Interview With Associate Art Director David Lam

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We sit down with BioWare’s David Lam to find out what consists of a day in the life of an associate art director.

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Who are you and what is your role at BioWare?
Well, I’m a husband, father of three, and an artist. So essentially I’m extremely handsome, talented and adored by my wife. My role here at Bioware is Associate Art Director for External Development. I oversee our art effort with our external partners around the globe. I’ve been with EA now almost 11 years and I still really enjoy it.

What is the best part about your job?
Number one would be seeing the culmination of all your hard work represented in the game and having people appreciate and recognize that effort. An added bonus is working with so many great friends and learning from them over the years.

What does an average day look like for you?
7am: A child runs into our bedroom and yells “wake up, I’m hungry”. Get up and get them fed. I jump into the shower, drop my son off at school.
9am: Get into work. Reply to emails from the previous day. Send new emails. Give art feedback.
Noon: Have lunch.
1pm: Attend a meeting. Check the email. Give art feedback. Gather information and talk to coworkers. Provide art feedback.Attend a video conference.
6pm: Drive home. Enter house and jumped on my children. Fight with children to eat their dinner.
7:30pm: Fight with children to get ready for bed (bath, pajamas, brush teeth). Read bedtime stories. Fight with children to go to sleep.
8:30pm: Spend quality time with my wife.
11pm: Go to bed.

Can you tell us about one of your proudest moments working in game development?
Early on in my career, I joined an extremely talented character art team. I was pretty green and the lead and senior staff were producing some amazing art. I was highly intimated. However, I worked my butt off and by the end of the project I was making game assets on par with the team. It’s great to put the work in and really see yourself improve in a tangible way.

What’s a geeky thing about you?
Hmmm… I’m a Trekkie, went to many conventions when I was a kid. I love Joss Whedon. I’ve watched all Buffy, Angel and Firefly episodes (Didn’t really get into Dollhouse). My Dad bought me my first computer (256k ibm clone with monochrome screen) when I was 8 years old, been hooked with games ever since.

Do you have any advice for those wishing to get into the video game industry?
Like anything in this world, if you want to achieve anything it takes hard work and commitment. Our field is highly competitive, so you have to know your stuff and be able to show it. If you want to be an artist, draw! If you want to be a programmer, code! Never underestimate the power of ideas. Creativity and good ideas are what drives our business. If someone asks you what makes you better than somebody else, have an answer.

If you weren’t working in the industry, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be a chef or a full time Dad. I love to eat and I love to cook. I day dream about owning a restaurant someday but I think that notion will remain a dream because the reality of restaurants is that it takes an insane amount of work to be succesful. I love my kids and would like to spend more time with them.

What are you currently playing, reading, or listening to?
Playing: Mass Effect 3.Reading: Alla Prima, Everything I know about painting. Listening: Radiohead, Matthew Good, Pearl Jam… and Yo Gabba Gabba with the kids.