Ep.120: Don’t fear anything, it’s your own journey with Steve Ahn

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Feb 26, 2018 •  Interviews

Hey, guys! In this episode, I am chatting with Steve Ahn, a Director and Artist behind Voltron Legendary Defender & Avatar: The Legend of Korra and Ben 10. In 2017 Steve released a pilot for his animated mini-series Blossom Detective Holmes!

Get in touch with Steve

Key Takeaways

“Not everybody can draw as Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s your own personal journey. You have to make a step every day to improve and move forward”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Special thanks to Steve for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Steve Ahn, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where I chat with inspiring artists five days a week. My name is Iva and my guest today is the and and in this episode, you will learn about how he got from storyboarding to directing animated series, and why he thinks it’s important to learn from people around you.

Steve Ahn  

But to be honest, the people who shaped you is actually around you already. And you don’t really need to go to be kind of Miyazaki in Japan to kind of change yourself. I think the influential people are actually the ones who are

Iva Mikles  

TVs and directors director and artists behind Voltron Legendary Defender and Avatar, The Legend of Korra and then then, he has worked with big studios like Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Disney Marvel and Cartoon Network. In 2017, Steve released a pilot for his animated miniseries plus on detective homes. So please welcome Steve. And let’s get to the interview. So welcome, everyone to the next episode of Art Side of Life. And I’m super happy to have seen here. Hi. How are you? Doing? Are you Oh, is it Oh, wow. Oh, perfect. So I’m really happy that it took time and join us here. And let’s just start right away with your background, then I would like to know like how you get where you are now, which were kind of your biggest turning points and maybe like decisions were what helped you to get there? Maybe How was your childhood? And how you kind of when did you first have decided, like, I want to take art seriously? You know, like when was maybe the decision point.

Steve Ahn  

Okay, so I was born in South Korea in nine in 82. In early 80s, I think for you, I grew up with many moving around many different cities within the South Korea, a lot of a lot of time country countryside, I eventually moved to Seoul, capital city. So I lived in South Korea about 14 years. And then I came to the United States in 96. When the gas price was really, really cheap water bottle. I never really thought of myself becoming a an artist. To be honest, I think it’s just environment background. I was in, like a situation with family. I think, like dreaming to be on art. dreaming to be an artist, creating an art wasn’t something like a common thing, especially animation, like an animator in South Korea is in a back in the old days. Now, you know, they all know, you know, there are multiple categories in design fill a nation where you can kind of choose and pick a job, right? But back then, you know, because you know, as Korea is still growing fast economy and everyone really working hard, you know, as a middle class, nor really like a society itself at like, they all want to be like a doctor or lawyer, you know, you know, that’s like how you make your family proud and raise your family. So in that situation, like you’re becoming an animator is such a, you know, back then it was like, everyone thought of it as a like a low pay kind of lower class of labor. You know, no one thought there’s a visa in a nation, like your car to like, you know, respective thing. Especially, you know, if you have grown in Asian family, where every Asian family parents wants to go to, you know, like a Harvard or Yale or Berkeley. Or you know, same thing happened to my parents, you know, they want me to go to like a UCLA or, or you know, you know, some kind of academical path and become something that makes a good money, you know. So because of that education background I have, I never thought myself becoming an animator, or this, or even thought about going into film, it wasn’t something you know, it wasn’t just naturally, it wasn’t common. So, but whenever I watched animation, I grew up a lot of Japanese animation back then a lot of important TV shows. Whenever I was those shows, it just it tickle in my test is like a burning passion or burning. I don’t know, it’s sick, there’s a craving that, oh, I want to make that too. I want to create, like, such story and character. It you know, to be honest, you know, I worked on many commercial type of shows. So even back in childhood. Like, I never really thought seriously about art, it was purely about, oh, I want to make a cartoon. I want to draw a cartoon show or draw like cartoon characters. It was just, it was it was just a joy. And, you know, it’s just, it was just enjoying the entertainment of animation. So. But, you know, whenever I thought, Oh, should I become an animator? That will really piss off my parents. So I knew it. So, you know, back in childhood, I always thought that that will never happen in my life.

