Talented tarnished: An interview with wünderkind Jya Yan


I found Jya on Instagram and was immediately spellbound by the stunning work on display. If you're into dark fantasy and mechs I'm sure you will be to, so please have a look at the links below and support this incredible young artist!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jyaart




Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Hey, this is Jya, my full name is Jiahuiyi Yan. And now all my friends call me “Jya ''. I recently just graduated ArtCenter College of Art and Design and am looking for freelance positions/jobs in the Los Angeles area. I specialize in environmental and character art; my inspiration for my field of expertise stems from entertainment I enjoy such as The Darks Souls series (Game), Berserk (Manga), and Nier Automata (Game).

What are your main inspirations and who are some artists you look up to?

My day to day inspiration comes from my friends whom I have gone through ArtCenter with, they provide me the time of day when I am stressed and help bounce design ideas off of when I am stuck. Due to COVID-19, these past couple of years have been extremely challenging, both mentally and physically, but I have found solace with my friends and the release of new games within the Dark Souls franchise, that being Elden Ring which I draw huge inspiration and motivation from. I one day aspire to create artwork that I am proud to present next to those working at Front Software.

My hero is Miura Kentaro. I really love his unique art style, his genius way of storytelling, and his dedication to his own art which has influenced my own style.


What do you consider the most significant contribution to your growth as an artist?

Attending ArtCenter has introduced me to some of the people that I value in my life; friends, instructors, and alumni who have consoled me in my journey as a designer.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self about your career path and lessons?

Play more games, figure out what technique you enjoy and use that to your advantage as an artist.


I adore the painterly vibe of some of your pieces. How long did it take you to develop your own style and approach?

My style has been ever-evolving due to my personal tastes and interests shifting over the years, I would say the most fundamental artwork that I would say I reference is Greg Rutkowski for his painting style, and Miura for his themes.

Your Elden Ring fan art is incredible. How do video games and/ or pop culture influence and inform your work?

I found it fun to imagine more backstory between characters and the environment, allowing me to explore down this avenue of work. I also generally favour the story side of games and being an artist and able to visualize my imagination has been rewarding.


Tell me about the most difficult project you’ve worked on and how you managed to finish it?

There’s an indie game project I worked on with my friends it’s called AOshu, I work with this amazing game design student Darren Kwan, and art director Masea Suga, Enrique Romeo. It was really tough because It was my first game project, we took a lot of stabs and tried to learn new techniques and provide them for my work immediately. but I’m happy with the result and the game will be launched on steam (hopefully) last this year.

Are you currently trying to learn any specific skill, and how do you go about learning it?

I picked up ZBrush a little while ago and have been fascinated with the workflow and have been trying to improve.


What is your dream project and can you tell us a little more about it?

I’m a huge fan of Bloodborne, It would be my dream to work on a horror type video game.

I see some super interesting mech drawings on your Instagram. How do you go about creating believable yet fantastic machinery?

I am often intrigued with everyday machinery and how things work, creating mechs is just a way of exercising a creative muscle by taking a reference and transforming it into something more fantastical. Because I find comfort in doing mechs, a lot of the time, I reach a flow state and draw as much as I can.

How do you monetise your artistic endeavours?

I have a couple of private, personal projects that I am currently working on that I may one day show; It factors in my ability to create a more elaborate story behind characters in my favourite genres and visualise how they would interact on a day to day basis.


What do you think is a good way to think about money in the creative field?

Personally, I definitely believe money will find you once you develop your own language and confidence in your art.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m very interested in Vtuber, working on a model for myself right now, lol.