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In Toronto & on deviantART


No better living functioning evolving example of the new pattern in the creation, dissemination and education in the visual arts can be found than Imaginism Studios, the online brainchild of artists Bobby Chiu & Kei Acedera. Established in Toronto in 2005, the studio has specialized in pre-production character and concept design for film, TV, gaming, and publishing. As creators of some of the most wildly creative and whimsical images ever presented on deviantART, this artistic couple has built an international fan base independent of their contracted projects.  They have understood and utilized the new technologies and “ecology” of the worldwide web arts community in ways other artists are just now waking up to and becoming aware of.














Bobby Chiu:



Becoming part of the deviantART community a year or two after we started Imaginism Studios, we posted one image every day for about a year and through that kind of consistency and prolificacy, we were able to attract not just an amazing fan base but directors and producers as well. Our website, Imaginism Studios, helps as well but the best way to get your art in front of people is to go to places where a lot of people already are, and there has been no better forum for this then deviantART. We have no doubt that the deviantART community has always played a huge part in helping us gain the exposure that we've built up over the years.”














It was Bobby and Kei’s dream to work on Hollywood movies, but they balked at moving to L.A. from their home and families in Toronto, which the Old School dinosaurs told them was essential to succeed. They were also told they’d need to hire a Hollywood agent. They decided to do neither and instead depend on the power of the Internet information revolution. They chose wisely.









Imaginism is currently giving back to the arts community with the introduction of their Schoolism project, an online arts education site that features cutting edge artists and other experts from the vast array of arts professions who share their special knowledge, techniques and advice on how to get established in the arts industry today.











by Bobby Chiu









by Kei Acedera










by Kei Acedera









“Art has always been about sharing,”


says, Bobby Chiu.










Bobby Chiu:



I believe art is a conversation going on for thousands of years in which one person discovers one thing, passes it on to another, who passes it on to many more. Now, with art forums that have millions of members, we are able to contribute to that ‘conversation of art’ in a much more meaningful way. People who love to share and spread their knowledge are the ones who will be remembered the longest and make the biggest impact in their field, whether it’s art or something else.”













Available Now for Apple & Android devices










Imaginism’s latest project is Niko and the Sword of Light, the animated comic book, available on Android that has zoomed to #1 on iPad in 21 countries including USA, UK, China, India & Brazil in the “Kids ages 9-11” category.










So what lies in the future for these artists already inhabiting the new modules and avenues to success?







Bobby Chiu:



I constantly visualize how I want my future to be.


Once I have a good idea, I'll start to visualize a plan of how to get there.  In five years, I see Imaginism doing more movie projects as well as independent projects. I hope to add a couple more great artists to our roster. And through Schoolism, I hope to help affect many more artists in positive ways, starting with online education, our live workshops, and through our in-house workshops.”













The visual arts will never die so long as we continue to visualize.  Art will always be our visualized future, alive in the here and now, a resonating menu of our endless possibilities.













by Kei Acedera












by Kei Acedera










by Bobby Chiu








by Bobby Chiu








by Bobby Chiu

















Interview with Bobby Chiu & Kei Acedera






How has your participation in the deviantART community influenced your path professionally, personally, and artistically?










by Kei Acedera




Authentic citizenship is a term that keeps coming up in community discussions about the future of online communities of artists. How would you define authentic citizenship in the deviantART community? What might be the crucial tip for young artist just beginning their journey?


Bobby Chiu:

I feel that authentic citizenship means that you give back to the community in some way. The easiest way to do this, of course, is to leave genuine and sincere comments of encouragement on other people’s art, and constructive and thoughtful suggestions for improvement. You can also participate in groups. Personally, I like to write helpful tips in my journals or articles about my thoughts and philosophies related to being an artist.


Posting your art on deviantART is great but I think true, authentic citizenship means genuinely trying to get to know people or do things to help others in the community.








by Bobby Chiu






Bobby Chiu:



DeviantART has helped and influenced our lives in so many positive ways. When Kei Acedera and I made our deviantART account (imaginism), we were able to create a stage from which our art could be seen by anybody from anywhere. Out of all the social media streams, deviantART is also where we have the most followers and which has allowed us to attract jobs and fans from all over the world. Furthermore, deviantART has been a wonderful tool with which we are able to meet new artists on a personal level.






