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WARREN FU'S ORIGIN STORY

“I was born in Chicago in a small suburb called Oak Lawn. Apparently, Kanye West also grew up in that area. My parents are from Tainan, Taiwan. I had a great childhood; I call it an ‘E.T.’ suburban childhood. We had this ‘E.T.’ type of bike-riding pack growing up. So I would say I had a very ‘Spielberg’ childhood.”

Courtesy Warren Fu

“I was always into drawing ever since I was a kid. Every first page of every book had on the blank page a drawing of either Spider Man, Garfield, or Snoopy. And I had a very short attention span. When [my mom would] read me books, I wouldn't pay attention to the story at all. I'd point at the particular details of things in the background and notice what made them different. So I guess that [was] the start of me being an artist - I was always into picking out the particulars of things and finding out what made things stand out.”

Courtesy Warren Fu

"In seventh grade, I saw a party flyer. It was done in a graffiti style. And I remember seeing that, and this light bulb went off. I was like, ‘This is the coolest thing I've ever seen’. And I became obsessed with graffiti. [Graffiti was] a creative outlet for me in high school, because, up until then, I was just copying stuff. And graffiti was all about how weird and different and creative you could be with it. So I would say graffiti art was an instrumental part of my creative development.”

Courtesy Warren Fu

“My dad is a physician, [and] my mom helped at his office. My parents were fairly traditional in that they wanted me to be the typical doctor, lawyer, maybe architect. I had dreams of going to ArtCenter in Pasadena, maybe doing animation or something like that, but my folks were pushing me to go [into] something more traditional. My mom saw the talent in my art, but when it came time to think about career, they sort of put the brakes on it, and they wanted me to follow through with what they called a ‘stable career’. So I got into UC Berkeley, every Taiwanese parents’ dream come true. I ended up going to Berkeley, and I studied economics.”

Courtesy Warren Fu

“Basically, I didn't get into the Haas Business School. I just barely missed it. And I wanted to maybe do advertising or something. But I ended up getting stuck with this economics degree, and I'm terrible at it - all respect to people that are good at economics. My brain was not made for it. So, I did enough to pass the classes. And everybody [during] junior year was looking for jobs, career day type stuff, and I was getting super depressed.”

Braulio Lin

“Luckily, I ran into an old childhood friend who I'd known since fourth or fifth grade. She had gone to Berkeley as well, and she saw that I was bummed out. She said, ‘You know, Warren, you're supposed to be an artist. I know your parents want you to do this and that, but you're supposed to be an artist. I've known you since you were a kid. There's an application for Lucasfilm I saw for the internship program up in the Career Center. Go apply right now.’ I went to the Career Center and I saw the due date for the application had already passed. I had a good friend who had a post office machine that could backdate the timestamp. So we snuck into his office and I put a bunch of artwork into a portfolio. We backdated the time stamp, submitted it to Lucasfilm, and I got in. And that was my foot in the doorway at Lucasfilm.”

Isabella Tan