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A Look At Motion Graphic Designer’s Fusion of Eastern Dao Wisdom and Western Animation Techniques

“My multicultural background enabled me to see the world from different perspectives. I’ve used it to form motion graphic art that’s new and refreshing to the eyes,” mentions Chanjue Yu, a motion graphic designer at MAJORITY who seamlessly blends her two different cultures in one platform. 

Artists elevate the ordinary to the sublime in art, drawing upon many influences. While the allure of nature, historical events, and global happenings have consistently captivated many, a profoundly personal well of inspiration often infuses their creative tapestry: individual experiences.

The cultural backdrop an artist grows up in, the connections they engage with, and the myriad moments they gather throughout their life frequently form the most compelling tales behind their creations. Such is the story of Chanjue Yu, whose personal journeys, deeply anchored in Chinese traditions and enriched by her experiences in the US, have molded her viewpoint and breathed life into her animations.

These distinct personal journeys in a landscape teeming with artists allow one to carve a niche and infuse a signature touch into familiar animations.

The Turning Point in Yu’s Life

Growing up, Yu was more accustomed to piano keys, a path envisioned by her mother. Yet, destiny had a different tune in store. Her outstanding performance in Shanghai’s national art college entrance examination, placing her among the elite candidates, was a game-changer. 

“That achievement was the key to my dream university, opening doors to the world of graphic design. It was a pivotal moment that deeply influenced my artistic journey and carved out my professional trajectory,” the artist reflects.

While majoring in graphic design in college, Yu became interested in motion graphics. She embarked on a self-education journey without formal training, immersing herself in online resources and reference materials. Her dedication bore fruit when she joined a renowned branding firm in China post-graduation. However, there was a pull toward more profound mastery. She boldly decided to leave her established position and head to the U.S. for advanced studies in motion graphics.

“This choice was a risk yet a testament to my commitment to growth and excellence, showcasing my determination to delve deeper and refine my craft,” she emphasizes.

Animations From Both Worlds

Drawing from the West, Yu incorporates contemporary artistic techniques, from visual representations and vibrant color palettes to cutting-edge animation methodologies. Yet, her work is not merely a showcase of design; it is filled with profound philosophical depth. Delving into rich Eastern thought and deep insights into the concepts of Dao, she brings the essence of emptiness and the intrinsic beauty of the natural world into her animations. 

As she combines these techniques, the result is an art that captivates the eye and resonates with the two great cultural traditions seamlessly woven together. This is further manifested in her animations, not mere visual spectacles but captures of life’s fleeting moments. She transforms these mundane moments into captivating animated tales, sharing her vision with a global audience via social media platforms. 

Her Instagram reveals a portfolio of everyday moments reimagined as vibrant and eye-catching animations. From a whimsical portrayal of a lobby boy and the unexpected emergence of an ant from a slice of bread to the endearing sight of her pets engrossed in television, each piece is a testament to her imaginative prowess. She’s even breathed life into alphabets, intertwining them with eclectic design elements.

Yu shares, “My canvas is a play of contrasts. I harness bold, opposing colors and amplify visual components, drawing from the surrealists’ playbook to create a deliberate visual disruption. By manipulating the pace and rhythm, I invite viewers to immerse themselves in the dynamic dance of hues, to unique pieces that resonate with them on a profound level.”

Creative Adaptability in Change

In a world turned upside down by the pandemic, the mundane and everyday moments that Yu often captured in her animations underwent a seismic shift. Yet, her artistic spirit remained undeterred. Recognizing the collective emotional yearning, she channeled her creativity into an animated film, “An Honest Meditation.”

2020 was marked by unprecedented challenges, pushing many to seek solace in humor and adopt a defiant ‘to heck with it!’ stance as a coping mechanism. Yu, however, saw an opportunity to shine a light on resilience and hope. In ‘An Honest Meditation,’ she endeavored to depict the human spirit’s tenacity, juxtaposing life’s trials with humor and optimism. The film’s intricate visuals and light-hearted audio masterfully highlight the dichotomy of life’s struggles and the human capacity for hope.

“I am happy that specific award-giving bodies recognized my work,” Yu shares. “It testifies how many relate to this medication film’s emotions, a collective yearning for humor and joy amid struggle. I am proud I can do that through my art.”

Going Back to the Heart of Art

“Art, in any form, reflects the times,” the artist claims. “As the world becomes more interconnected, it’s up to us, the creators, to craft narratives that resonate, that bridge gaps, and celebrate our shared humanity.”

In a time where digital art often risks losing its soul, artists like Chanjue Yu remind people of the power of authenticity. Her work is not just a visual feast; it’s a journey, a dialogue, a celebration of cultures. And as the motion graphics industry hurtles forward, one can’t help but wonder what other boundaries she’ll push, what other narratives she’ll craft, and what other worlds she’ll create.

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