By the time Eddie Chu '93 joined St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School in seventh grade, he already knew he wanted to be an artist. His talents led him to graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and a master’s degree in art from Hunter College in New York. His artwork and user experience designs have won many accolades, including a recent Emmy.
Eddie lives in New York City, where he spends time creating art in his studio and working as a user experience designer. His artwork has exhibited widely in locations such as New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Germany, Austria, and Los Angeles, and has received a number of awards and nominations from programs including the Williamsburg Annex Film Festival, the Korean-American Contemporary Arts, Ltd. (KACAL) art show, and the IAAB Studio Exchange. In addition, he has been featured at the MoMA Drawings Department (NYC), the Swiss Institute, and Pierogi 2000.
As a user experience designer, he has designed for some of the country’s top agencies with clients such as Nike, Google, and Verizon. He has worked on apps and mobile products and designed the touchscreen system for Verizon retail stores (including those in the D.C. area) and interactive projections at Nike stores to promote the NikeiD line.
For the past three years Eddie has been working for HBO as an Art Director and Creative Lead. His HBO projects include working on "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld." In 2017 his team won the Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media for a Scripted Series for "Westworld."
He has also co-founded an art collective and is developing a series of exhibitions in NYC around the themes of bias, otherness, and cultural discourse.
Q: How would you describe your job as an artist?
A: My primary responsibility is to be creative. Being creative is a skill, just like any other. So it requires practice and rigor, almost like an athlete or engineer might. When I go into a new project, I try to understand what everyone else is doing, try to see patterns, and then find a meaningful way to break from those things. With creativity, you are asked to do what everyone else isn’t. You need to approach that in a serious, deliberate way.
Q: Our Upper School offers classes in 3D Printing and Modeling and we have 3D printers on each campus. What do you think SSSAS students can learn from these?
A: That's great! Coincidentally, I also have a MakerBot. I have grand plans to make ridiculous things. For now, I'm making a lot of cups. Too many cups. My friends have called a moratorium on cups as gifts. I think the most practical thing SSSAS students will get from it is a working knowledge of 3D modeling. The process of making those models is very particular and has quirks due to how young the technology is. So the earlier one gets in, the more advantageous it will be later as the technology matures. To give an example how ubiquitous 3D modeling is, many of today's motion graphics on television and film use 3D models to create the stunning effects we see. So, there are a lot of side applications to it, not to mention applications yet to be created.
When I was in school, I played with computers. And I could say that the skills I acquired then were for jobs and opportunities that literally didn't yet exist. So I think it's fair to say that similarly, the students of SSSAS who learn skills like 3D modeling or 3D printing may acquire knowledge for industries that don't yet exist either.
Q: What skills did you take away from your SSSAS education, and how have they played a role in your life experiences?
A: I would say the community and values around SSSAS. I was an extremely rebellious kid, which I still am, but I still appreciate the values one gets from the friends you make and families you get to know around SSSAS. It's easy to take that stuff for granted in the moment. I'm sure there are a lot of kids there today who will become great individuals. It has a lot to do with its community.