LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Zoey Lin ("ZL") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

ZL : Education :2015-2018 Master of Fine Arts – John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, University of Southern California 2009-2013 Bachelor of the Fine Arts – Dept. Of Fine Arts, Division of Painting, National Taiwan Normal University Skills:Dragonframe | After Effects | Premier | Photoshop |Illustrator | Agisoft | Maya (Domemaster VR Plugin) | Graphic Design | Exhibition Design | Installation Design | Virtual Reality Design | Process-Driven Project Design | Collage Art with found objects | Hands-on techniques like ceramics, watercolor, sketch, ink, calligraphy, etc. Artist Statement: Originally from Taiwan, I began as a fine artist investigating realism in painting and drawing. My work has evolved into multimedia works examining the existence of matter and the tension between the perceived “surface layer” and an imagined “flowing underlying layer.” I examine this tension in diverse subject matter utilizing collaged physical everyday objects and organic textures. Six years ago, observing and shooting mold growing on a wall day by day, I observed the decaying process via time, environment, and human factors. Wall mold grows, decomposes and proliferates in a similar way to more highly evolved creatures. By analyzing the conditions and the motion and comparing it to biological evolution, “Step by Step” (Stop motion, 2012) became the pilot animated film for three animation installation pieces in 2013-2014: “Semi-liquid Space”, “Breeding Ground” and “Fish-Bird Community”. These three pieces contained imaginative organic design that evolved in three different manners: living characteristics, sociological metaphor, and exploration of techniques intended to visualize the growth of the mold. I am interested in the duality of what you see versus what lies underneath. My ideas are inspired by the both the concept “Assemblage” proposed by Deleuze & Guattari, and the concept “Plissement” by Merleau-Ponty. “Assemblage” examines social complexity and its relationship to emphasizing fluidity and exchangeability. “Plissement” emphasized the body as the primary site of knowing the world, and that which is perceived cannot be disentangled from each other. These philosophies permeate my own work in both the ideation process and the visualization. The animation installation, “Mental Black Hole” (2016) examines how people perceive depression as opposed to the invisible activity taking place in the brain. This media-based installation, in the form of physical space with three-channel projection, presents a creative interpretation of the amygdala and hippocampus’ physical manifestations of depression. “Relation • Ship” (2018) is a film and virtual reality experience which is originally designed as the walkthrough installation. Initially the audience witnesses evocative gestural performance animation of the main character, “Fish Bone Queen,” giving away precious gifts from her own body. Upon entering the virtual reality environment, the viewer is immersed in a living bodyscape. This idea mirrors the perceived natural world and fluctuations in human relationships. Currently, I am utilizing technique, photogrammetry to alloy physical and virtual components for designing immersive experiences and hybrid animation.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

ZL : Generally, experience things with my five senses will motivate me to create art and design installation. My instinct, desire and dream of creating + designing something transdisciplinary.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

ZL : I choose to become an artist and a designer.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

ZL : Site-specific installation, multimedia installation, mixed-media artworks, collage art, craft, transdisciplinary experiences

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

ZL : Think big and never give up is for sure the big part of it. It requires passion and Patience. Besides that, the abilities in time management, problem-solving skill, and communication with people are all crucial to achieve your goals.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

ZL : A good designer improves others’ lives A great designer influences others’ thought

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

ZL : To see if the design can break the boundaries of different disciplines with vision, originality, aesthetic sense and knowledge.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

ZL : The value of good design can greatly improve our society and make people think and work transdisciplinary which is the key to elevate cultures and civilizations. When people can value and invest good design it will create a great nurture environment for greater design. It will be like rivers to the ocean which make whole “design eco-system” moderate and optimal.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

ZL : Transdisciplinary design, mixed-media art experience I wish to find sponsorship and cooperation opportunities with fashion or accessories brands and companies. The idea is to cooperate with them by repurposing and assembling their products into characters, sets or props which can become collage artworks as well as developing into short animation contents or series for expanding the story and assets. And later on I can bring all these story ideas, assets and visual components to medicine field for creating interactive works that can serve as visual stimuli to help Parkinson’s patient, Patient in pain, mental illness patient, etc.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

