By the time Eddie Chu 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 work has exhibited widely in locations such as New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Germany, Austria, and Los Angeles.
Today, Eddie lives in New York City where he works half the year creating art in his studio. The other half of the year he spends as a designer and programmer for some of the country’s top agencies with clients such as Nike, Google, and Verizon. Most recently he’s been working on projects to make apps and mobile products. He 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.
His work 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.
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 a 3D Printing an 3D Modeling class. Our school also has a MakerBot (3D printer). 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.