I came to America from Korea when I was sixteen years old. The world was a much different place to me then.
My mother was a painter. She was a fearless woman and the risk taker in the family. She believed that to be creative meant being willing to question, to take chances, and when appropriate, breaking from traditions and the past.
I was timid. Making things was a big deal in my household. Throughout my teenage years, I sought refuge in crafting, sketching, and even fixing furniture in my spare time. I had no idea whether or not I was technically an “artist.” Creating just felt like a second language to me.
When I arrived at ArtCenter College of Design for my first day, I encountered a very peculiar scent that remains one of the things I will always associate with the place. It was the smell of chemical spray paint, mixed (somewhat incongruously) with fresh cut grass. If hard work had a smell, this would have been it. Within a few minutes, I felt as though I had already forged a primal bond with this place.
At ArtCenter, I learned that healthy critique – and self-critique – is part and parcel of the creative lifestyle. Creatives are always considering what could be improved, and this is especially true if you happen to be a design thinker.
This restless thirst for innovation is ultimately what led me to help create the luxury automobile brand Lucid Motors. As architects of the future, it is our job to give our customers something they’ve never seen before: leave that whole “living in the past” bit to the competition.
I believe California is where much of the country’s innovation begins: it is the Wild West for modern creatives. More than anything, though, it’s a place to dream. And while it’s great to dream, ArtCenter also taught me that translating a dream into a day-to-day reality is one of the most rewarding endeavors one can take on. My time there gave me the tools I needed to chase my own dreams.
As I grew as a designer, once-impossible career aspirations began to materialize – they became my reality. Of course there were risky decisions along the way, but being willing to take chances in search a better way forward is part of what makes us designers.
I truly believe that the primary risk in any creative venture is not taking one. With Lucid Motors, my team and I are confronted with risks both minor and substantial at regular intervals throughout the day. We’re confronting the question of what it means to be a luxury brand. It goes beyond the tangible appeal of modern conveniences. Lucid is an experience. Our hope is to create something that has a soul-soothing effect. Luxury is intangible – it’s something you can’t put a price tag on.
Since the moment I stepped foot on the campus, I’ve had a lifelong love affair with ArtCenter. The restorative energy that fuels the school’s ethos lingers with me to this day.
BS 02 Transportation Design
Senior Interior Manager at Lucid Motors