ZL : Augmented Reality, 3D printing for food and accessories, molecular food art, Interactive works related to brain power and science, etc.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

ZL : 70% great idea and set solid goal to make it happen + 30% unexpected magic during the process

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

ZL : BLU, Yayoi Kusama, Joseph Beuys, Jan Svankmajer, Dinara Kasko, Marina Abromovic, Coco Chanel, etc.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

ZL : BLU – idea of exploiting spaces, buildings and physical objects for making graffiti art and film Yayoi Kusama – concept of infinity, visual outlook, reflective mirror room, art strength Joseph Beuys – concept, message in the works, “One must not only transform the creation of paintings or sculptures (or animations), but the entire social form” Jan Svankmajer – concept, master in found objects animation, textures, visual outlooks Dinara Kasko – concept of combining architect design with culinary art Marina Abromovic – compelling and powerful concept, her work can always touch my soul Coco Chanel – courage of being unique, classic, visual outlook, simplicity, concept

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

ZL : Project Relation ship is the fusion and hybrid of manifold mediums. The visual outlook of this project is surreal and intricate at the same time you can see different influences from various fields on story arcs and character as well as set designs. This experimental VR+installation project combines storytelling, philosophy, and biomorphic virtual reality sculpture to allow viewers to experience visceral landscapes exploring the relationship between static exteriors and micro worlds hidden beneath the surface. Audio intertwines space, scale and sensations by magnifying the subtle sounds created by jewelry, chimes, three-stringed instruments, and ambient sounds. Ultimately the viewer will be left with a more intimate understanding of how worlds can be perceived differently depending on your vantage point.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

ZL : Think big and never give up is for sure the big part of it. It requires passion and Patience. Besides that, the abilities in time management, problem-solving skill, and communication with people are all crucial to achieve your goals. And most important of all, artist and designer should always look at own work in different “distance” and go back and forth few times to adjust so that you can get “big picture” as well as “small details” for creating great work.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

ZL : I may become a chef or physical/psychological therapist.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

ZL : For me design is transferring imagination and inspiration into reality or visual experience. In other words, it’s a process of sculpting ideas which requires to put multiple layers of ideation together and later trim them down to accomplish the best interpretation.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

ZL : My biggest supporter is my family especially my mother so that I can develop my art and design with professional training and thought-provoking education.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

ZL : Think big and never give up. Set manageable and practical production schedule. Feed myself with great art, design, knowledge from diverse fields.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

ZL : self-doubt, fear, attacks or doubt from other people

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

ZL : Present their work in unconventional way and make people explore and think deep-down.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

ZL : Multi-sensory, transdisciplinary, mixed-media installation, collage concept art, craft

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

ZL : Thought provoking and help people with social function of works.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

ZL : Can see things in different altitude and perspective.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

ZL : Thought provoking and help people with social function of works.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

ZL : I help and freelance on two work-in-progress projects lately. One is the stop-motion film project-“MAD GOD” directed by Phil Tippett which give me a chance to work closely with this legendary filmmaker and vfx wizard. I help with some experimental shooting and compositing which serve as pre-viz and experiment in the film production which been developing for more than three decades. The other is the interactive project led by artist Juri Hwang. She has this idea and been developing research aspect of this multisensory sound repairing interactive device for children- “Sound Toy for EJ” for many years. And I am responsible as creative director for visual design and character development. Besides, I work as art and film teacher and creative director at Oasis Trilingual Community School. Students develop their own script and turn into short film, which is very original, creative, wild and at the same time very challenging. It’s an amazing experience for me to work with kids and dig into all kinds of possibilities in visual, props and costumes design.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

ZL : Current project Relation ship is the fusion and hybrid of manifold mediums. The visual outlook of this project is surreal and intricate at the same time you can see different influences from various fields on story arcs and character as well as set designs. This experimental VR+installation project combines storytelling, philosophy, and biomorphic virtual reality sculpture to allow viewers to experience visceral landscapes exploring the relationship between static exteriors and micro worlds hidden beneath the surface. Audio intertwines space, scale and sensations by magnifying the subtle sounds created by jewelry, chimes, three-stringed instruments, and ambient sounds. Ultimately the viewer will be left with a more intimate understanding of how worlds can be perceived differently depending on your vantage point.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

