Annual No.16: Gary Powell Young Illustrator Award Winner: Yen-Chen Liu

We’re pleased to announce the first recipient of the Gary Powell Young Illustrator Award, Yen-Chen Liu.

Our 3x3 Student Show Winners were eligible for this special award honoring illustrator/educator Gary Powell. This year’s judging was completed by his esteemed colleagues Roderick Mills, Dr. Ed D’Souza, Dave Williams and Andrew (Foz) Foster. We’re pleased to add that Yen-Chen was the unanimous choice of the group.

View Yen-Chen’s winning project→

Interview with Yen-Chen Liu

When did your interest in art begin?

I think it started when I was a kid. I loved to watch Japanese cartoons and I would draw the characters I liked.

Who were some of your early influences? Artists, animators, designers, writers?

Artist Egon Schiele and animator Koji Yamamura

When did you decide that illustration and animation were something you wanted to pursue?

I don’t remember the exact timing, but I think it’s when I was in college. I majored in animation and began to learn more about design and illustration.

Tell us about your winning project? What was the genesis of the idea?

It’s from my personal experience of my grandfathers death when I was seven.

What was the process?

I presented a short pitch about the Taiwanese funeral to my classmates at the beginning of the semester and after that my teammates and I worked on the story together.

Who were the other participants? What part did they play?

The group was Zozo, Tena, Marine, Ellis and myself. Everyone had the role of director, I was the art director of the film and Ellis was the lead animator. We had different tasks during the different stages of the film. In the beginning, Zozo, Tena and me were mainly in charge of visual development; Marine and Ellis were doing the storyboard and the animatic. In production, Zozo and me were responsible for background painting. Ellis, Marine and Tena were completing the animation.

What has the response been?

The film has received wide recognition in film festivals in Europe, Asia and now America. We are pleased that audiences can relate to our film's message.

After graduation what do you hope to do next?

I hope I’ll complete my new short film and continue doing illustration as well.

Illustrator Gary Powell (1962–2017) established a significant national and international reputation working on numerous projects spanning across editorial, design, advertising and multimedia. His work was selected for the Royal Mail’s Millennium Stamp Collection alongside 48 top image-makers of Great Britain that included such luminaries as David Hockney, Peter Blake, Bridget Riley, Ralph Steadman and Howard Hodgkin. His commercial clients included Hewlett Packard, Royal Mail, New Yorker magazine, Peter Gabriel Limited, Penguin, Siemans, Diet Zeit magazine, GQ, Saatchi & Saatchi to name a few. He received recognition from the D&AD, Creative Review, Design Week, Illustration Now and Amnesty International.

As an esteemed educator he was an instructor in the master of arts communication design illustration program at his alma mater Central St Martins in London for more than 20 years, and served as the head of the first year bachelor of arts illustration program at the University of Brighton for nearly 25 years. Gary had also served as an external examiner at the Royal College of Art, Chelsea School of Art, London College of Communication, Camberwell College of Arts, among others. In recognition of his achievements Powell was made a patron of the Association of Illustrators in 1999.