Thursday, July 31, 2008

my journey - graphic design (part 2)

Lets back track to the Christmas prior to the YC conference. During the Christmas Holiday, I had the idea of designing a graphic T-shirt for everyone as a gift. I had the idea, but it didn't progress to the final product for various reasons and that idea didn't become a reality....until....

Soon after the conference, my youth pastor came up to me and started talking about BBC, and asked me if I could design the t-shirt for that year's conference. I was quite shock because that was what I wanted to do, but this was even more exciting because it was for a conference, not just our church. From there onwards, I had become CPC's graphic designer. From there, was able to gain a lot of experience doing "real" work. School work was good, but something on the side like this really built my confidence and allowed me to serve my God with the gifting He has given me.

Ever since that conference, I did quite well in school. I gave it my all and trusted God instead of second guessing. Close to the end of second year of university, I met Sam. He was one of the worship assistance at church. It turned out that he works at a graphic design firm called Anthem. I asked if they hire any students to do part-time. He said usually they don't, but he could give in a try and gave my resume to the creative director. I didn't have high hopes for it, but I thought why not just give it a try. I didn't hear from until at the end of the summer, I received a phone call and asked if I would be interested to go in for an interview. I told that lady that I have to go back to school, and she said that's okay, maybe when you are done school. That was the end of our conversation. Although I didn't get into Anthem or even went for an interview, I kept that company name in the back of my head.

During the third year of my program, we had to finish an internship placement at the end of the year. We had to get into groups and interview a design company as well. When we were discussing where we should go for the interview, I suggested Anthem. To my surprise, everyone was cool with it, and guess what? Anthem was cool with it as well. We had a pretty good interview with them and I believe we made a good impression. Finally, we had to all look for firms where they would accept us as an intern. With no doubt, I thought of Anthem. With no complications, they hired me and I was working for them right the term ended. I was only supposed to be there for a 2 or weeks to fulfill the requirements of the the degree, but I wanted to gain more experience so I asked if I could stay for the rest of the summer. I must say it was God's intervention and God's grace, they said yes almost right away. During that season I thought I was dreaming. Everything was going so smoothly like it was all planned out for me. Well, now that I think about it now, God planned it all out for me. He makes my path straight.

At the end of the summer, I didn't want to go back to school for my last year of university. I was having so much fun and was gaining so much more experience. I learned so much in those few months that surpassed all the knowledge I learned in university for those 3 years. I loved the place but I had to go back to school. They didn't want me to go either, but I had to. It was a sad good-bye. The studio manager asked me to leave my school schedule with her so I could call me up and do some freelancing while I am at school. From what I know, normally they don't do that. They would not hire a student freelance to work for them like that. It wasn't really a good-bye after all. I occasionally would freelance for them, and during Christmas, I had a whole month off from school and I worked for them that entire month. It was like I never left the company. I thought it was too good to be true. I couldn't believe it.

At the end of fourth year, I had my design show and I invited Anthem to this gala. The studio manager made a point that she will show up at my show. The show goes on for a few days, and there is a day where is dedicated for the designers from the industry to come and view our work. Some people would get hired on the spot. Obviously we all worked very hard for that day in the hopes of getting hired. On that day, the studio manager came, as she promised. She was one of the first people that came to the show. She told me she made sure she came and get a hold of me because she didn't want me to work for other companies. She asked me to go back to Anthem to work for them. Obviously I was DELIGHTED! I couldn't be more blessed. I couldn't believe everything was working out so well. I pray that as I continue on this path, He will continue to guide me and show me more exciting things :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

my journey - graphic design (part 1)

My story begins when I was a kid in Hong Kong, possibly grade 2 or 3. It was the moon festival and my father bought a traditional lantern for me. It was made out of "glass paper" in the shape of a horse. One evening, I took a piece of paper and a pencil and started drawing it. I can't remember why I wanted to draw it, but what I remember was my mother looked at my drawing and she was amazed, because it looked so similar to the lantern. Did I learn how to draw the horse from someone else or if i took drawing lessons? No. It may sound like it's just an ordinary drawing to most people, but I still remember that moment vividly. I believe, that's where my journey began.