ZL : More people can work transdisciplinary and push the boundaries more. And not only satisfied with certain way/format/platform/technology to create works.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

ZL : Transdisciplinary cooperation

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

ZL : Most of my multimedia installation projects take 1-2 years to accomplish. And the individual artworks or objects vary from 1 week to 1 month. It all depends on the intensities and scope of the projects.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

ZL : My design process normally starts with something “tangible” like found objects or drawings. Meanwhile, I do a lot of research into philosophical concepts to assist me in evolving and expanding my ideas to support the context of the work. As soon as my concept and experiment phase takes shape, and once I have a primary direction established, I move towards more technical issues, then I will set a clear production schedule for fulfilling the project.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

ZL : Push boundaries as hard as you can

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

ZL : Art and Design sets the trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

ZL : Technology plays significant role in binding physical and virtual contents together. And I specifically want to mention about a technique, photogrammetry which used a lot in this project “Relation Ship”. The technique photogrammetry can transfer physical object into virtual 3D model which may be defined as the art, science, and technology of obtaining reliable first-hand information about physical objects

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

ZL : It varies from projects to projects but generally I used Dragonframe Stop-Motion software, Adobe Suite like After Effects, Premiere, Camera Raw, Photoshop, Illustrator. And for the project “Relation Ship” I also use Cricut, Agisoft Photogrammetry Software, Maya, Redshift, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, 2K Projection System, etc.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

ZL : I normally inspired by the texture of materials and started building things with found objects to create forms and shapes. Later on I’ll play with lighting and look under the camera to decide ambient and adjust the color.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

ZL : What are your future plans for this award-winning design?

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

ZL : I’ll feel moved, inspired and motivate me to achieve more.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

ZL : My ideal design partner is someone who has strong ability in programming and computing. And I do believe the value of co-design but it still requires one person direct the project and have vision towards it.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

ZL : scientists, professors, peers

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

ZL : The Visible and the Invisible by Merleau Ponty Art Forms in Nature by Ernst Haekel

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

ZL : Constantly updating and trying different things. When you are doing something you passionate about it sometimes means suffering. And you also need to do something you don’t feel comfortable with sometimes to make things happened. The most important thing is always tackling big problem first and digging into the small details.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

ZL : I would want to meet with Coco Chanel.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

ZL : I do feel it’s not easy to be famous in a way that I have to answer many questions and think a lot of different things. And many things will happen at the same time which really need to think straight and react quick.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

ZL : My favorite color is black, place is Venice, food is sushi, and brand is Chanel

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

ZL : One time my customer asked me to make an animated short film with abundance visual effects in three days

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

ZL : Go swimming in the early morning can motivate myself

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

ZL : Yes. When I was in the kindergarten, every kids in the class like my drawing styles and the way I design eyes and so they will mimic and follow the way I do.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

ZL : Human being will be able to store memories and consciousness in the facilities

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

ZL : n/a

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

ORIGINALLY FROM TAIWAN, I BEGAN AS A FINE ARTIST INVESTIGATING REALISM IN PAINTING AND DRAWING. MY WORK HAS EVOLVED INTO MULTIMEDIA WORKS EXAMINING THE EXISTENCE OF MATTER AND THE TENSION BETWEEN THE PERCEIVED “SURFACE LAYER” AND AN IMAGINED “FLOWING UNDERLYING LAYER.” I EXAMINE THIS TENSION IN DIVERSE SUBJECT MATTER UTILIZING COLLAGED PHYSICAL EVERYDAY OBJECTS AND ORGANIC TEXTURES. I AM INTERESTED IN THE DUALITY OF WHAT YOU SEE VERSUS WHAT LIES UNDERNEATH.


Relation Ship Stop Motion VR Multimedia Installation

Relation Ship Stop Motion VR Multimedia Installation by Zoey Lin

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