Iva Mikles  

So how did you overcome this? You know, like, okay, it’s not really what is expected from me, and how did you choose? What school to go to? And, you know, like, did you have some mentor or someone who inspired you to follow these dreams? You know, like, okay, I can actually do it?

Steve Ahn  

Um, I think so after I came to United States, I was 14 years old. So I’m taking English, ESL Have you ever taken is, like a beginners class for immigrant students who emigrate or international?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I think it was called something else here in Europe, because I also studied English in UK. So you know, you have different types of,

Steve Ahn  

you know, many people studied TOEFL or Yes. So I was one of the students in, like, all the classes I took at high school here or lowest, academically lowest level, yeah, like a math, English, everything was very low. Whenever I look at other friends who are really ahead of me, you know, there’s a very high class already at college level, kind of preparing, or, you know, to go to school. And I think just coming to United States kind of cause a lot of thoughts within me that, you know, Oh, I wonder what my life is gonna be like, you know, because I think I start to search that direction. Like, try what was the best thing I can do? was the greatest thing that I enjoy. And and I found out that that’s an art. So the animation. So I think, a 16 I start to take a figure drawing class, and I started to like a take art class, to start to seriously thinking about going to art college. Maybe, you know, definitely there were a lot of negative comments from parents, and I had to fight over that Asian parents culture, they’re kind of providing the there’s a vision here. So how Um, that’s, that’s how I started. And that’s how I started studying art.

Iva Mikles  

And how did you set your goal? You know, when you had to decide, like, do I want to be in animation, but yeah, character design or color script or film direction. So did you already know what you want to do when you started the study, or it was kind of along the way.

Steve Ahn  

Um, I think deep in my deep in my soul, there is a craving. I knew that even from the travel that I want to make, make it like the aviation. So later, as I become a grown up, I found out that a bag craving is categorized in in directing, and storytelling, and filmmaking. So that’s what I wanted to do from so I knew that that’s something that I want to do from back in college days. But because our environment around me that I think I was always, you know, I wasn’t athletic, or I wasn’t any popular kid. I was always kind of within that fear, like, Oh, what if I say something wrong in English? You know, there was, there was always something that I fear, and, and I think the language was whatever. So, back in collies, I went to CalArts, to study animation. But oh, because of my language, I will never be able to direct or burn storytelling, which is evolving into a script, that will never happen. So I know there’s a craving within me that I want to be a director, but that fear always kind of forced me to say, Oh, I’ll be an animator who just draws who tells me what to do. And I’ll just draw in the corner. So I wasn’t good at design, or even coloring. I think I was more into an a line drawing with drawing characters and story storyboards. So even I know, like, my dream is going into story, but you know, I in back in college, they I forced myself to, to go to, to the nation. And so that’s how I graduated. And that was even, even after graduation, or a couple of years, that was still my, I thought that was still my direction. Like, we’ll never be able to, like, be direct in this mainstream. You know, because I’ll never be able to lead. It’s just there was a lot of fears I had, I think is, I think that fear is kind of common for, especially if you are a sec, if you’re an integrator, whichever country you are, you just become more aware of a you must fit in and you must kind of adjust. You must, you know, you you must change yourself. You know, to to be one and I think there were there were a lot of kind of psychological fears that I’m not saying fear means, you know, oh, I fear I’m afraid or something, it’s just unconscious thing, you just become very protected yourself. And, you know, you know, a lot of shill, a lot of excuses coming from which is making you fear to challenge. So I was pretty, you know, kind of laid back on this who just kind of sit in the corner. So, even in my first jobs, or I started as a flat shader, so, interning a couple plays and kind of starting to freelance, a lot of kind of small flash projects. So back in the days it was around 2005, where where internet had a lot of flash

Steve Ahn  

So that’s how I started to step down in into a niche industry. So I wasn’t even, you know, I mean, obviously, my work wasn’t great. Back then it was I was just right after college, I think a lot of students now or a lot of artists now these days where you have Instagram, Twitter that you can just become a popular writer way. Back then there wasn’t such thing. So I wasn’t one of the guys who just became a star right away, or, I’m not saying I’m a start right now or something, it’s just, you know, I started a very autumn and start to make start to make a living and certainly stepping into to this animation industry. My industry.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how did you land your first job right after college? You know, or, you know, like, how did you kind of move from job to job, you know, how did you do your networking? You know, did you have something online? Or did you just talk to people and our went to conventions? Or how did that work for you?

