Laishan Ito
Graphic Designer, Scientific Illustrator

1) Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a graphic designer and a scientific illustrator from the Eagle Rock area. When I was attending UC Riverside, I had the amazing opportunity to work as a part-time scientific illustrator for the Entomology Department. I learned to use microscopes to study the details on specimens like chalcidoid wasps and scarab beetles. Then, I would illustrate them with rapidograph pen on mylar paper for science journals and publications. Later, I pursued my dream to study graphic design at Art Center College of Design. Throughout the time, I continued my illustration career in digital format and worked with phorid flies and sphaeromatidae isopods in the Entomology and Crustacea Department at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. After I graduated from Art Center, I worked at Nokia Design as a Senior Designer on product graphics, packaging, and digital elements such as icons and wallpapers for mobile devices. Currently, I am freelancing and involving myself with municipal art projects. I want to contribute my work to the community in a meaningful way. My latest project called Love, Kindness, Unity is part of the Burbank Arts Beautification Program, which commissioned artists to paint their artwork on utility boxes in the Magnolia Park area.

2) How did you first become interested in art?
I had an interest in art from an early age. I love colors, shapes, and lettering. Being an only child, drawing and coloring was my favorite pastime. Nature has always been my number one inspiration. I remembered the first time my father showed me how to use color pencils to blend colors together. It might be a simple demonstration, but to me, I saw magic happen when colors mixed together and overlapped into each other. He opened my eyes to the endless possibility in art and most importantly, that I could have fun while doing it.

3) How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
Art is a form of communication and speaks in a way that sometimes words cannot express. From fine art to performing arts and all the spectrum in between, I think art enriches a community by touching people’s emotions with its beauty and expression. Art ignites connections and conversations with the audience. The energy that the artist(s) puts into their work creates a ripple effect and it resonates with the viewers. Some of the ways that people could engage with art in Burbank is to visit the Betsy Luke Creative Arts Center and their website for the programs they offer. You may also see more and more artwork being painted on the utility boxes around Burbank. They are fun to spot and each has its unique style and a story to tell.  A few of my favorite museums are the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, MOCA, and LACMA in Los Angeles area.

4) If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art is fun and can be therapeutic. Having a creative outlet is a good way to release stress especially during difficult times. One of the things I love about painting is I let go of my worries and just enjoy the process of creating something. The result is not so important, it’s the process of making. I encourage everyone to visit virtual galleries, get inspired, step out of their comfort zones, pick up a pencil to draw or a brush to paint. As Bob Ross would say, “I think there’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us.”

To find out more about Laishan’s work, visit her website, or follow her on Instagram at @laishaitodesign