Lava life illustrator visits Rye

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By Lane Wade

Marcos Chin has been commissioned for feature illustrations by Lavalife, The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone and other multi-media outlets. The freelance illustrator visited Ryerson Monday night, explaining to students that cold-calls and pounding the pavement are the bedrock of any beginning designer’s career.

Chin is the illustrator behind Lavalife’s most recent campaign, found in subway and bus stations throughout Toronto. Lavalife is the largest online dating service for 20-30 somethings “looking for a little more.”

Chin’s sexy cool images full of lips, legs and slinky martini glasses are easily recognized by third-year fashion-communications students gathered to hear him speak.

Four years into the business, Chin, 29, speaks of the frustrations of sketching on demand.

“I was very fortunate to land [Lavalife], but in advertising you have a lot of people making decisions, the client has an image to uphold. Sometimes they would tell me the drawings weren’t good-looking enough, it was very frustrating.”

Chin also tells the audience about his own feelings of discouragement as a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1999.

“Teachers would talk about how great the field was in the 70’s and I remember thinking, dude, do you even remember what it was like to be student?

“I still see myself as an emerging illustrator, still very young and very naïve, but you have to remember that promoting yourself is a business and you have to know how to work it.”

Julia Che, a third-year fashion-communications student finds the talk inspiring.

“His illustrations really stand out because we’ve seen them around everywhere. It’s one of the most original styles that have come out in the last five years.”

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