Steve Ahn  

Probably first three years, your neck, my networking wasn’t strong, still. So, which means after the project, there’s no network, or friends or people connection that I know, who are able to bring me in to another project. So in the beginning, I still had to, after the project, I still have to apply. And you know, kind of take the test again. So first three years, it just kind of, you know, redoing it again, the prepping your folio and and also, I think it was just in the beginning years of my career, I was very quiet guy who just say in the corner, just do my job, whatever they tell me to do. So that’s how I kind of moved on to project by project. And then at this small company where they make flash animation back then a they I think they got kind of big Isaac from ABC Family where the show Paul, slacker cats. So I thought I was gonna be an animator for that show. And, somehow, fortunately, my friend from back in college Call me after three years. You know, I haven’t talked to her for a long time. But she called me saying, Hey, I’m a director as like, as I need a scrollbar. That’s so would you want to take a test as she remember me as a wolf, hardworking. Student back get back into college. So that’s how she remember and she kind of contact me. So because I working I was working at this flash animation studio where I already had a chance to watch the pilot episode, right, which was an air yet and the test was based on that pilot episode. So what happened is, you know, sometimes cheating helps

Iva Mikles  

you study how to make things better. Yeah.

Steve Ahn  

I, I have told them if I did copy what I watched and I turn I turn that in and and the boss said the soccer cat saw my pass and it was like, it looks so similar to our show. Air number my friend, Director, her name is Nikki and she’s a wonderful a mission artist. She was a head of clearance at the network. So she she kind of honestly all set kearsley that was my boss. Yeah, he copies but I think Seth was saying, Well, hey, at least he knows how to draw. Let’s bring him in. You know, so fortunately, that’s how I started kind of big project, which was kind of my first TV show. Credit. So um, In America, a lot of story artists are as a kind of trainee or, or kind of intern or even there’s a position called storyboard revisionist. Okay. That’s how they kind of start their career and then kind of move on to storyboarding and then kind of move on to adult story like directing or supervising. But then for me my career I kind of skipped that revision, this kind of behaviors that, and I jumped into right away to storyboarding. So that was good for me. But you know, but then we’re kind of couple of years. I have about time. No, in order to do that. So. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And so how was it the then the transition from storyboarding to the art direction? Tears? And do to move from Yeah, again, like from another role to a different level or different studios. So how did you manage to do that? And how was the adjustment for you?

Steve Ahn  

I think, definitely, you know, right. After colleagues, I thought, Oh, I’m so ready to direct. You know, that’s how I felt, and I had a problem. I. But you know, what, as soon as I became a scoreboard, as you know, I knew I had no idea how to start. Absolutely, I needed the training and studying. Going back to basics, so even though I was trained back in alerts, I thought I was ready, but I guess I wasn’t. So, you know, studying, storyboarding, studying how to read the script, and then kind of translate it into images, sequence of images. You know, that was all, you know, kind of power of training I had to go through. So it wasn’t something that company provided it was something that as I making a progress, and being a job and kind of, you know, building on experience, on a side, I have to study, to train personally.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, so did you do it like at night? Or how did your days look like at the time? And maybe how does your day look like now? So if you can compare?

