Young Guns 17: Northy Chen

By Brett McKenzie on Nov 04, 2019

Shining a light on the amazing class of Young Guns 17

What happens when you take a jury of 60+ respected creatives, more than 500 entries from all over the globe, and mix them all together for two months of serious consideration, debate and decision-making? Eventually you get the winners of Young Guns 17! This year, The One Club for Creativity is honoring a creatively diverse class of 28 winners, including animators, designers, photographers, illustrators, film directors and editors, all of whom came out of this process as true champions of their craft.

Ahead of the Young Guns 17 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 20, we are featuring the various superstars who will be taking the stage that evening.

Northy Chen


New York, NY


Zhoushan, China



First of all, congratulations! Now how did you first discover Young Guns? 

Some talented friends of mine had won Young Guns before. I saw how thrilled and happy they were when the news was announced, and that inspired me to give it a try myself. I was so lucky to get in on my first try!

Which of the projects that you entered is your personal favorite?

I would have to say WIFI-POET. So many wonderful friends and strangers have contributed to this project, and it will continue to evolve.

How would you describe your work?

I enjoy works that are process-driven. I pay a lot of attention crafting systems that can generate content according to a certain logic, instead of working on the content directly. I enjoy the autonomy of such systems, sometimes they really surprise me, they react as if they are sentient.

What is your favorite tool when it comes to making what you do, something you’d feel naked without? 

I don't think I can do work without my iPhone anymore, it's that essential.

What do you do when you hit a creative wall, when you are stuck for ideas and solutions?

When I hit a block, I like to take a shower and talk to my fellows — not at the same time.

Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career? 

I'm influenced by creators who work at the intersection of design and technology. Thomas Thwaites and Kelly Dobson immediately come to mind.

Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners that you look up to and admire?

Ryan Dunn and Wyeth Hansen of Labour (YG6).

Name a creative dream that you have yet to fulfill.

I would like to further develop the product line Emergency Use Only

Any final thoughts for the Young Guns community?

Thank you!


“Unlike those who seem to be embracing the status quo, Northy Chen is a digital native with a healthy appetite for the unknown and imaginary. Her curiosity and observant eye enable her to come up with simple, poetic ideas, which, often enhanced with a touch of code result in real-life interactions between humans, machines and even hamsters.”

“Northy questions technologies we use today in order to imagine futures we might desire tomorrow. Through the process of prototyping Northy and friends are able to take these future scenarios “from fiction into reality” and push the boundaries of the design field.”

Catelijne van Middelkoop
Strange Attractors Design
Young Guns 4 Winner

"Northy blends the digital and physical in ways that point to the future of the design profession. She's an example of a new breed of multidisciplinary designers comfortable working end-to-end across mediums and technologies. Her work explores new possibilities for mobile storytelling platforms, digitally-enabled kinetic sculpture, and experiential spaces."

Jonn Rothenberg
Founding Partner, Managing Director
Young Guns 5 Winner

The Young Guns 17 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 20 in New York City. 




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