Interview with Luao Liu from United States

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Luao Liu

Luao Liu, a New York-based 2D animator, takes immense pleasure in dedicating herself to her craft, passionately hoping that her animations will spread joy and delight to all who see them.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner -
Luao Liu

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.
I am a 2D animator living and working in New York.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?

From a very early age, I held a deep fascination for the world of artistic creation. Fortunately, my family was incredibly supportive and open-minded which encouraged me to pursue my studies in the United States. When it came time to choose my major, I didn't want to limit myself to just illustration, so I decided to delve into the realm of animation.

After completing my undergraduate studies, I gained some practical experience by working alongside friends and a documentary filmmaker. During this period, I came to a realization that my professional skills needed further refinement. This realization prompted me to pursue a master's degree which is considered a terminal degree in the arts.

Upon obtaining my master's degree, I embarked on my journey as an independent artist. Each day, I find immense joy in dedicating myself to the work I am passionate about, with the hope that my animations can bring happiness and delight to everyone who experiences them.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I work as a 2D animation designer and my responsibilities encompasses creating intricate frame-by-frame animations tailored for television shows and advertising agencies. In addition to animation, I also play a pivotal role in storyboarding for animated films and crafting the backgrounds that form the backdrop for these captivating animations.
4What does “creativity” mean to you?

As a creator, maintaining a sharp creative instinct and a knack for innovation requires an unwavering commitment to consistently engage in creative work without interruptions.

To me, creativity is akin to tending to a delicate plant. It flourishes gradually and necessitates my devoted attention day in and day out, spanning across many years. The fruits of my labor may not manifest immediately, but it's the neglect and idleness that can swiftly wither the once-vibrant potential of a poorly nurtured plant. That's how I perceive the essence of creativity.

5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?
The process of transforming creativity into design through practice necessitates creators to consistently engage in their craft, embrace errors as learning opportunities, welcome constructive criticism, perpetually refine their work, and, above all, commit to continuous practice.
6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.
I'm not particularly structured or routine-driven. Instead, I often rely on sporadic bursts of high energy and inspiration. When I have a project at hand, I find myself constantly visualizing the project's details and aesthetics in my mind. Then, suddenly, a wave of inspiration washes over me, and I dive into the project with unwavering passion. That's the unique rhythm of my creative process.
7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?
My favorite phase in the creative process is when I solidify the design direction and transition into the practical execution of my ideas. This moment is filled with excitement and enthusiasm, as I embark on turning my concepts into tangible work, is incredibly fulfilling and gratifying to me!
8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.
My creative style tends to lean towards a more holistic approach. I place a higher emphasis on ensuring the overall coherence and harmony of my work, rather than getting bogged down in meticulous attention to specific details.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?
Yes, I take great pride in my country and cultural heritage. During my younger years, I had the privilege of learning Chinese painting and seal carving and these experiences have profoundly influenced and enriched my artistic creations.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
I am deeply honored to have been awarded by the prestigious 2023 MUSE Creative Awards. This recognition holds immense significance in my career, and I am truly grateful for it. Winning in the MUSE Creative Awards carries the potential to elevate my standing and reputation within the creative industry. It serves as a source of motivation and inspires me to continue pushing the boundaries of my creative endeavors.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

I took this project as my first commercial endeavor after graduating marked a significant milestone in my life. Collaborating with I-DAIR was a delightful experience, and the entire film holds profound personal significance for me.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health has been a concern for many of my friends, and when I-DAIR decided to release an explanatory video on World Mental Health Day, it resonated deeply with me. I take great pride in this video and sincerely hope that it contributes to raising awareness about the mental well-being of everyday individuals in our community.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
Managing the entire film project independently posed a substantial challenge, particularly given the time zone differences between the voice actors, I-DAIR, and myself. Coordinating and synchronizing our efforts across varying time zones was indeed a demanding task.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Receiving this award holds immense personal significance for me, and it serves as a powerful source of motivation. It validates my dedication and hard work, and I deeply appreciate the recognition. It's truly rewarding to see my efforts acknowledged in such a meaningful way.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

The industry provides a unique opportunity to connect with a diverse and intriguing network of professionals.

It consistently welcomes fresh and exceptionally talented newcomers.

The prevalent spirit of enthusiasm and mutual support is a standout feature in the industry.

15Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?

The rapid advancement of AI technology initially left me feeling frustrated and somewhat pessimistic due to my limited understanding of the topic. I had concerns that as an artist, my value might be overshadowed or even replaced by AI.

However, through in-depth conversations with friends, mentors, and colleagues, I came to realize that the presence of AI is not entirely negative. In fact, it has the potential to significantly enhance the creative process.

AI can dramatically shorten production cycles, making it possible to bring to life projects that would have previously required large teams and several years to complete. It has the power to swiftly translate ideas into reality. I firmly believe that in the next 5-10 years, we will witness the emergence of streamlined yet highly creative small teams capable of producing exceptional and ambitious works.

This convenient and efficient tool will inject a new level of vibrancy into the entire animation market, breaking the monopoly held by large studios and companies in the animation film industry.

On a personal note, I aspire to embrace this evolving production process and contribute to it. I look forward to sharing stories that were previously untold with a wider audience, thanks to the possibilities offered by AI technology.

16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Don't ever underestimate the power of creating. It's okay to chuckle at your early efforts or offer gentle feedback to others starting out, but always remember that taking that first step into the creative realm is a courageous act.

Whether it's art, writing, or any form of expression, anyone willing to share their creations and thoughts with the world deserves our respect and support.

17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

The period following my graduation marked a prolonged phase of creative dormancy. It seemed as if all my creative abilities had gone into a deep slumber. I halted my production and ceased to create altogether.

This period was a painful and extended one, and it even brought about feelings of shame during my younger days. I hesitated to discuss the time I felt I had wasted. However, having emerged from that phase, I am now willing to share my experience with others.

19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Every day, I draw inspiration from the individuals I encounter in my daily life who exhibit a profound passion for living. For example, this morning during my subway ride, I came across an elderly man who had ingeniously fashioned a paperclip into a makeshift zipper pull after his zipper had broken. I found this small yet resourceful act incredibly charming, and it has ignited my eagerness to incorporate it as a theme in my creative work.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Don't feel ashamed, and don't harbor regrets. Keep creating and never let the creative flame extinguish.
21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Once again, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the judges of the MUSE Creative Awards for giving me the opportunity to showcase my work. I am excited about the prospect of presenting even more gratifying pieces for consideration in the competition next year!

Winning Entry

I-DAIR's Global Research Map (GRM) of Mental Health and Well | 2023


Luao Liu

Luao Liu, a New York-based 2D animator, takes immense pleasure in dedicating herself to her craft, passionately hoping that her animations will spread joy and delight to all who see them.

Read more about this interview with Danial Siddiki from the United States, the Silver Winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards.