“A Day in the Life” with digital/technical artist Tian Cao

Tian Cao is my younger sister, I’ve watched her grow up. She showed her talent in drawing at a very young age, she is our whole family’s little artist. Tian was born in a small city in the central region of China, in her elementary school we moved to a bigger city, and our parents found her a good teacher to teach her drawing and painting further.

After her high school, Tian went to Toronto alone, she is always an independent child who makes her own decisions, and no exception this time, she chose the school and the program she likes. Tian usually plans more and earlier than her peers. She always wants to work in the game industry, so she took relative courses, made practices, prepared portfolios. Our family doesn’t really need to worry about her every step.

Out of our expectation, she does an excellent job on her graduation digital art project and won the province award, I’m so proud of my sister. Not only scored in her art practice, but she also got a great offer to work in an ideal game company to start her career life.

Tian Cao is always willing to try different things and challenge herself, she is still so young so far, I believe she will achieve more in both her beloved art field and game field in the future.

tian cao
When I travelled in HongKong last year, I like busy cities.
tian cao
The first time I came to the Niagara Fall, it was Christmas eve.
The first time I went to the Nuit Blanche, this was in the AGO.
Tian Cao
I visited Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition, this was the visitor participatory part that you could put the colourful stickers to deco a white room.
Tian Cao
I was tattooing for my friend.
Tian Cao
This was the first time I went to Oshawa to do a land art assignment, it was cold.
I was in a light installation exhibition in China, Guangzhou. I really like the installation that interacts with the audience, digital art usually has this feature.
A very old photo, I was drawing at a park in my hometown.


What ‘hood are you in?

I was living in Toronto for the last four years just next to my school, OCAD, it was a perfect place beside Chinatown and the AGO. Last month I went back to my country, China, and moved to Shenzhen to start my career, which is a very young city full of internet companies. It’s a southern city that almost only has the summer season which is totally different from Canada.

What do you do?

I’m working as a technical artist for the game now, but I still love to consider myself and keep creating as a digital artist now and future.

What are you currently working on?

I just finished my college life and am a technical artist mainly working on in-game rendering, there are still a lot of things for me to learn. I consider this as the very beginning of my career in the game industry.

Where can we find your work?

I’m still at a beginner level in art, my work are many attempts to different fields, this website includes some of them.


Tian Cao is the Ontario winner for the 18th annual BMO 1st Art! Competition. The exhibition will showcase all 13 winning works from September 15 to October 16. The award recipients will receive cash prizes of $15,000 for the national award and $7,500 for each regional winner, spanning Canada’s diverse provinces and territories.

To view images of the winning works on BMO Financial Group’s website, please visit: https://1stArt.bmo.com.



About Joel Levy 2552 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography