Ted Chin is a digital artist & professional photographer based in San Francisco,CA. He uses photography and photoshop to tell fantasy stories.
With his skill, Ted has worked with Adobe, Apple, Warner Bros, Honda, Redbull…etc different companies to work on creative ad. Ted was also invited to a Tedx Talk in 2018. His art work was also showed in Hong Kong, Paris , and San Francisco galleries. Social media is where Ted mainly showcase his art work with his worldwide audience. [Official Website]
I’d like to begin this interview with a general overview of your work. I was fascinated when I saw some of the images, recognizing most from shared posts on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. In comparison with many other digital artists that I have come across, what I found stuck out from your work was a really clear understanding of when to not overcomplicate your subject. Would you say that as a digital artist it’s just as important knowing when to stop editing and when the main subject of your piece doesn’t require any more work? Furthermore, have you ever encountered a situation in which you found it difficult to stop editing?
I remember when I first started drawing, I wanted to fill up the paper as much as I could. I liked to let my imagination run wild and let it take over the paper. One day when I was working on an art project in college, I remember my professor walked by and said: “sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.”
I started to study other artists’ work and try to see how I can make my work simple but still send a strong message. After lots of practicing and experimenting, I found my style and balanced it more between complex and simple visuals. I like the subtle “unfinished” touch in some of my work. Maybe it’s better to leave a little bit of space on the canvas for me and the audience’s imagination.
On your website, you have a specific section dedicated to portraits. (Some of which have already been edited but not all). I’d like to ask if this collection of images are the beginnings of future concepts or ideas? Do you produce photographs under this category that will eventually become digital renditions?
I actually haven’t been updating my website for a while. The main reason I have it is to show people that I can also shoot portraits in case they were wondering.
I’d like to know what your process is when preparing an idea and or concept? Of course, a lot of work goes into the preparation of each piece, (especially if you are creating digital pieces for specific campaigns like the recent Puma campaign). However, I would love to know a brief rundown of how you work. Whether this entails portraiture sessions, research on various artists beforehand or photographing landscapes before digital manipulation?
I spend a lot of time on the internet and social media to look for inspiration. I saved cool ideas or concepts that I found or followed amazing artists’ work that I encountered with. I then created a mood board with all these amazing ideas, and see what I can take from each one of them and mix it to an idea with my take. Most of the time I do create a mood board for the specific client. This is to make sure we are communicating and sharing the same vision and inspiration. From there, I come up with concepts and get them approved by my clients before I start creating.
One of the subjects that you seem to be quite interested in is the jellyfish. It’s popped in various images as something dominant, almost as if the jellyfish is a kind of dream like giant. Could you tell us a bit about why the jellyfish is such a fascinating subject for you, also if the jellyfish has anything to do with Salvador Dali’s famous melting clocks & the idea of a dreamlike landscape?
Dali is definitely one of my inspirations when I was learning about surreal art. However, jellyfish has nothing to do with his artwork. The gentle floating of clouds and jellyfish creates a sense of calm. Jellyfish breaking free into the sky evokes a feeling of freedom. By combining these two unique elements, I hope to bring a feeling of peace of mind. The idea of a dreamlike landscape is a fun way for me to escape reality. I hope to invite more people into my imagination world and inspire them with my art.
I’m curious to know if you have ever attempted short animation from some of the digital works that you produce. It would be incredible to see the background or main subject of the piece move in come kind of way! Is animation off the table or is this something you might consider in the future?
I have done a few short loop videos with simple movement. However I’m not sure if I’m a big fan of it. If I could I would want to build a 3d scene and loop effect. Or maybe trying to animated it with aftereffects. I would love to try to animated it and hopefully to share the results with you guys soon!
Continuing on from my brief question about surrealism, the notion that your works of art demonstrate dreamlike landscapes, with many of the animals mirroring the environment around them is beautiful. Do surrealist artists such as Dali play a big part in inspiring you or are you far more interested in how ‘film’ particularly those in the sci-fi & fantasy genre play with characters in a landscape? For example, one image that I loved was a clear rendition from the sci-fi film ‘Arrival’…
I’m heavily influenced with surreal artists and filmmakers from around the world. Growing up in Taiwan I read a lot of manga and watched a lot of anime and cartoons. I’m also a big fan of studio Ghibli’s films. ?When I was in college I started to learn more about Dali, Magritte, Man Ray, and other surreal artists’ work. Banksy is also one of my inspirations too. I would say these are my foundation and every new movie/films/art that I came across everyday are my new influence and inspiration. I feel blessed that I can find new art and also get to create them everyday.
Concluding this interview with my final question: Is there any advice you would give to those photographers & digital artists who wish to produce work at this calibre? I’d also like to say a big thanks for your time in answering my questions and it was a pleasure to see your work!
I think most of us worried too much before we even started. I would say just go ahead and try to create things you like. From there is just a lot of practice and problem solving. Also don’t forget to have fun and keep creating!
Thank you for this opportunity!
A recent MA graduate from the University of Lincoln, Francesco has now focused on landscape photography as the basis of his photographic platform. An author for DODHO magazine, Francesco’s interest in documentary photography has turned to writing and has had various articles, interviews and book reviews published on platforms such as: ‘All About Photo.com’, ‘Float Magazine’ and ‘Life Framer Magazine’. Currently on a photographic internship, Francesco has most recently been involved in the making of a short film titled: ‘No One Else’, directed by Pedro Sanchez Román and produced my Martin Nuza.