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Fidan decided to talk to Chris.

Chris Hamamoto is a designer and Assistant Professor at Seoul National University.

First of all, I’d like to introduce you to our class. Can you tell us about yourself quickly, specifically your childhood and later on academic background?

I was born in California and pretty much lived there my whole life. I’ve studied graphic design as an undergrad in a research university. I enjoyed it but the program was much shorter than an average design school. After undergrad I started working as a front-end programmer and a graphic designer but I wasn’t doing the type of work that I wanted to do or I felt like I did not have the skill or background to do the design that I wanted to do so I went to grad school and then after 2 years I’ve done a degree and later worked as a designer at tech companies and small design studios. at the time I started teaching at California school of art as a part time faculty and eventually became a full time faculty before coming Seoul.

Speaking about childhood, do you think that the dreams when you were a kid led you to the profession you have now?

I never really had a strong dream, it was more like I had certain things I liked doing as drawing and animation, illustration and played video games. I used the camera on the game boy to make animations. At some point of my life I knew I wanted to be an animator but I never pursued it. There was a lot of stuff that I enjoyed doing but then I understood that graphic design combined a lot of these interests.

Who did you want to be when were a child?

I’ve been going through phases where I was interested in types of jobs, for example when I was a little kid, I was interested in comic books, which I didn’t read but just mimicked the drawings and at that time I thought I want to be a comic book artist. Yoshitaka Amano was one of the artists that I admired.

Did you have any idols? Apart from comic book illustrators?

It sort of changes overtime for me. V Vale In San Francisco, he publishes a lot of cultural music, videos and they have done lots f videos on YouTube and tv show. I admire his outlook on life, his guidelines and principles for the artistic life like surrealism and DIY culture. Moreover, I’m half Japanese half American and he is Japanese American and even though his personal background is different from mine, there are certain things in my family that he may also went through.

I’ve heard people say that we, artists, signers, musicians should not wait for inspiration to find us. Do you agree with this statement? Is inspiration crucial when you are working?

When I was in my 20s and being an undergrad I thought that there is this moment of inspiration that would come to people and that was how you worked creative, all of a sudden you would get the idea to work. I’ve come to believe that we are all being constantly being inspired and mixing those things up in our minds, for me the older I get it gets easier to reduce the barrier,

What makes a good designer?

I think that depends on the values that you have. For example for a lot of people, the designer for all apple products, Jony Ive, would say he's the best designer because he was able to create products that many people value and want to buy.

I personally value communication and how people express themselves over the amount of products one may sell, and admired designers who are empathatic and discipline is also important to me.

Do you think that environment we surround ourselves by plays role when it comes to work of creating something?

Definitely yes. But also, you forget where you are wen you are doing the creative work and at the same time if you don’t have a certain space to work that may be difficult to work. Knowing the place where you work may shift your mind to being productive. It’s different for everybody but I value time spent by myself, I have a library at home and at my office.

If there would be any piece of motivation you could pass onto design students, what would it be?

Find what you really enjoy doing, even though its hardest part in life to ignore this out. For me understanding that you don’t necessarily need to do it for your whole lifetime is crucial. Be responsible, be a good co-worker and a friend.

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