ArtsFI is grateful to have one of the best creative teams around. Get to know our photographer, graphic designer, and videographer here!
Photographer Jiyang Chen worked on the artist’s individual headshots, outdoor portraits, and took photos of the group at The Juilliard School. Jiyang also captured the 2014 Kansas Tour, traveling with the artists throughout their trip.
What sparked you to work with ArtsFI?
I first met Kristen when she hired me to get her headshots taken, and eventually she decided to share with me her ideas for her project which really intrigued me, the idea of the synthesis of these different art forms in a continuous and flowing work. I figured there was a way to get creative with everyone and working with the interplay between the beauty of New York and the artist was something that really captivated me.
What’s your favorite part of your job? Least favorite?
I like being in control of the process from beginning to end, and seeing the final product on the computer screen and having input to the last detail is something I don’t have in music. I like working with people and seeing a moment in time instilled in a photograph. My least favorite is when you started photographing a lot of the same things and you lose a spark in creativity and growth, which happens sometimes when you shoot standard headshots against a plain grey background. The idea of becoming a better version of yourself from day to day is important to me, and being stuck in the process without variety is draining.
Any advice you'd give an aspiring photographer?
Never stop learning. There is such a wealth of information available online, whether it’s blogs, YouTube videos, or workshops from master photographers. Be humble and learn from everyone. You should be doing it because you love it, and with that you will naturally want to seek out all all that is available out there. Take lots of photos, look at the light, and learn from your mistakes. Make lots of mistakes, as it’s the only way to get better. If you are not failing at times, you’re not doing it right.
Graphic designer Jessica Sausue works closely with Kristen to create Arts-FI’s visual presence, including the logo.
What made you want to be a graphic designer?
I love that design is all around us, It’s the “connector” between things. To me design is about solving problems. Whether that translates into tangible objects like the clothes we wear or intangible things like design systems (for the web , phones, or in the cloud), they all have a shared purpose of solving a particular problem that links to users. I’ve very interested in that relationship.
Can you describe your goals for the visual elements you've designed for ArtsFI?
My goal was to tackle each project with simplicity and bring some fun into it. The work that I’ve done embodies a balance of sophistication and directness that gets the point across quickly because I want the context to speak for itself. Working with Jiyang’s photography has been amazing because they’re beautiful and I don’t want to divert from that.
What are your hobbies outside of your creative work?
I love exploring the city and the joy of eating good food. I always travel outside the states or the country at least once a year. I have a love-hate relationship with New York like all New Yorkers do– planning an escape and a return.
Videographer Andy LaViolette is the man behind the camera for performances and events, bringing the artists’ work and personalities to live on screen.
How long have you been a professional photographer and what kinds of projects do you work on?
My wife and I started our company in 2006 in Denton, Texas. Our work these days has been incredibly rewarding creatively. Most of our time is spent creating films or web content for bands and musicians. Music is what initially launched our company because of the amazing people I met while getting my degree in jazz guitar at the University of North Texas. However, we also have published documentary films and are currently in production on a film we wrote and directed in the narrative genre and expect to be doing much more of that in the future.
How did you find out about Arts-FI?
I met ArtsFI through Maria Im, a talented violinist I met in New York while filming various projects for musicians I work with in that area. Maria told me about the project and I was very moved to hear the good things that ArtsFI is doing for the young, up and coming artists. Art in many different facets has been a constant source of support, inspiration, and drive in my own life and I don't think American schools as a whole put enough emphasis on teaching it. When an organization such as this takes it upon itself to help give young people quality educational experiences with artistic professionals, I feel our culture and society benefit by these newly enlightened youths.
What inspires your work or motivates you the most?
I'm inspired by people that overcome adversity. If I ever get discouraged in my career path, I think of people who have much more serious problems in their lives as a reminder that life isn't always as serious as we make it out to be. We only have a few basic necessities we need to survive; if my family and myself have those needs met then it's okay to take a breath and relax. On a more simple level I am very moved by the medium of film and watch movies or scripted content almost everyday while analyzing them to understand technically what I like about their execution and delivery.
CHECK OUT JIYANG, JESS, AND ANDY
Jiyang Chen Photography
Mr. Magic Carpet Ride Productions