011. Intrigued by the curiosity of an unknown world, I embarked on my adventure of the moving image world by studying Multimedia and Animation Arts at National Taiwan University of Arts.

During my three-year course, I built up a solid foundation in technical animation skills. The coursework emphasised a lot on teamwork and collaboration. It helped me understand the importance of good teamwork. Meanwhile, I grew more interested in different visual approaches and started seeking another perspective of storytelling in my own work.

In 2014, I joined the exchange programme at Kingston University in the UK. It’s a life-changing and eye-opening experience that encouraged me to explore my personal story. Studying at Kingston unleashed my imagination to be more experimental, innovative, bold and brave, and to find my voice and tell my own story. Therefore, I ended up staying and finishing my degree there.

Before graduation, I started my first job with Blinkink helping animating GIFs in Flash. In the meantime, I got another opportunity to freelance at Nexus right after graduation. They were both invaluable experiences that soon I got to set my sight on launching a career here.

 

Intrigued by the curiosity of an unknown world, I embarked on my adventure of the moving image world by studying Multimedia and Animation Arts at National Taiwan University of Arts.

 

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

It wasn’t usual for me who initially had anticipated only a year abroad experience ending up staying for 5 years. There were many many friends and family that I could never thank them enough for supporting me alongside this fun and a bit crazy journey.

 

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

In February I have just finished my personal film ‘isle of Chair’ – funded by Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation. I am very excited to share with people and also hoping to hold an exhibition in both London and Taipei under the theme of the Chair which I have done a few works in the past. I want to introduce this idea of the Chair – what it might symbolise to a wider audience and encourage connection and participation through the viewing of different chairs while creating a space for people to reflect on this idea and how they’ve connected with chairs throughout their own lives. Meanwhile, I am also looking forward to finishing writing my new story and getting fundings for it.

 

I want to introduce this idea of the Chair – what it might symbolise to a wider audience and encourage connection and participation through the viewing of different chairs while creating a space for people to reflect on this idea and how they’ve connected with chairs throughout their own lives.

 

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

I am a big fan of Korean director Jeong Dahee’s works, I love the way she tells stories. I would love to collaborate with her. 🙂

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Caring, inspiring, unique!

 

Caring, inspiring, unique!

 

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

During my fine art class in high school, there was a teacher who taught me charcoal drawing and oil painting.

She was a true artist to me. She filled my imagination of female artists while most of the successful artists I knew were mainly male at the time. Her toughness and passion for art and art education encouraged me to be myself, pursue my dream and tell my story. When I needed to decide whether to stay at Kingston for another year, she gave me very helpful advice and boosted my confidence in believing in myself.

 

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

I have yet encountered any difficulty of being a female in my field, however, I can totally see myself having lots of doubts and worries on my creations even after receiving recognitions from both males and females.

If anything goes beyond the personality and human nature, I would say I love the tenderness and sensitivity from my female thinking that enables me to create each unique story. I hope the world can be filled with more stories from different perspectives and different voices by female directors and artists.

 

You may always doubt your ideas and work but you should never give up on trying to voice up.

 

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

You may always doubt your ideas and work but you should never give up on trying to voice up.

Taking a small step forwards to be braver every time, one day you will see how it all makes a difference.

Work hard but also learn to find the life-work balance. Sometimes enough is enough for you as well.

Taking good care of yourself on health and wellbeing, it’s a way more important idea than it sounds.

When you start worrying or overthink, focus on the present moment and solve one problem at a time.

You can do this!

 

 

Photos courtesy of Ivyy Chen.

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