From now until the end of the school year, we will be introducing and celebrating our graduating students, looking back on the work they've done during their time here, and sharing their reflections and wisdom as they head off into the professional world. Today we are delighted to introduce graduating MFA scenic designer Shin-yi Lin. Scroll through the slideshow to see some examples of Shin-yi's work during her time here at UW!
What do you know now that you didn't know when you started this program?
I decided to study abroad, and it’s a really big challenge for me. I was also majoring in scenic design and theatre in my undergrad program, so I thought I was really familiar with it, but I think the thing I’ve learned here is how how to become a good collaborator. I didn’t have that much opportunity to do that in my undergrad student life. But here, especially with some language difficulty, I found out how to create a kind of personality that people like to work with, and I think it’s important, I think it’s really valuable for me to learn that. And I guess so far I’m not too bad (laughs). So, that’s what I have learned here.
What are most looking forward to doing now that you won't be in class or studio or rehearsal for 12 hours every day?
I just talked to my sister and I told her like I’m really looking forward to doing nothing. For one day. Like, lay on the bed and look at some TV. But, after that I think I’m really excited about not being a student, and finding any opportunity to work for some great designers. I did have really good time in my internship in New York City, and I'm trying to go back after I graduate. But I’m not limiting myself, [I might go] all around the world--maybe back to Asia. Wherever I go, if I can work with really great artists, I will be really excited.
Any plans for after graduation?
I will stay until June, and my parents is coming during May, so we’re going to have a little road trip to San Francisco, and I think it will be fun. I miss them so much. And after that I will start finding my job and establishing my resume, my website, during this time. We are not legal to work after we graduate until we get the new [visa] status, and it take at least three months I think. So, a break is great.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time here?
My favorite memory is from seminar class with Tom [Lynch]. It was a makeup class on a Saturday in spring, so it was really gorgeous weather. Tom brought us to Olympic Sculpture Park to have some tea, ‘cause he had some Chinese students before who gave him some really good tea tools, with tea leaves. But he forgot the hot water. You can’t have tea. But, he had really good China plates, and Alex [Winterle, MFA 2018], he had a bottle of water, so we just stood there using the plate to reflect the heat to try to heat up the water bottle, while Tom was just taking picture of us. So, that’s the best. It’s a magical memory. Silly but lovely. [HA: Did it work?] (Laughs) Totally not. We just got lots of ridiculous funny pictures, and we went home.
Also, I think one of the best things is I really got some American friends, and I appreciate that. Like, Jordan [Fell, MFA 2019], and Jordan [Tweedle, MFA 2021]. I really appreciate that. They’re not avoiding talking to me, though I can’t talk good English. I think I got better now ‘cause they are willing to be my friends. That’s a good, good memory. And also the Drama Scene Shop staff, they take care of me very well, and I appreciate that.
What advice do you have for those following in your footsteps?
I have lots of Taiwanese friends here. Most of them are really depressed when they come to work or study individually in a foreign country. So, I think my suggestion is don’t be afraid of ask for help, even from your professors or classmates. ‘Cause I think people are shy. I was shy, too, but I tried to become more outgoing. If I had a question, I found [the answer] here. It never hurts to ask for help. I think people are willing to help you, even if it's about financial aid or mental health. So, don't be limiting yourself. Don't lock yourself in a little box. Just try to communicate and interact.
[Portrait by Kyler Martin]
Our graduating designers will participate in the National Design Portfolio Review in New York City on May 29, 2019, Design Showcase West in Los Angeles on June 2, 2019, the Seattle Design Showcase on Monday, June 10, 2019. For more information or to request an invitation to any of these events, please contact Bobbin Ramsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.