Alan Lu Jiang is an illustrator, motion, and graphic designer currently based in L.A. His work has received recognition from the Graphis New Talent (platinum, gold, & silver winner), AOI World Illustration Award, 3×3 International Illustration Show, International Motion Art Awards, and Creative Quarterly 65 (graphic design winner and 100 Best Annual 2021). With an initial focus on surface and textile design, Alan discovered motion design and became fascinated with storytelling. He brings his knowledge in surface and textile design into his work through the usage of bold patterns, and playful colors that convey optimism. He loves creating chemistry with designs by fusing surface design with motion to make impactful imagery.
We would love to hear how the journey has been so far. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was originally born in Tianjin, China and immigrated to the U.S. with my family. As a first-generation immigrant, I have encountered many challenges and struggles in integrating into a new culture. However, I eventually overcame these struggles and this experience allowed me to view things from two different perspectives, and ultimately shaped my artistic style of blending the Eastern and Western cultures together.
There was a point when I was really sure that I wanted to study fashion design. In my sophomore year of high school, I went to a fashion design program at a local college and I realized that I only enjoyed drawing fashion figures rather than making patterns and sewing fabrics. I feel extremely lucky to have supportive parents who encourage me not to give up on art. Knowing that I still have an interest in drawing, I decided to study illustration for my undergraduate degree at ArtCenter College of Design. There are indeed so many talented artists at ArtCenter and I was really unconfident with my works in the beginning. I began to question myself about what I really wanted to do in my future career and decided to take classes from different academic tracks. Under the mentorship of Elaine Alderette, Ming Tai, and Fiona Blankenship, I discovered my interest in motion and graphic design, and began my education in motion graphics.
What brings you to art? What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I grew up in a family where everyone appreciates art; particularly my mom, who studied Bel Canto and also has a good taste in art. My parents discovered my artistic talent when I was four. It all started when I made my first “graffiti” on the living room wall that eventually expanded into a large utopian cityscape with flying cars, skyscrapers, and so on. I believe art should make people feel enjoyment, so I always design with playful colors that convey happiness and optimism.
What does “community” mean to you? How do you see yourself in a community?
I think community is about people interacting and helping each other out. In motion design, people work together as a team towards the same goal. Everyone has different tasks and is always collaborating together to make something impressive. People will also critique each other’s work and offer suggestions that will make improvements.
Is there any topic or theme that you have been particularly interested in lately?
Besides being a graphic designer, I create illustrations for motion graphics and also design motifs for textiles and wallpapers. I grew up in a Buddhist family and love to incorporate Asian cultures into my illustrations by utilizing color palettes and Eastern cultural elements with different meanings. I always find inspiration by observing things from everyday life, such as nature and the details of architecture. I also have a great affection for botanical and floral elements, and often combine them to create fantastical imagery.
Do you have any advice that you would offer to others?
One piece of advice that I would offer to others is always be brave to try something new, and venturing outside of your comfort zone always brings growth and often a new opportunity.
text & photo courtesy of Alan Lu Jiang