Steve Ahn  

Um, you know, let me answer that, because I worked on first five years, I worked on primetime shows, and I moved on to action shows, rest of career. And during that transition, there was a very heavy training I. So I was building that experience in, kinda went to pass animation studio, where I worked on kind of Sunday primetime show for Fox TV, in in the United States. And then I think the biggest transition happened during that time, which was, I start to know, this other craving, within the US calling, like, keeps calling me Hey, Steve. So first time in my career, I was pretty happy just to hear it, ya know, just to I’m in this American industry, you know, animation industry here. I’m so happy. But, but, you know, as I move along, I start to know this that the primetime show, which is kind of a very heavy comedy show, for adult contents, mostly. It’s not a thing for me. I started to realize that as I work, you know, so, in the beginning, I was happy to get a job but now I start to complain and it’s like, oh, this is what I’m creative for. This is what I’m what I studied art for, you know, so, because I think because my childhood I never looked at I never watched any Simpsons or Family Guy or you know, all those kind of adults comedy show, which is sitcom. So you know, I start to notice that I kind of move on to something else that’s really different. Which the show that has drama, the show that has a character’s arc as the show that has kind of find the action, and adventure and the show that has more realistic drawing style, rather than cartoony. So back then what was going on in American industry was after the avatar, The Last Airbender has ended. The Legend of Korra, Book One was picked up by Nickelodeon. And there were starring that show. So it was a such a huge inspiration. Back then, to many animators and artists, and it did impact me. I mean, it created impact to my, to my direction, so. So the more I know about the show, Legend of Korra, you know, created by two creators, Brian and Mike. I was really drawn into the show, and I went to I had the chance to stop by South Korea to meet many animation studios and Game Studios back then. And one of the studio was a movie studio. I kind of stopped, you know, made a stop visiting them. And so this Director Kim one of the directors there was kind of showing me around what they’re making it it did it challenge my artistic skill, and I don’t know, artistic craving and ego kind of desire. So you I just did in my heart, I was thinking, this is kind of stuff that I want to create. I came back to states. And I remember that was Thursday night. No, Thursday morning, sorry. Back at the work. I looked in my director, which, you know, he was sharing my same room. I told him I quit. You know, it’s time to move on. So that was that was that was that was probably 2011 or 12.

Steve Ahn  

Yeah, so that’s when I quit Fox TV. Like, I told myself, I quit primetime show. So going to action show wasn’t that easy, either, because my drawing skill wasn’t wasn’t high good enough to draw kind of action figures or like a superheroes and kind of making of action show with kind of more realistic camera work was such as was such a fun learning experience. But also, it was very, super hard to train myself. So back then, you know, back to your previous question. What I did is, you know, I worked from morning to evening at work, and then I came back home and I studied a work another eight hours. So I for during in my late 28 to early 30s. You know, I slept very less hours. So I think I worked really harder than even back in compared to call these ears I worked harder just to kind of change my drawing skill to be more alike to draw in more kind of superhero shows and action shows. So I kind of I was trained under director named sin Oh, he worked on a lot of shows in South Korea. And he was the assistant director for I believe it was a macro several which is tapping is on your show. So he had a really good experience. Back out where he taught me a lot of things about camera or layout, perspective and drawing. So I, I was kind of training under the show generator racks from Cartoon Network. And I moved on to Matt Youngberg show, the pen 10 His tail is making a duck out of that busy right now as he was running up and so I worked at Ventana curriculum network. And then finally, my dream job Legend of Korra. Book Three, opportunity Cade. So I grab that,

Iva Mikles  

how did it come? Like? How did they contact you? Or? Or how do you saw some software that I knew I applied?

Steve Ahn  

I think back then. The one of the director Ian Graham, is he’s now supervising producer and Nickelodeon, but he was my Episode Director in Korea. So he say, we need artists, and we need and I need an assistant director. And so he kind of called me up asking me, Steve, you know, you should take a test and try out. So that’s how I took the test. And that’s how I got connected with the coding. So I took the test, and they were saying, Oh, we are cuz we’re kind of considering you as assistant director. kind of candidate. So I think it worked out well, gladly. I was able to hop on to the show.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how do they do these tests? Do they give you like, Okay, we would like you to animate, I don’t know, the same sequence, and they just give you like a script? Or? Because if for someone who’s never heard about, like testing for shows, like how does it normally look like if you can share some of it?

Steve Ahn  

So generally, especially like a TV show, in, in, in general kind of American animation studio, what do you do is, if they like your portfolio, sometime, they they asked you to take a test? You know, I think now these they might, because there are a lot of projects, where they need people right away. So I think, you know, taking a test is not common. It’s a but back then, you know, there were a lot of shows, you know, economy was kind of collapsed by kind of real estate collapse, and, you know, America economy collapse in 2009. It doesn’t. So, a lot of shows, you know, there weren’t a lot of shows, so, but there are a lot of people applying to company, right. So, in order to pick the right one, they were handing out a lot of tests. I’m pretty sure it’s not common these days. But so the test, they want to see if you can do so basically, they kind of give you a test contains kind of daily job, they, you know, that you’re going to do at the work. So, give you kind of day job and see what what happens, you know, so a four story storyboard is they give you kind of script, and can I ask you to storyboard and see if it can do the job and they also want to see if your style matches what they’re creating. So, you know, just let’s say, you know, you’re applying for SpongeBob show, or taking a test you know, you probably want to draw the past not kind of know x man, either man type of drawings. So they want to see your drawings to I’m sure background or this or color or this, you know, is pretty similar that they collected view what you’re going to do at the job daily, and see if we can handle that.

