Interview with GCC Intern Yen Chu
by Jody Norman, Gila Resources Information Project, Communications/Outreach Specialist
I met with Yen Chu at the conclusion of her internship with GRIP and the Gila Conservation Coalition. Born in Taichung, Taiwan before she and her family immigrated to the US, Yen grew up in Kansas, where she spent most of her time outdoors or at the public library, discovering a passion for the sciences, literature, and the arts. In 2011, she moved to Silver City. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Ceramics alongside a minor in Literature and Cell and Molecular Biology at Western New Mexico University. She seeks to promote environmental conservation through her art, as well as encourage others to reconsider their relationships to each other and the natural world. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
Tell me more about the digital advocacy projects you worked on for GRIP’s Silver City Watershed Keepers and the Gila Conservation Coalition’s Gila River Festival.
My major work for GRIP and GCC was social media marketing and graphic design. I created posts like calls for volunteers for Silver City Watershed Keeper cleanups, teasers for the Gila River Festival, and other events. For the Gila River Festival, I also designed a rack card, poster, and advertising graphics.
You have talked about how you would like to use your art to start a conversation with people about the environment. How did your work at GRIP help to advance your art career?
Learning about the status of the Silver City watershed and other environmental issues that GRIP has worked on, I think that knowledge will inform my own work in the future as I focus on environmental projects.
I learned a lot of technical skills, especially about online marketing and social media, and I think I’ll be able to use a lot of that information to promote my own work in the future. I also learned a lot about graphic design, in particular how to stick to a certain brand and then making visuals that are cohesive and yet also offer a variety that can be engaging to the public.
Where would you like to take the skills that you learned?
The skills I learned in meeting new people — marketing and trying to engage them over the internet and the like — a lot of those skills will come in handy in the future when I need to promote myself as an artist and talk about my work. And a lot of what I learned about graphic design I’ve been able to use in designing other things.