Jun Cen ’13, an award-wining illustrator and animator, is currently based in New York, where he illustrates for clients including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Oxford University Press, Chevron, and ING. Named the Overall New Talent winner of the 2013 Association of Illustrators Award, Cen's work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, 3x3 Illustration Competition among others.
A native of China, attending MICA gave Cen the opportunity to explore his identity as a creative maker while living in a different land. Before attending MICA, Cen worked as a freelance illustrator, and he also worked with Qiao Mai, a well-known Chinese novelist, to illustrate Mai's book, A Biggest Fire, Ever Seen.
Speaking of his time in Baltimore, Cen said, "Studying and living in Baltimore was interesting. On one hand, it allowed me to look at this country in a different way. The life here is different from how it is beautified in films or how it is made to appear in the news. I could think about the difference between the East and the West in a more neutral way."
He added, "The most important strength of the illustration practice program at MICA is that it allowed me to do different explorations even though some of them were not directly related to illustration itself. But this was crucial and important for me because all the knowledge I learned allowed me to embrace the unexpected changes of the field. The program triggered me to become more and more critical. It helped me to discover what I truly want to pursue through different practices."