Iva Mikles  

So what I also want you to know is like, with your focus on your current project, so how did you, you know, choose your team to work with? And maybe also how did you market you know, your, your field and doing the art direction? Like do you do it mostly on social media? Or do you have an agent or PR, or how does this whole project work for you?

Steve Ahn  

I had this idea for a long time about girl version homes. So after working at Elizabeth Porat, and after working at old Cha, directing mini episodes at DreamWorks, and I kind of thought myself, you know, that was another transition happened, where I thought kind of start to realize that my experience my network, my drawing skill, my filmmaking skill is now at some level where you know, where I can take a leave of absence from the mainstream industry, and start to kind of venture out my creating my own more own image. So I think that’s, that was pretty important. Where I had this idea for a long time, but if I wanted to make it in my early, more, when I was more younger, I was probably probably I wasn’t able to make it. Because my skill wasn’t good. My networking wasn’t that wasn’t that great. So now I know people who can help me, like, which means, you know, I know the best people who are very good at what they do. And, you know, by work with them, and, you know, it’s 100% positive that, you know, they can create what I envision. So, I think the timing was right, that, you know, after working at Quora and Voltron, I know people who make very similar art and style that I want to create, so I kind of brought a few of my friends together. And I made a short film this year. So I made the pilot episode. Blossom, Detective Holmes. So I don’t I’m not actually I don’t really belong to any agency or company or any network. It’s just independent. Oh, I, which means I kind of wanted to go through all that. Seeing and creating. Can I I took it as a learning experience, too. Yeah. So when the money was, it was all came from my own savings to produce me so. Yeah, so that’s how i i. So last spring, I left DreamWorks. And then I started to kind of forming a small team. So everyone kind of worked as a freelancer help out. So I could, you know, start to kind of crafting this, this short film. So, branding, marketing wise. I heavily rely on social network. So Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, you know, those are the only kind of all sources that I do out there at the moment. Oh, perfect.

Iva Mikles  

So do you also do like a paid advertising on social media or right now it’s more the

Steve Ahn  

more just word by words. I’m sure a lot of fans or followers from my you know, my from my previous works, so I think a lot of I’m sure a lot more op eds or both Trump fans who are interesting artistic side of, of the shows, who want to see want to follow the creators and directors and artists and kind of see what they do. So I’m sure a lot of them are from that background and community, so yeah, so Oh, cool.

Iva Mikles  

So if you kind of think about it now it’s how many years? Was it from the school to where you are now? It was like, I don’t remember now. Was it? Like 10 years? Or something? Yeah. So yeah, so there was a long process of studying and yeah, all of the self development. Do you remember maybe like a best advice you ever received?

Steve Ahn  

Best advice I ever received was. So I went to this, this, this bar, where, you know, you know, our this from Legend of Korra. We know. I mean, other friends were kind of having a good time with drinking. And my boss from Listen, before I was there. It was before I hopped in to listen to Cora. It was like a right before I started to join. I joined the team. Right. And he was so drunk. And he is Korean. So he’s more like a Korean older. kind of mentor, kind of, what do you put, in Korean, we call usually older class, we call them some bending. So which means you know, kind of older mentor, you know, who who have more experienced than you and who are much more older than you. So, this art, this boss, his name is Ryu. And he was so strong, and he told me that, Steve, your drawing is really, really, really terrible. And when I heard that, it really struck me. And not the negative way. But I knew is such a tough love, that, you know, kind of secular Asian culture is being that they, they’re just being honest with you. So, you know, I took it very as, as a wisdom where I need to train I need to study, and I need to get better. Not just for myself, but it was more like, I gotta, I gotta really grow to improve to support this team. And to make this show possible. I got Aristotle really, really hard. So I think that was pretty much the most enforceable.

