The HISTORY CompetitionFinalist David Chen

Aniboom and The HISTORY Channel's People Speak Competition continues to roll along (Wildcard Submissions Now being Accepted!) and now we're taking the opportunity to meet our Finalists!  Animators all over the world sent in incredible History Animations, animating original art over great speeches from History read by artists and actors including Matt Damon, Stacey-Ann Chin, Bruce Springsteen, and Josh Brolin.  Now, let's meet animator David Chen, whose animation "Patriotism For Scoundrels" has made big waves within the competition.

Tell me a little about yourself:

I studied in the animation program at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design (I guess now known as Emily Carr University of Art + Design) in Vancouver, Canada. After graduating, I somehow stumbled into the visual effects industry and have been working as a compositor / roto / paint / whateverpaysthebills artist on feature films, TV series, and commercials for the past 3 or 4 years...with the last two years working in China.

Why did you decided to participate in The History Channel Competition?

I thought the content was interesting, haven't seen a lot of competitions that focus on these types of subject. Or maybe I've just been out of the loop. Also because working in the industry has pretty much drained all my creativity, I figured it would be a good way to get my brain up and running again.

What did you like about the competition?

Again, the content of the speeches. I think it's worthwhile to listen to all of them. And to see everyone's own interpretation.

How did it feel to become a Finalist?

Like finding that glazed donut you had forgotten about sitting in your back pocket, exciting and well worth the effort. There were a lot of submissions that had really great ideas and techniques. So really didn't think I would become a finalist.

Who are some of your influences?

There's way too many. My biggest influence would probably be Japanese anime and manga. It's something I grew up with, though I tend to avoid that anime look. But everything from their ideas, timing, to their sense of humor has had a major influence on the stuff I do. It's also hard for me to sit through anything too serious, so I guess that also goes for my own work. The whole hip hop culture also had a big impact. It's partly why animation and motion graphics intrigues me so much. They both have a similar type of flow and rhythm. In the case of the History Channel Competition, my main influences came from airplane instructional pamphlets, some old infomercials, etc. It was kind of random for me to choose these things. I figured the images looked pretty...and would probably make a nice contrast to the speech. The music was really influential in the creative process as well. Finding music that I felt worked with the speech made the whole process more organic. This applies to pretty much any project I work on.

What kind of technique do you like to use?

Traditional animation...on singles...with white sand under my feet, and the South China Sea to my right. But I've been doing a lot of digital stuff since graduating, which I also like a lot. Mostly compositing or motion graphics.

What’s next for you?

Ideally, I'd like to go back to school and learn some more hands on stuff. Like woodwork or something of that sort. Also have a few personal animation projects that I want to start working on. If all fails, I'll resort to drawing on cardboard boxes.

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