While people might not know us personally, they often do know of our deviantART account, so when we meet in person, there is this wonderful instant connection that allows us to talk to each other with familiarity, building instant friendships. Artistically, contributing to the community always nets wonderful suggestions and ideas from other deviantART members that we might not have thought of otherwise. And of course, encouraging words from the community always help to inspire and motivate us to keep going and post more art.












by Bobby Chiu







In our conversation you brought up the fact that online communication and the deviantART community specifically has helped you to be near your family and still follow your dreams to your hearts content. Can you talk a bit about the career choice you made to stay near your roots?







When we first started Imaginism Studios, many people had their doubts. We were told that, if we wanted to work on Hollywood movies, we would naturally have to move to California. Now, California is a great place but we wanted to stay close to our family and friends here in Toronto; we didn’t want to move anywhere. So people told us, “Well, you'll have to get a Hollywood agent then.” And we said, no, we're going to use the power of the internet to attract our clients. Again, we were met with a lot of skepticism.



(Remember that this was back in 2005. To give this some context, Facebook was founded in 2004 and only went worldwide in 2005, YouTube was founded in 2005, and Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist until 2006.)



We didn’t join the deviantART community until a year or two after we started Imaginism Studios, so by the time we did, we had a lot of art to post. We posted one image every day for about a year and through that kind of consistency and prolificacy, we were able to attract not just an amazing fan base but directors and producers as well. Our website, imaginismstudios.com, helps as well but the best way to get your art in front of people is to go to places where a lot of people already are, and there has been no better forum for this then deviantART. We have no doubt that the deviantART community has always played a huge part in helping us gain the exposure that we've built up over the years.









Your "Schoolism"Enterprise keeps growing. Why is that the most artistically creative people seem to always be the forefront of sharing and spreading their knowledge of craft with newcomers to art?






Bobby Chiu:

For me, big part of art has always been about sharing; I believe this is a conversation has been going on for thousands of years in which one person discovers one thing, passes it on to another, who passes it on to many more. Now, with art forums that have millions of members, we are able to contribute to that "conversation of art" in a much more meaningful way. If you keep your techniques to yourself and never share any of that knowledge, you're not contributing to this "conversation", and what you've learned will mean much less once you're gone. I think the people who love to share and spread their knowledge are the ones who will be remembered the longest and have made the biggest impact in their field, whether it’s art or something else.










by Kei Acedera





The masterful level of your artworks elevates the value of moments of whimsy, capturing the most basic nugget of an artist's creativity at inception. Is the stuff of daydreams as valid a subject as any other more traditional visions?




Bobby Chiu:

I think painting from imagination is more of a valid subject matter than traditional. Everybody knows or can be shown what life looks like but nobody can really see your ideas or your imagination unless you created it and put it down on paper or the screen.





Are you just so naturally funny that the ideas from your creatures flowed easily. Is there never a danger of an element of "force playfulness?"




Bobby Chiu:

As a kid, I loved to draw things that made others laugh; I guess it has followed me into my professional work as well from time to time.











by Kei Acedera



You journaled that life and career path "visualization" should be a course taught in art schools. Can you talk a bit about that and where do you see "Imaginism" in five years?


Bobby Chiu:

The ability to "visualize" is the most powerful way in which to think. It’s also a skill that you can strengthen. As an artist, I am constantly exercising my ability to visualize: I would try to visualize the creature or the film before sketching it out. I would often visualize the next moves in my painting and see if I like them or not; if I do, I will proceed to paint them down.


I also constantly visualize how I want my future to be. Once I have a good idea, I'll start to visualize a plan of how I got there. Of course nothing goes perfectly to plan but at least this way I have a destination in mind. In five years, I see Imaginism doing more movie projects as well as independent projects. I would hope that in five years, we would be able to add a couple more great artists to our roster. And through Schoolism, I hope to help affect many more artists in positive ways, starting with online education, our live workshops, and through our in-house workshops.













by Bobby Chiu



Do you see online arts education, like "Schoolism" filling the gap between prohibitively expensive art schools and those artists forced to being self taught?


