13 October, 2023

Creative Futures - An Interview with Eugene Kam, BISS Puxi Alumnus

Creative Futures - An Interview with Eugene Kam, BISS Puxi Alumnus - Creative Futures-Eugene BISS Puxi Alumnus

When did you graduate from BISS Puxi?

I graduated in 2022.

What were your IB subject choices at SL/HL?

My IB choices were HL Art, Maths and Chemistry, with SL English, Mandarin B and Economics.

What course are you now studying at university?

BA (Hons) Architecture


Creative Futures - An Interview with Eugene Kam, BISS Puxi Alumnus - Creative Futures-Eugene BISS Puxi Alumnus


What valuable experiences did you take away from your time at BISS Puxi?


I was at BISS for 13 years and it was a great environment. Leaving the school was a totally different experience because I left my city of birth for the first time and was living independently. Cherish your friends, stay in contact and don’t forget to thank the teachers that got you to where you are today.

How do you feel an international education shaped you and your future ambitions?


An international education has given me the ability to communicate fluently with other people, while giving me a lot more options of what I could do. Having been allowed to choose more courses of study gave me the option to test out what I like and did not like throughout the years. This was a great experience. The people I met at BISS allowed me to learn how to communicate with different people from different cultures, which is an important skill for university.

How have your experiences of university life been so far?


University life has been a lot busier than I expected. Some advice would be to manage your time properly and definitely do not procrastinate, especially when studying architecture. The workload tends to stack quite quickly, so make sure your time is managed well. The people you meet at university are completely different. It's a completely different environment where you have to be disciplined and independent without the relying on your parents.


Creative Futures - An Interview with Eugene Kam, BISS Puxi Alumnus - Creative Futures-Eugene BISS Puxi Alumnus 


Would there be any advice you would give to students who may follow a similar path as you?


My advice for people who want to take an art course at university is that choosing IB Art is compulsory, not just for the course, but also for the skills needed; such as portfolio skills, time management skills, experimental skills. This is also what has given me an advantage, taking the IB course rather than A levels.


How important is the portfolio and personal statement preparation for university applications?


The portfolio and personal statement are crucial for university applications, especially for a course like architecture, which is considered a 'professional' course/career. It requires more specific requirements within the personal statement, which is why for most of my IAs, I focused on topics around architecture, experimenting with concrete, experimental design and maths studies with buildings, such as the Shanghai Tower. There is a limit to the number of words you can write, so be specific. The portfolio is as equally important, maybe even more so. It's the chance to show a selection of your work, development, and an overall style of how you work. Basically, it is a summary of your work and how you build up, develop or solve problems.


At university, the work is basically 100% portfolio work, learning the basics of how to set up a portfolio and showing your work and presentation. Everyone has their own style, so every portfolio is different — it’s like writing a story within your book using your work. It certainly is one of the things that will keep your education moving as you will need to update this every year, until job applications; so your portfolio is crucial.


Your portfolio should show a cohesive journey of your work, which includes your strengths. My art classes outside of school (enhancing basic principles of drawing) also gave me the skills to become experimental with a variety of mediums, learning how to sketch, paint and even draw digitally.


What advice would you give to the next generation of creatives about education and their future ambitions?


My advice for the next generation of creatives is be yourself. Everyone has their own style, so why bother living under the shadow of other artists — use them as an influence rather than a goal. The future is time consuming, but don’t worry, and AI can’t take over as creativity comes from the brain.

Also, don’t always try to fit in. Be yourself and you’ll naturally fit in. Don’t waste time pretending to be who you aren’t. Being yourself will naturally attract people who are similar to you: a natural force that propels you towards your best self.