Comic artist visits De Anza art students2 min read

Lan Nguyen

De Anza art students welcomed Oliver Chin, a Bay Area comic artist last Wednesday, Jan. 30, as a guest of the visiting artists series sponsored by the Creative Arts Division.

Chin graduated from Harvard University with a major in social studies, and he developed his love for comic art working for the school newspaper as a cartoonist. After graduation, Chin moved to the Bay Area and began teaching in local libraries and working as a cartoonist for the San Jose Mercury News. His diverse range of work includes “The Tao of Yao: Insights from Basketball’s Brightest Big Man”, “The Tales of the Chinese Zodiac series” and “9 of 1: A Window to the World”, which received a 2003 Honorable Mention for the Gustavus Myers Award. As the founder of San Francisco-based publishing company Immedium, he has worked with illustrators such as Joe Chiodo and Heath McPherson. In his visit, he explained to De Anza students how art became an ideal in his life.

Chin defined art as extension, reflection, opinion, education, collaboration, redefinition, evolution, exploration and impression.

To him, these understandings of art have been the key to his success. Sharing his experiences in working on comic books and illustration with students, Chin said that he usually drew the pictures before writing the content. But for his graphic novel “9 of 1: A Window to the World”, he worked in an opposite manner.

“I found that is difficult to do things in a different way from what we are used to doing, but somehow, it helps you grow up,” said Chen.

This was the first event in the visiting artist series, but it attracted many De Anza students from different majors that wanted more information about careers in art.

“I came here for extra credit, but mostly because of my curiosity about everything related to art,” said Jim Sauer, an architecture major taking a figure drawing class.

After Chin’s lecture in ADM 119, students were invited to an unofficial exhibition of Chin’s works, which are on display in the Euphrat Museum of Art along with pieces by other cartoonists.

The official art exhibition “Graphic Storytelling as Activism” will open to the public from Feb. 11 to April 17, 2008.

In the exhibition, students had a chance to see Chin’s original drawings from the graphic novel “9 of 1: A Window to the World.”

According to staffers in the Euphrat Museum, Chin combines history, geography, personal perspectives of interviewer and interviewee, emotion and experience through creative use of drawings and text.

Chin also shared his experiences and memories of living and working with art as a part of his life. Chin’s website is He always welcomes any ideas from freelancers, especially those who have fun working with art.

Lan Nguyen is a staff reporter for La Voz.