Bobby Chiu:

Wherever there is a demand, someone somewhere will inevitably fill it—that is what I think Schoolism.com has done. The whole reason we built Schoolism in the first place was because WE wanted to know how those artists did all those wonderful things that we admired only in books and on the Internet. Living in Toronto, the best way we could do this was to ask the teachers we wanted to learn from to teach over the Internet. When artists learn from others that are really at the forefront of the evolutionary wave of art, it's a different experience from studying at a traditional art school. Not only are we much more motivated when we learn from people that we greatly admire but we are learning the most advanced, the most innovative ideas out there from the people that are doing the work that we want to do. People that knew me as a student know that my level of painting really started to excel after I built Schoolism and started to learn from the various Schoolism teachers myself. For people that need the environment of school and classmates to motivate them, the experience of a great college is hard to replace. For those artists that are very self-motivated and self-disciplined, online learning is comparatively inexpensive and a more effective tool with which to develop top-notch skills, especially for people that have busy schedules.








by Bobby Chiu



The major animation studios have come up with some interesting fantasy characters in recent animated films, but all have been well within children's cartoonish standards. You see movement towards darker or more intense animated creature features featuring work like yours?




Bobby Chiu:

Anything is possible. The line between animation and live-action will start to blur I think. With the main themes this decade being fantasy and sci-fi films, I think there is a really good chance of seeing films branch out into all sorts of innovative styles and stories that we've never seen before.












by Bobby Chiu





What's the secret to remaining friends and artistic collaborators and business partners? These usually tend to be mutually exclusive categories.




Bobby Chiu:

Believe in "win-win scenarios" and try to be a good person. Make sure that the friends you collaborate with have the skills you need for the project at hand. Stay humble, and learn to communicate well, especially with those that have trouble communicating.

















Kei Acedera’s Interview







How excited are you about the “Niko” animated comic book?  What sort of response are you getting from your longtime fans?











by Kei Acedera







Kei Acedera:

I’m Very thrilled! And also relieved that this project is getting a lot of great response not only from artists but a wider audience of app lovers too. We’re very happy and grateful of all the support from our fans.








After working on concepts for other artists like Tim Burton, what’s it like fully taking over all the creative reins on your own project?


Kei Acedera:

It’s liberating, and at the same time very difficult because independent projects require even more hard work and focus. No one will tell you what looks right or wrong, or what should be in a shot…it’s total freedom so you have to keep organized and have a good clear idea of the kind of product you want to make. So having the years of experience of being independent artists helped a lot for us.











What’s the division of labor between you and bobby?  Is the original story concept a mutual imagining or is one of you better at conceptual creativity and the other at execution of your vision?


Kei Acedera:

The initial story was by Bobby, which was ALOT darker in theme. My part was mostly in the color scripting and some character designs. The 4 of us, (Bobby, Jim Bryson, Adam Jeffcoat and I) bounced off many ideas for the story together in the beginning, but the credit in the end goes to Jim and Adam who took charge in further developing Niko’s story. What you see in the app is really a (middle) portion of a bigger story.











by Bobby Chiu












by Kei Acedera & Bobby Chiu







Is creative partnership with someone as close as a spouse an overall positive advantage to each of you as artists?


Kei Acedera:

I think it depends on the relationship and personality of the people involved. I believe good communication is key in any partnership. You need to be thoughtful in your words and be a good listener to understand what the other person’s points are, because everyone has their own perspective. Then from there you can have a better sense of which next step to take. I’m very lucky to find someone I love to work with and live with.









When did you first know you wanted to be a creative artist?


Kei Acedera:

I always knew I was going to be some sort of artist since I was 2, but not exactly sure what kind. I was always into many things: painting, sculpting, dancing, music even sports. But what I was sure of is that I was very creative with my ideas and resourceful. I still think I’m still discovering the kind of artist I want to be, and I know it’ll keep changing.










by Kei Acedera





When did you first know you were going to be able to achieve your dream of being a creative artist?


Kei Acedera:

Hmm..I’m not really sure when I knew because I didn’t really think of it. I just kept doing art and focused on creating and improving.



Do you have any ultimate goal or project as an artist, either independently or in collaboration with team Imaginism?


Kei Acedera:

Yes. Many. But ultimately they’re all about creating good art with meaning, and that can inspire.



What do you think of a young artist’s chances of being successful today, in light of tech advances and arts communities? Do the new opportunities outweigh the traditional negatives of pursuing a career in art?


Kei Acedera:

I think the chances are greater (for independent artists). There are so many more avenues for artists today, alot of new ‘space’ to conquer and yet to be created.  I know many artists that make a good living just from selling prints and other products because of the internet and tech like 3d printing, etc… Yes, there is way more competition so it’s important to know who your audience is, and build on that.


In the realm of entertainment art, you have to show what your passion is and do it well with a twist that will make your work unique, and help you stand out from an overwhelming pool of talent out there.















