Hi there! My name is Hongjun Wu (吴泓骏), a technical artist from Zhuhai, China. Thanks for stopping by!
I work in many very different fields, traditional works such as painting and printmaking, all the way to cool tech like virtual reality and artificial intelligence. I always try to make things that have a healthy blend of tech and art, and my goal is quite simple: If my stuff can help someone on earth have a happier day, I consider it a success.
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- Cornell Tech (2021-2023)
- University of Washington (2017-2021)
- Early Years (1998-2017)
I will move on to Cornell Tech for a dual master’s degree in Information Systems (With a concentration in Connective Media), as well as Information Science in August 2021. I was awarded a $30,000 merit-based scholarship for my studies at Cornell Tech, and I cannot wait to find out what future awaits!
University of Washington
Photo of me by Yukai Yan in front of the Allen Center at University of Washington, 2021.
Before moving to New York, I earned a Bachelor of Art in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts with a 3.96 major GPA at the University of Washington. My field of study was printmaking and computer art, and I was very fortunate to get mentored by many master artists and passionate researchers.
Involvements in the UW School of Art
While studying at the UW School of Art, I was mentored by Claire M. Cowie, Curt Labitzke, and Kim Van Someren and learned traditional art-making techniques such as relief printing, etching, and serigraphy. I was a founding member of UW Printmaking Association, a student ran organization that hosts visiting artist talks and organizes two yearly artwork sale for the school. I was also a volunteer monitoring technician for the UW IVA LINK Space, a studio space for students to work with different media.
Multiple works of mine were exhibited in various locations around the UW campus, as well as online exhibitions since the global pandemic in 2020. During the summer of 2020, we organized an online artwork sales for local artists and raised over $6,000 to support artists and organizations like FAB-5, to help provide free art opportunities to youth leaders in historically colored neighborhoods.
Producing Dazzle! The Juggling Clown
While I was working on my Animation Capstone at the UW Animation Research Labs I worked on an animated short directed by Jason Zayas, Alexander Xavier James, and Cody Wilcoxon. I teamed up with six other students and together we produced a short film called “Dazzle!”, an animated comedy about a clown going to audition at a circus and got hired after a frenzy yet unexpected ride. I lead the animation as well as hard surface modeling part of the production pipeline, while also involved heavily in tool development, rendering, and compositing. This animated short will be shown in film festivals in New York, Seattle, and other places.
A frame from the film “Dazzle!”.
One of the awesome accomplishment along the journey of production is the development of “Xwift”(Previously known as the “AnimKit”). A set of tools for Maya that are developed by me to tackle the challenges we encountered when producing the film remotely due to the pandemic.
Icons of the tools I wrote in Xwift.
Developing SuperFly VR Superhero Simulator
Another mega project I was involved in at the Allen School was SuperFly VR, a research project that was originally developed to study motion sickness caused by different forms of movement in a virtual world that was later turned into a superhero simulator in virtual reality. It was co-developed with the Reality Lab, along with some great humans like Rory Soiffer, John Akers, Yuanyuan Christie Zhao, Nini Le, Terrell Strong, and others.
As one of the game artists, I was involved since the start of the project, and in October 2020, after almost a year’s development, we launched the game onto Steam, itch.io, and Vive Port. Our efforts to turn an idea into a profitable project was successful - multiple YouTubers made videos about it that was watched as high as 3.1 million for a single video, the game was rated “Very Positive” on Steam, we sold over 5,000 copies, and made over $70,000 in revenue, at the time of writing (May 2021). You can find a playlist of real gameplay video here.
Photo of me with colleagues mentioned above in the Reality Lab Incubator in 2019 by David Kessler.
Teaching Assistantship for Machine Learning
Since Spring 2019, I have been appointed as a TA for the CSE/STAT 416: Introduction to Machine Learning course offered at the University of Washington. CSE416 is a 400-level course for undergraduate and graduate students from all majors interested in problem solving, and teaches practical machine learning based on real-world scenario. I helped assisted three successful quarters for Dr. Sewoong Oh, Dr. Valentina Staneva, and Vinitra Swamy, amid the global pandemic.
Aside from usual duties like teaching weekly sections, hosting office hours, and grading assignments, I also co-developed multiple programming assignments, created novice-friendly slides for my quiz sections, as well as wrote some problems for the final exam. I received evaluations as high as 4.9/5 from my students, as well as “Excellent” ratings from all the instructors.
Hongjun is a devoted TA always willing to explain complex Machine Learning concepts in a simple and intuitive way and to support the students in their journey. He worked on par with the graduate TAs, and provided both his student and teaching assistant perspective on how to handle remote teaching. He created exemplary educational materials which can be used in future iterations of the course. It was pleasure to work with him!
Dr. Valentina Staneva, Instructor for CSE416 Spring 2020.
