Tag Archives: aiken

Applied Arts, Speaker Series: Aiken Lao, First Year On The Job.

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Aiken Lao is the studio manager at Vancouver’s Chairman Ting Industries and a freelance illustrator/graphic designer. She is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia’s business program, specializing in marketing. Aiken will discuss her first year as an intern at Chairman Ting, the technology they incorporate into their designs, and notable projects they’ve worked on at the studio. She will also be sharing job hunting tips and how business can be combined with creativity.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 3:00-3:30 PM EST
Session focus: Technology at work + Job hunting tips


Our very own Aiken Lao will be speaking for Applied Arts Speaker Series. She’s our amazing studio manager that helps manage and traffic projects for both Hubert Kang and myself at the studio. She’s proven to be an invaluable asset over the past 2.5 years. She first started at the studio as an intern at the beginning of 2018 and by the end of the year, Hubert and I decided to hire her full time as our studio manager where she has helped out with projects for Fairmont Hotels, Nike, Porsche Canada, Kabam Games, 19 Crimes x Snoop Dogg and much more. Aiken has helped pick up a few Applied Arts awards in between for many projects she has helped manage and produce. Check out the full line up of speakers here.

She’ll give you the full low down. The good, the bad and the ugly. We’re all very proud of all her achievements within such a short period of time. Here’s a fun little interview we did with her back in March of 2019.

Check out her work here.

From lost Intern to full time studio manager in 9 months.

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Early last year, we decided to get an intern to help us all out at the studio. After we put out a call on Instagram, we had a few inquiries but one stood out and it was from a UBC Sauder business student named Aiken Lao. Although she was a business student from UBC, she had a real strong interest for creativity. She was a rare breed. A business student with a visual arts portfolio, showcasing her illustration, photography and design work. The diversity in her work made her an ideal candidate as she was able to help all three of us out at the studio. With Hubert Kang, a photographer, Annie Chen, a surface designer and myself an illustrator and art director. She was a rising triple threat with an opportunity to be able to sample all three disciplines under one roof. It’s sort of like getting whisky flights but for jobs without the hangover.

Over the course of just a few months, Aiken proved to be a real asset at the studio by helping out on photoshoots, painting murals, drawing storyboards, designing logos, researching visual references, attending client meetings and even taking the most detailed notes in lightning speed. It wasn’t long before we decided to raise her rates for the remainder of the year until she graduated in December of 2018.

Interestingly, Aiken’s parents were never a fan of the idea of her pursuing a creative career. Although she initially applied to Emily Carr, she ultimately chose UBC’s Sauder School of Business to please her parents. Fast forward to post-graduation, Hubert Kang, and I decided to offer her a one-year full-time contract gig at the studio to become our Studio Manager. She now oversees our projects, manages our workflow and helping out with a variety of tasks such as running the retail store and doing actual work like drawing storyboards, designing logos, painting murals and much more.

When Aiken first started, she had no clue how the creative community worked but she’s now a little less lost (we hope) and is now convinced that artists don’t need to fit the ‘starving artist’ stereotype to make a creative career work. Personally, I was lucky enough to kick start my own career in advertising as an art director for almost 2 decades which helped me get exposed to countless artists, musicians, photographers, animators, writers and more. Over this time, I saw budgets, managed artists, supervised shoots, managed creative teams, worked with countless directors on tv shoots and it was through this experience that I learned how to now run my own art and design studio.

Knowing how many young and talented creative folks are out there trying to break into the business but unsure how to, I hope this little blog post will help shed some light into your career path. Read More »