Prior to moving to Canada, my family was living in Washington, DC. I spent the majority of my life in Asia, so finally making it to North America was a dream come true. It was the source of all the things I liked as a kid. All the media I loved had always been North American. America seemed like a novelty because of the movies, music, and games I played as a child. Following people’s lives online through various blogs and websites made me crave the kind of life that a young adult could lead in the US. Washington fulfilled some of those expectations, but ultimately I found my two years there to be quiet.
I included Canada while researching where I wanted to attend university. Canada was a place that was still foreign to me. I understood that it was more European in its sensibilities than the US. The allure of its big multicultural cities, the kind that I was used to growing up in, drew my attention. Toronto was more in line with my interests when compared to DC: conventions, comics, concerts, and art. You could find everything! My first impression of Toronto was that it was lively and interesting. It was a big change from everywhere I had lived before, and finally: I had access to everything I had dreamed to be a part of.
I began my first year as an illustration student at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in the fall of 2009. My four years at OCADU were a blast, I felt comfortable and happy. Being surrounded by like-minded people who shared my interests, and an environment that allowed me to push my skills was wonderful. I was hugely motivated by being able to dedicate all my time to bettering my craft. It was the first time I had lived alone, and I knew that I was really privileged to be there.
I became a designer/illustrator because it suited where I was coming from: video games, comic books, and online communities. I’m at my happiest when I can use my natural imaginative approach to tell stories, build worlds, and convey concepts. The aim to communicate, and make the things that resonate with people is paramount- and it just doesn’t stop at creating. Sharing the excitement for creation is an essential part of my vision. My goal is to create detailed imagery that is captivating and full of depth. I work with iconic designs and strong compositions.
I got out of school and I decided to go back to Switzerland to complete my national service for 4 months. It would allow me to immerse myself in French, which I hadn't had much opportunity to use since high school, but could use in Canada. I left for Belgium, where my family was at the time, and enlisted in an immersion french language program for two months to get up to speed. After the two months were up, I went for my physical evaluation, and 3 days later I was on my way to boot camp to train as a combat medic. What followed was four months of speaking nothing but French and a lifestyle that was completely opposite to my life as a civilian. One that was completely governed by physical fitness, strict rules, and camaraderie.
I was an achiever during my service time; I was considered for Officer’s School (but I didn’t want to stay longer than I had to), became a trained combat medic, worked as a nurse in a civilian hospital for two weeks, and was the go-to radio operator for company command- I had to program an entire fleet of ambulances by myself for radio communication using skills I had learned in only two weeks.
Although I managed to achieve difficult things and was working harder than ever, I still found time for imagination: every platoon wants an insignia badge, and I was the guy who designed ours. It was such a hit a friend from another platoon even commissioned me to design theirs. The badges are something that all of us will always wear with pride, and it really meant alot to me to have the opportunity to make that for everyone.
Moving to Canada has opened many doors and I’m excited to be working as an artist, making a living off of the passion that has been a constant in my life. I draw on my background as a rich resource of inspiration and am constantly searching for new horizons. As I engage with the things that I enjoy, I forge new and exciting ways of fusing them together. My work can only get better as I grow, explore, and connect with my peers and community. I am a creator, and I hope to always create interesting, detailed and immersive work for people to explore.