Years gone by, and I fell in love with art. Not only in drawing and painting, but also in dancing, photography...I find joy in doing any of these things. During my last year of middle school, I began taking art lessons from a man whom my friend recommended. Soon after I started taking lessons, my mom suggested to apply for the art program, Claude Watson, in the high school I was going to. At that time, I didn't have any work that was presentable, let alone a portfolio. I worked really hard with my art teacher, but at the end, I didn't make it. It didn't really bother me because I knew I wasn't ready. The year after, I tried out again. I didn't make it either. I tried out for that program twice during the 4 year of high school. Guess what? I didn't make it. By the end, I must say I was a little discouraged. The last time I tried out for the program was when I was in grade 11. After the last attempt, I began to question whether I should really be going into art. I thought this was the path I should be taking, but it seemed like it wasn't working out or I wasn't good enough after all. Like every other grade 11 high school student, we had to start thinking about what career path to take, how I could get there, which university I should be studying...and so on. On one hand I was quite confused, but on the other I had a strong feeling that I should go into arts.

My mother was always very cautious about my marks, reason being I was extremely poor in science and math, it was so bad that I dropped science after grade 10 and spent at least 3 hours each week with my personal math tutor. I did all the questions in the textbook so that I'd be more prepared and have more practices, but when tests and quizzes came...either I fail it or get extremely low mark..barely passing. That eliminated a lot of different career fields.

When it was time to pick programs and universities, my mother made sure I picked everything I could possibly take, from social work, to early childhood education, education, to journalism, and of course to design. I ended up applying for close to 20 programs, just to be sure that I would get into "something". While all this was going on, struggling with my marks and applications, I spent months preparing my portfolio. At the end, to our surprise, I got into every program I applied for except for one. It was really God's grace. We were delighted but it was a problem as well...with that many program, which one do I pick? My mom really wanted me to go into education...but for myself, I knew design was right for me.

There was a lot of whispering, people talking behind my back after I had picked design. My grandma, my aunts, uncles thought it was a wrong choice, simply because it was art. They thought I wouldn't make a living out of it, nor would I be able to succeed. But thank God for my parents, they stood by me and believed in me.

I stepped into my first year at York/Sheridan design full of zeal, but soon after I realized how little did I know about design. I knew basically...nothing. I almost failed first year. Nothing was going well for me first year. I had so much trouble even though I worked extremely hard. I began to ask God if I had made a mistake. I knew I was supposed to be in design, but I was very shaken up that I needed a confirmation. I needed to know for sure without a doubt. I prayed extremely hard and God answered my prayer.

Every year, our church would go to a Youth conference in May. That year specifically I asked God to show me my destiny. I desperately needed to know. During the conference, one of the session talked about calling and destiny. I listened attentively to the speaker. At the end of his preaching, he prayed for people's calling and destiny. In my heart I told God, "Lord, this is it, You've GOT to tell me. Let me know what it is. I KNOW You are speaking to me." The pastor told us to pray as he speaks out different careers and positions and stand up if you know it's you. We bowed our hearts, and he started praying and prophesying. He started speaking out different work positions-doctors, missionaries, lawyers... As he named these positions, my heart pounded so fast, and I prayed desperately, "God, please say it..please...". Then all of a sudden the pastor said "graphic design". Without even thinking, I jumped up automatically, my whole body started sweating and tears came falling down like a waterfall. I will never forget that moment. I was so sure that that was it. I am called to be a graphic designer.

Ever since that day, everything changed. How did it change? Find out in my next blog :P That's when God paved the way for my career path...til this day, with opportunities, favors, and much more.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

going home

i've been thinking about this a lot. i am still not sure...but i think i will be..going home. am i becoming better? not quite. are my parents' relationship better? somewhat. will there be arguments? for sure. is my relationship with my mom better? definitely. i think that's what i want the most. i can give up any relationship with other people but i can't toss away my relationship with my mom. she has her problems, and so does everyone else...just mebbe hers is harder to deal with. regardless how she is, i still want to be with her. when i think about her each time, it makes me want to cry. she and dad are the only people will will always accept me and love me no matter how i am. i understand how much she misses me, and how much she wants to be with me, see me everyday, know everything about me. she wants to know is because she cares, she loves. i think i have understand more of a mother's heart for her child. she has a lot of flaws, and so do i. but if she can accept me, accept my past, looks forward to my future, i want to do the same.

no one can ever love me more than my family does. no one.