Imaginism’s
Top Five
Deviants to Follow











Sam Nielson


Artsammich


“Sam Nielson's deviantART page is not only filled with great art but many of his posts are quite educational.”


—Imaginism Studios









Jose Vega


cheo36


“This Puerto Rican artist has such passion for painting, we feel he's someone to look out for.”


—Imaginism Studios









Veramundis


Veramundis


“Don't know too much about this wonderful French artist but he has such an appealing style. Definitely worth a watch.”


—Imaginism Studios









Alexa2ndre Diboine


Zedig


“Alexandre Diboine is another French artist that has a wonderful sense of style and design. Refreshing ideas as well!”


—Imaginism Studios









Ellie Horie


lilibz


“Libz is a Brazilian artist that has such lovely appeal to her very cute and beautiful works. Just great!”


—Imaginism Studios






Bobby and Kei are both attending and exhibiting at the Autodesk CAVE conference in December.






The CAVE Conference is an exciting, new conference hosted by Autodesk, seeking to bring together artists, designers, and storytellers to explore and celebrate the fundamental spirit that traverses creative domains and disciplines. December 1st offers a Welcome Mixer at TAO Nightclub, while December 2nd delivers a full day of keynote speeches, seminars, and networking sessions from world-renowned artists and designers sharing their methods and sources of creativity.






December 1st–2nd


Venetian Hotel


Las Vegas, NV










Questions For the Reader






  1. 1How do you feel about the revolutionary changes that are happening in prospects for careers in the arts—in the short term? In the long term?



  1. 4What have been your experiences, both positive and negative, in your attempts to preserve your individuality and independence as an artist?





  1. 2Have you taken advantage of online arts education services like “Schoolism” and if so, would you recommend other aspiring (or expanding) artists try it?



  1. 5Is the expression of your artistic vision the driving force behind your art?





  1. 3As an artist, do you concentrate on your current projects solely, or do you try to visualize where it is you want to be—artistically, professionally and spiritually—in the near future and beyond?










In Toronto and on deviantART. No better living functioning evolving example of the new pattern in the creation, dissemination and education in the visual arts can be found than Imaginism Studios, the online brainchild of artists Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera. Established in Toronto in 2005, the studio has specialized in pre-production character and concept design for film, TV, gaming, and publishing. As creators of some of the most wildly creative and whimsical images ever presented on deviantART, this artistic couple has built an international fan base independent of their contracted projects. They have understood and utilized the new technologies and “ecology” of the worldwide web arts community in ways other artists are just now waking up to and becoming aware of.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
Artwork: `imaginism

For more articles like this, visit %depthRADIUS
Add a Comment:
 
:iconartistjazz:
artistjazz Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
awesome...
im so inspired!
Reply
:iconzaydabo:
Zaydabo Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014
No hablo ingles :v
Reply
:iconcoralchispi:
coralchispi Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014
how do you enter to the onlne clases is beacuse im puertorican
Reply
:iconcanno777:
canno777 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014
I absolutely was fascinated by this article and Bobbys interviews, there is not enough information out there for up and coming artists with regard to what avenues and roads to take if you want to be a professional artist as an actual profession. Bobby your tips were brilliant so helpful I am an artist and have sat in the middle of my bedroom floor with paper and pencils since the age of 2 and to hear your tips and constructive help is great. I draw all th3 time and am obviously a member on devian art and am currently a college student studying digital media anc games design but look at your images and a lot the site and wonder how do you get your image you have in your head and on paper onto your laptop. Is there a programme you can recommend for drawing on your pc, I use adobe illustrator and photoshop etc and I know I have it in me to create images like yours but cant seem to find an actual drawing app or programme. Any help is so welcome and am sure there's so many with the same simple and maybe stupid question but its a dilemma. Thanks for the inspiration. :)
Reply
:iconniffaa:
niffaa Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Hobbyist
very beauty thans for images and interesting videoswish be able one day paint just lil so cuty as u do_)
Reply
:icondavidshampwili:
DavidShampwili Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
What software do you use to make these images?

Reply
:iconkoogleblitz:
Koogleblitz Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
the most common software people use is photoshop. but there are other less expensive (and sometimes better) ones like corel painter and manga studio 5
Reply
:icondavidshampwili:
DavidShampwili Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
wow thanx i will try them out.
Reply
:iconkoogleblitz:
Koogleblitz Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeah no prob, the downloadable version of manga studio is called clip studio paint btw, thats where the free trial is at
Reply
:icondsmastern:
dsmastern Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you for the inspiration!
Reply
Add a Comment: