● Hi Xiang, your work Apple Watch Is a Private Roadhas been nominated forThe Year In Illustration inThe New York Times. Could you tell us your idea behind this work? What inspired you to create this?
Answer: The shape of the watch reminds me of a valve. The empty space inside a closed watchband is like an open path. When the watch turns90°，its surface will block the path.Therefore, the watch itself transforms into a gate.
● How long have you been working together with NYT？
Answer: I have worked with them since last September. I create designs for both Tech, Book Review, Option, and Business departments in NYT.
● We knew your illustrations Quarantine Testimony ha sbeen selected by Google. What inspired you to create Quarantine Testimony?
Answer: I found a video filmed by a mayor in Italy. He complained about citizenssudden love for outdoor activities after quarantine started and he critized people dontfollow governments instruction during the lock-downperiod. I found it quite interesting- forcing people to do something makes them want itmore. So I want to make a video todepict what people would do when they have to stayat home all day. I wish people findthis video rateable, and reconsider what activitiesthey could do in the pandemic.
● Tell us what kinds of storyQuarantine Testimony talk sabout?
Answer：：It's always harder to get started with some work when you're at home. So I have some scenarios when the character attempts to start something but fails quickly - tries to do yoga and be more healthy but gets hurt from yoga; seeks for compassion from friends but gets mocked; eats pizza on the bed but pizza falls on its face... those small failures become into a normal day in quarantine.
● Most of your work is abstract and artistic. For example,Use A Leaf To Cover TheEyeis a story about a Chinese idiom and you use abstractgraphics to depict thestory. Could you tell us some thoughts behind thiswork？
Answer: Sure.Use A Leaf To Cover The Eyeis derivedfrom a Chinese idiom in which aman believed that a leaf was magic and could makehuman beings invisible. So, herecovered that particularly magic leaf and placedit on one of his eyes. He then went to astore to steal but was caught immediately. I use abstractgraphics to highlight the major conflict of the story and applied authentic Chinese painting styles throughout the entire work. I want to remind people not to neglect the blueprint, especially in the face of tinydetails.
● It looks like your design style is developing anda little different from your previouscreation, for example, Biophilia.Why do you havethe change?
Answer:Biophiliais more like my experimental project. It displays a therapeutic journeyof a sense of satisfaction because I want to know when and how people will feel satisfied. Therefore, I elevate the sensory experience by looping3D animations and therapeutic ASMR sounds. Both repetitive flower loops and meltingsquare cubes carry viewers intoa world of bliss. However, during the quarantine, I focus more on our reality and want tointegrate my design concept with topics people experiencing every day. I feel thateveryone has been changing because of the COVID-19 and maybe, I am one of them.
● You are Adjunct Faculty at Maryland Institute Collegeof Art. What kinds of classesyou are teaching now?
Answer: I'm teaching Graduate Motion Graphics at the MICA Graphic Design MFA program. The projects in this class are divided into3 major sections: storytelling, branding, and UI/UX. I hope to provide students witha space to develop a personal andsustainable way to deal with new technologies. Studentsare encouraged to achieve theirgoals by all kinds of methods: from traditional animationto generative art.
Whats your plan for the next five years?
Answer:I want to use motion design to record my personal story and I definitely will do it. Motion design is not only about moving objects but expressing emotion in our daily life. I hope I will be able to create my own storyvia motion design one day.