From doodling to digital art

Artwork by Walnut Grove native on display at MAFAC’s arts center

Submitted photo Benjamin Yang of Walnut Grove, a freelance concept artist and an illustrator working in the entertainment industry, has an exhibit at the Arts Center in Marshall that runs through Jan. 27.

MARSHALL — Ben Yang travels to different worlds every day — all via his computer.

Using a Wacom tablet with Intuos software, he is able to take a sketch and make it into a beautiful and exciting drawing of a whole new realm.

“Anything goes with digital,” he said.

Yang started doodling in his notebooks at school in the “first or second grade” at Westbrook-Walnut Grove. He was inspired by video games and movies — science fiction and fantasy.

The doodling developed into his life’s work. Marshall Area Fine Arts Council’s is presenting “Imagining Worlds That Don’t Exist,” a digital painting exhibition by Yang, runs through Jan. 27 at the Arts Center, 109 N. 3rd St.

During his high school years, he took a couple of art classes from art teacher Tina Anderson Richards.

“She’s a great teacher,” he said, but still didn’t consider art as a career for himself.

It was in 2011, while he attended Southwest Minnesota State University, where he discovered concept art. Concept art is “conveying through art to represent an idea or mood,” Yang said. He knew right then he wanted to do this as a living. His art is mainly inspired from games, films, books and nature. In 2014, Yang graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design at SMSU.

Yang appreciated the art instructors in the art department — Alma Hale, Bob Dorlac, Pat Brace and Patricia Hand, he said.

“The professors greatly impacted me as an artist during my studies at SMSU,” he said. “They were passionate, motivated, humbling, influential, and very inspiring in the field they teach. They always guide students to achieve a higher understanding of the fundamentals of art in graphic design, art history, sculpture and traditional painting. They always tried to challenge me to my very best. And at the end of the day, that was what kept me motivated, inspired, to strive and to have an ambition. I’m sure that the students they’ve taught would agree. I hope I hold these keepsakes in which to inspire hope to others, which can bridge to a brighter future.”

Yang hopes his “brighter future” includes being kept busy in the entertainment industry, “in video games or films; there are a lot of jobs for a concept artist.”

For more information, visit benyangdesign.com.