Iva Mikles  

Like a memorable thing. Yeah. And if you think about the Yeah, that the learning and was it mainly from people around you from the shows and your mentors? Or can you maybe recommend some resources, some like favorite books or something online, which people can learn from, you know, like, either the fundamentals or anything favorite? What do you have?

Steve Ahn  

So as far as artists that I look up to, you know, they’re, they’re 1000s of 1000s of masters around the world, especially if you go Instagram or Twitter, there are a lot of great people. But to be honest, the people who shaped you, is actually around you already. And you don’t really need to go to be kind of Miyazaki in Japan, to kind of change yourself. I think the influential people are actually the ones who are around you. So I think the passes from those in the Korean Voltron and my supervisors, they’re their names are walking those samples. Lauren Montgomerie and Ryu, which was the one who told me very great lesson in my artist life. So these three people working with them and their drawing their craftsmanship, their leadership, especially they’re very, very humble and really support to and they really support all the artists who work really hard. And they really respect and keep appreciation that was really nice side off their leadership, kind of looking at them their work, art and in person really gave me shoes in it. Inspiration can be something that I can kind of look up to and follow up there. So those are kind of good people that I can recommend to many young artists who want to work kind of interested in making a show like a Korra or Voltron, or color realistic figurative action shows with heavy drama, you know, those are kind of, I can say they’re pretty much top are these days, you can follow these. And outside of my closest friends, you know, definitely a lot of I’m very heavily influenced by Japanese animation. So, which means Japanese animation, filming, you know, definitely a lot of everyone’s favorite means RP is one of my favorite, I don’t know who they are thing from Kleenex. Like, he’s one of the great broker that I look up to. So I kind of liked them. I never really met them in person. But

Iva Mikles  

is there some like a book you read as well, about the artworks? Or some, you know, like, is it mostly for the inspiration of the final words they created? Or did you study as well like the, the fundamentals from them, like in the form of books, or some courses, or something which you can recommend someone just starting out, they want to actually learn the fundamentals.

Steve Ahn  

I, it’s funny, there are not many books, teaching you how to make anime show, which means, you know, teach you how to what’s the filmmaking process behind me. But then, what I how I study was, I actually studied their film, bought a lot of their sketchbooks, kind of Japanese animation, sketchbooks, where you know, that a lot of animators make their own personal sketches. So if you kind of look at their light work, and you know, how this lines were designed, based on what knowledge is behind what what knowledge of, you know, fear drawing, and human anatomy? And how do they exaggerate it? The animation and the process of making a film, how do they direct? And where do they put the camera in the shop? You know, all that was kind of going through slow motion of their films. And that’s how I studied. As I was working in raising go for a workshop. I think, also, just kind of, I want to say that studying art history is really, really, really important. So it’s hard to recommend the book, because all the books that I read, related to art, or even history, or any other books are written in Korean. So, but I studied, you know, art history, and, you know, what the philosophical, how did the ideas were translating and transforming as the story was going. So that’s very, very important. And especially studying film history is also very impactful if you actually studied so. You know, even people started making a film. Without the knowledge back in 100 years ago, they had no idea what was cutting was camera, you know, they had just no idea. They just were just filming. And suddenly someone say, Hey, I have an idea. Let’s How about we cut the scene? Here? It’s gonna happen in the beginning that was shooting without any cuts, just following the fallout of characters. And then they they found out like, discovering the humans discovering the fire, is discover that oh, the cutting works. We can split the stories. Yeah, and we can timings. So, you know, if you look at film history, pupils start to find the ideas and knowledge and skills and techniques. So if you kind of can’t compare In your filmmaking skill, to through the film history, and you can kind of see where you are at, oh, my, my film technique is around 1920s I still don’t know how that you should study back those black and white films, study the film, and oh, I have no idea how to use camera ladies. You know, they you start you kind of want to start studying 70s and 60s You know, where they start to use maximize the camera lens. The skills so well, if you say, oh, I can make great film than those black and white films, you know, to be honest, the Steven Spielberg the greatest film Shaw was, was the ad soiree was was at was nice. I study wrong. But you know, if you think about it, like Steven Spielberg made a great film in 80s. And, you know, it’s wow, I mean, if you look at it now, you know, it feels like old film. You know, it feels like you know, definitely it’s not Avengers or

