People

Sammy Chien

i. I work as a music composer, sound and video designer (for this project – Ying Yun). Generally, QPOC interdisciplinary media artist, director, performer, researcher and mentor whose work focuses on arts, technology, spirituality, social change and engagements with marginalized communities. I’m also the Artistic Director of Chimerik似不像 collective.
ii. I do this creative work because:
For Ying-Yung: My long term collaboration-history with Wen Wei, I’ve learned a lot from him ever since 2013 when I started working with him. Especially for a work like this, dedicated to his mother, I wanted to and feel honoured to partake in this tribute. Generally, I do creative work because it was a mission that I was born with.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Believing there are greater and even more significant values in everything we do, and that what we do is just a single word for a bigger paragraph in a bigger chapter of a bigger book, this whole life could just be a small chapter. So I tend to just be happy and live every single moment that I live, every single project, and knowing that it’s serving for something greater, that may unfold soon.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
The kind of work that I do doesn’t really have standardized infrastructure, model or work flow/pipeline that I can base on. This is one of the reasons why I started Chimerik似不像 collective, to come up with our own working model that is truly interdisciplinary and fluid. You have to shape-shift all the time, otherwise you’ll go through an identity crisis big time. You can be everything and can be nothing at the same time. Often people might not get what you do. I’ve been told that I’m not this, and I’m not that, often asked what am I, what do I really do. Similar question “where you really from”. Well this is who we are, when we do what we do. Sometimes I don’t try to explain anymore, depends who and what context I’m talking to, the world is changing so fast, the only thing that is constant is change.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
Painting/drawings. Graffiti. Breakdance. RPG games.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Wow, way too many to name. I would say I’m very inspired by our local grassroots community, especially ones from the underground, underserved, underrepresented communities. There so many generous, brave and creative souls in our city that we don’t pay enough attention to, the art that they create doesn’t resemble or assimilate to the mainstream/colonial structure and aesthetics. I am often inspired by activists, spiritual teachers, panhandlers and nature.
I also have lots of respect for people like Wen Wei, who doesn’t fall into the mainstream criteria for race, sexual orientation and politics. Can you imagine being in his time growing up against this whole system of racism and homophobia? It’s bad enough right now;I can’t imagine back then. So to the QTIPOC who made it this far, to have a little bit of power, I feel it’s a big small step of a brighter future to come. I cheer for them and join forces with them whenever I can.
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
First of all, I don’t think I’ve succeeded in this career. It’s an ongoing journey.  If I may share some of my training that made significant impact to my career, this may sound like an ad, but I gotta give credit to SFU School for the Contemporary Arts, to Dr. Henry Daniel, to Isadora’s creator Mark Coniglio/Troika Ranch. I majored in film + electroacoustic music with an interdisciplinary focus, and I worked on hundreds of productions since then. I took it pretty far. Most of my training is just working with people, collaborations; I’ve been doing this for a living since a decade ago. My earliest training goes back to my parents. My Dad taught me in visual arts and spatial thinking. My mom tried to teach me music, but I refused, yet subconsciously it infiltrated me.
A couple more things I can think of: people like Kristina Lemieux who runs a program called Scaffold that  acts like professional artist coaching, it has supported my career path. Also to many of my teachers on so many fields and levels, those are the “training” that helps my career.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Success and fame is an illusion. This game can get pretty awful, when people are competing, secretly copying other’s work. One of the problems of new media is this flashy results and shining toys. So many people are missing the point of why we create art in the first place.
ix. Some proud career moments:
Writing this Q&A on a 12 hour flight to Taipei.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Work with me.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
Do more Chimerik似不像 and my own projects
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
IG: chimerikcollective
www.creatorsvancouver.com
Header Photo: Photographer – Emily Cooper. Dancer – Eowynn Enquist
Photo 2: Photographer – Sheng Ho
Photo 3: Photographer – Duncan Cairns-Brenner for Discorder
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