Jason Chen

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Jason Chen, who can typically found via his alias Renzoku, is an anthropomorphic artist. Born in northern Illinois on January 22, 1985, he is currently residing in New Jersey as a student of Rutgers University.

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[edit] Art

Although he frequently declares his lack of actual ties to the "furry community," as he refers to it, he has been drawing anthropomorphic characters since as early as 10 or 11 years of age.

This began in the fifth grade when Jason began to create art related to a tabletop RPG designed by a friend called 'Cats on Wheels.' Dissatisfied with the lack of realism involved with non-anthropomorphic cats engaging in duels on skateboards (and using such complex weaponry as swords and firearms), Jason drew his first 'upright cats' with opposable thumbs as a response. From there, Jason's preoccupation with 'doodling,' as he calls it - regarding art as little more than a hobby - grew. His style began predominantly anime influenced, his characters short and disproportionate with large, overemphasized eyes. They were even occasionally displayed in scenes of unnecessary gore and depraved violence designed to shock and awe his fellow seventh graders. In the eighth grade, however, the intensive study of anatomy provided the first step in creating his current style, depicting furries as being nearly human except for muzzles, larger ears, tails, and fur. He would later omit tails from his characters altogether, citing them as a 'design liability' that interfered with the function of human amenities such as clothing, doors, vehicles, and chairs.

The majority of his newer material is firmly within the science fiction genre, although his fantasy-based characters (most of them originating from his text-based roleplay on Redwall MUCK) do make occasional appearances. Jason is a firearms and military enthusiast; for several years he belonged to one of the higher-profile Airsoft 'milsim' teams in Northern Illinois, and he had brief ties to both Illinois and New Jersey citizen militia groups before breaking away due to ideological differences. So, in many of his character illustrations, firearms and some sort of military garb are de rigeur.

Completely self-taught, Jason claims little or no outside influence to his works, and maintains little if any contact with any 'big names' in the furry community. He does claim to maintain frequent conversations with fellow artist James Donaldson, with whom he shares a passion for firearms and drawings of furs that shoot them. The first real-life meeting between the two (and, notably, Jason's first real-life meeting with any member of the furry community) took place at a shooting range in Winthrop Harbor, Wisconsin.

Although his older works were done using a wide range of media from pencil to brush ink to coloured pencils and watercolours, Jason's more recent artwork is completely digital.

[edit] Projects

Jason has a long history of beginning art projects with varying degrees of enthusiasm, then abandoning them days, weeks, or months later.

Untitled - His earliest, begun in 6th grade, was a science fiction comic set on Mars sometime in the later 21st century. Heavily inspired by the DOOM series of video games, as well as the series of novels written by Dafydd Ab Hugh and Brad Linaweaver. Starring a host of minor characters who survive in various forms even today, no more than six sketches and one 'test' comic page was ever made for this nameless setting.

"Heartshard" - In the 9th grade, an English course with intensive focus on symbolism in literature inspired him to create a piece of fiction as heavily based on bare naked archetypes as possible. A good deal of art was created for the work and three iterations of the text were begun, but none made it very far before the project faded.

Rework the Dead: Valiant - In 11th grade came an unofficial 'fan spinoff' of David Hopkins' infamous furry comic, "Rework the Dead". Titled "Rework The Dead: Valiant," it generated a very small fanbase on the Jack forums before losing steam. Its primary advantage over its predecessor was the preservation of the Rework The Dead concept, but portrayed in a more realistic style. Jason claims that this change made the excessive gore (for which the original series is so well know) more sensible to readers, since Jason's furries are very close to human, below the neckline. Although the story was slated to begin with the deployment of a US Marine Corps strike force into the ruined city of Los Angeles to recover "something" left behind by the Furry Infantry, neither further plot details nor any strong characterizations emerged. Now referred to only as "Valiant Company," it exists only as a collection of sketches, mostly detailing the equipment and weapons that were to be used in the story.

Wasteland Wars - He was also involved in a project know as Wasteland Wars, for which he was contracted several hundred dollars to provide character illustrations for playing pieces. The company responsible for producing Wasteland Wars, however, apparently went bankrupt and contact was completely lost between them. Samples of his completed 'character plates' can be found on his deviantART gallery.

[edit] Role-Playing

It would take almost three years after Jason began drawing his upright cats before he discovered the furry community, starting with FurryMUCK. His earliest avatar character was a black anthropomorphic cat named Zakkat who appeared for a month or so before being replaced by DOOM novel inspired mustelid Fly Taggart (link to Wikipedia article on the original fictional character from the novels). From there, he branched on to Redwall MUCK, a G-PG rated text-based roleplay centered in Brian Jacques fictional Redwall world. Since then, he has made appearances on SPR, Conspiracy MU*, Larswood MUCK, Tapestries, and Frontier Galaxy MUCK, typically as characters 'recycled' from his Redwall roleplays.

With a little-known history of juvenile delinquency, a distinct lack of moral and ethic fiber, and a strong disregard for authority, Jason made his appearance on 'adult' themed furry MUCKs at as young as twelve years of age, although his actual involvement with the activities of said MUCKs at the time is unknown.

[edit] External links

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