Exchange and Research at Foreign Institutes
Throughout my four years of undergraduate studies at UW, I studied and conducted research in Japan, United Kingdom, Greece, and Switzerland as a visiting scholar and researcher.
I studied at Tohoku University in June 2018, mentored by Dr. Fumio S. Ohuchi. I conducted experiments on topics such as aerodynamics, electromagnetism, and wave physics, and visited some of the labs at Tohoku University that perform state-of-the-art research in engineering. Through guest lectures that was instructed by some of the most knowledgeable professors, I learned about many fields of engineering as well as the Japanese culture. I even had an insider tour to Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC), the frontier of nuclear research in Japan!
University of Washington United Kingdom Division
In August 2018, I visited the UW United Kingdom Division to study English Literature. Mentored by professional book author Peter Buckroyd and professor Dr. William Streitberger, I explored London guided by literature and architecture. I visited many of the churches, including the Saint Paul’s Cathedral, built by Sir Christopher Wren, studied and watched plays by Shakespeare and Wilde, and followed the book Brick Lane to further explore the Bangladeshi community in London.
American College of Greece & Harvard Center of Hellenic Studies
During the summer of 2019, I went to Greece and conducted two months of ethnographic field study led by Dr. Taso G. Lagos and Dr. Nektaria Klapaki in Athens and Nafplion. We wanted to get to know the current situation of the Roma people in Greece, a group of poor and often marginalized and discriminated people in the Greek society. We were hosted by American College of Greece in Athens, and Harvard Center of Hellenic Studies in Nafplion.
I visited the Roma settlements, talked with their tribe leaders, and conducted over 50 interviews with random pedestrians from different parts of Athens about their understanding of the Roma. I then analyzed over 500 interviews we conducted with my research group including Yash Singh, Andrew Pace, Erik Levi Stone, Hongyi Yan, and Shayla Forbes-Luong when I went back to Seattle.
Our findings, “Why Not Brand Themselves? Roma of Greece, the Tourist Imaginary and Academic Tourism as a Platform for Social Justice” is still pending for publish, and the abstract is available.
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)
For a brief amount of time, I was a researcher in the lab of Dr. Shih-Chieh Hsu, working with PhD students on using Convolutional neural network to find traces of long-lived particles and dark matter using the mass data produced by the large hadron collider at CERN.
Unfortunately, after my appointment in teaching assistantship for CSE416, I could not fulfill the commitments for Dr. Hsu’s research. However, because of this experience, I had an opportunity to study in EPFL in electrical engineering with Dr. Karl F. Böhringer during the early fall of 2019.
During my study at Switzerland, I was extremely fortunate to visit the ATLAS and CMS detector at CERN, the Compact Muon Solenoid node for the large hadron collider during their maintenance period, as well as the CERN Data Centre. It was an eye-opening experience, and surely an accomplishment of how far humans can do with our current knowledge in science and engineering.
Photo of me with the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN Large Hadron Collider, 2019.
Research in Aircraft Icing and Aerodynamics
I spent the first two years at UW doing research at Aircraft Icing & Aerodynamics Research Group, aiding the research in how ice formed on wings would affect the performance of the aircraft. I was supervised by Dean Michael Bragg and Dr. Christopher Lum, and was mentored by Dr. Mohammad Reza Soltani. Over the two years, I independently developed a complex open-source control system (Repository) for calibrating pieces of equipment for testing at the UW Kirsten Wind Tunnel.
Photo of the wing model that we used for wind tunnel testing in the UW Aeronautical lab, 2018.
I was designed and manufactured in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, back in 1998. I spent my early life to middle school there. When I was 14, my parents decided to send me to the United States for high school. On January 8th, 2013, I started my journey to California. I studied at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos and spent four years there. I was loved and supported by my host families and teachers, and I could not be more thankful for everyone that helped and cared for me when I was adapting to the new environment.
I graduated from VCHS with a 4.0 GPA in CA scale and attended University of Washington in 2017.
FIRST Robotics Competition Team 4415
Perhaps the greatest experience I had during high school was my involvement in the FIRST Robotics Competition. I was one of the founding members of a small group of students when we started Team 4415 in 2014. Throughout the years, I transitioned from a CAD designer to the lead of the CNC department, and finally became the captain and led the team in 2017. We competed in regional competitions in Los Angeles, Orange County, Las Vegas, and Central Valley.
The training in leadership, industrial design, and manufacturing from all of my mentors, Dalbert Brandon, Paul Devries, Ginger Devries, Carol DeBoer, Rob Dominik, Jim Dekker, Don Long, William Furlong, Charles Aardema, Kyle Fleming, Kyle J. Dominguez, Mark Edlin, Jerry Stratton, Dan Rupprecht, Paul Schroeder, David Fieldhouse, Tesfa Ghebreyesus, and Febien Ghebreyesus paved the road for my studies in college.
Photo of all the robots I built for team 4415 in FIRST Robotics Competition from 2014-2017.