Iva Mikles  

anything. And what about Yeah, what about you and your future? What would you like to you know, work in like, in 10 years what will be your dream scenario? And maybe what would you like to be remembered for in like 100 and more years

Steve Ahn  

10 years after so my dream my ultimate dream is I don’t really think find myself find my identity by any company names. So it’s okay if Nora will remember me as Oh see was at these in the air or, or during our store? Or, you know, it’s okay, I don’t really find a lot of meaning from there. I just want to be it remember as Oh, he was a creator of his own art. I think that’s that’s good enough for me. And that’s actually what I want to do. That’s something I feel is something that I can find my item so my ultimate goal is probably you know, I want to kind of grow old like me as it were, you know, he’s he’s eight is still making a Masonville you know, that’s that’s that’s what I want to do you know, whether I have 40s 50s 60s 70s I still know and find myself in a place where I can create and produce a good education so that’s kind of you know, what I want to do and then more in deep thought I want to create a good stories where inspire so it really really inspires me a lot of stories around me that inspire me a lot and brings me a lot of positive feelings and positive force. So I want to be a filmmaker who can tell a good story that brings very positive force to to their their journey.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that is really nice and because we are slowly to the finish of the interview and maybe before we say goodbye You Can I share like last piece of advice or key takeaway for our like audience and start the artists or that would be perfect.

Steve Ahn  

Okay, so first, I’m sure every one of you who are younger audience and younger students I’m sure you want to work at a big company because a lot big company makes a nation and which is good. I want you to know that occurred hope that you don’t find the meaning from there only I can I want you to take a step out of mainstream. And, you know, keep making a journey, as your, as an artist, yourself and personal journey is, I must say, personal journey also has to continue. That’s the first advice I want to give. And second advice is not everyone can draw like Leonardo da Vinci, which means your art is not to be number one, you know, or to be the pop artists. And I think it’s more of how shall I put it is it’s more of your own personal journey. So which means a lot of artists, especially younger artists, they, they’re very concern and worry about what how others, think about your art, and how you know, so which means you become very fearful and protected. And that’s where I was actually, like, I have a lot of fears of going into, and kind of continuing the journey and moving and growing. And even though I knew what I want, while I really, really want, because of that fear, kind of forced me to sit in the corner. I really want you to know that don’t fear. Especially your artists, your artistic journey. No one can tell you what to do. It’s your own journey, you can make a great adventure. So what I’m saying is you even though you’re not a great star right away, or famous or working at a company, it’s okay, just take a slow journey, take the most greatest thing, important thing is you have to make a step every day to move forward. So I always want to be a director, but it took me like, seven, eight years. You know, is, you know, some other fortunate kids become a ride away, they, they land in the dream job and they land. They make their you know, wishes come true right away. But you know, sometimes it’s not always that happens. And if you look at my my journey, it was a long way of making. So what I want to tell you is don’t fear, like, oh, you can’t draw, so you can’t do it. I hope that doesn’t stop you. Just Just keep continue, continue to draw and continue to grow, continue to study. Just continue. And after many, many years, you’re gonna look back, and you’re gonna say, Oh, I’m at a different place than where I was in the beginning. At least. That’s the proof that you’re doing well, as an

Iva Mikles  

artist, you can see actually your own progress. And yeah, step at a time. Yeah. Amazing. I totally agree. Perfect, then thank you so much, again, for being here and sharing your artistic story.

Steve Ahn  

Okay, thank you. It was thanks for invitation. EBA and it was great. I’m very talkative person. So I’m sorry if the wall of the answer became very weird. Wall. No, it’s perfect

Iva Mikles  

because you can share the whole journey and how you actually get there and what are your inspiration so that was definitely my pleasure. And thanks, everyone who joined today and see you in the next episode.

Steve Ahn  

Do bye.

Iva Mikles  

Hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you. So go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Art Side of Life podcast because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other, and I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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