Arthell Isom

This week’s episode will be a real treat for anime fans out there! I had the opportunity to talk with Arthell Isom, co-founder of Japanese animation studio D’ART Shtajio. You’ve probably seen his studio’s work on The Weeknd’s video “Snowchild”, or as part of the hip-hop inspired indie anime Tephlon Funk, but how did he come to be the first Black man to own an animation studio in Japan?

We talked about his current road to success, and Arthell shared how he runs the studio from day to day. He also gave his thoughts on representation in animation, what he loves about Japan, and he discussed why he started a studio there instead of the U.S. Arthell is making history and I love that he is blazing a trail for others to show that it can be done!

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We’re back in the Bay Area this week, and we’re talking to illustrator and senior UI/UX designer Frances Liddell! She comes from an illustrious legacy through Jackson State University, but as you’ll hear in the interview, that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t had to work hard to obtain success.

We talked about her “aha moment” as a designer, and we spent a lot of time dissecting and discussing HBCUs, “the pipeline”, and the design community. Frances also shared her experiences in San Francisco, including going to design school there and transitioning into her current role. Shout out to Cornelius Toole in our Slack community for the introduction!

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