Concordia Shanghai Mar 14 2024

A Budding Student Artist Driven to Auto Design

High school junior Lucas J. is fascinated by automotive design, spending countless hours at his desk perfecting his craft. As a standout student designer at Concordia, Lucas demonstrates the incredible possibilities that come from innovative use of creative talents and a willingness to take risks.


His recent project, the CADILLAC SEMI IQ, has garnered significant attention, being featured in “Automotive Design Planet”, a publication followed by over 70,000 auto enthusiasts.

The Drive Behind the Design

Lucas’s passion for automotive design ignited ten years ago, fueled by his fascination with cars and an early talent for sketching them. His aspiration to design his own vehicle took a significant leap forward in 2022, when he was named one of the Top 20 in North America at the prestigious Magna Global Bold Perspective Award design competition. This was quite an accomplishment, considering most submissions were from college-level students. 

At Concordia, Lucas has benefited from the guidance and expertise of his teachers, Ms. Vanessa Vanek and Mr. Benjamin Erny, gaining valuable insights and refining his technical skills. In the Applied Learning Design class, he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the Design Cycle, along with exceptional discipline in meticulously working through each stage. 

“When I first met Lucas in my Foundations of Art class last year, it became clear that his mind was always thinking about design ideas. His passion for design and, more than anything, innovation in design is contagious.” — Ms. Vanessa Vanek, High School Visual Arts teacher.  

In 2023, alongside his friend Harmon, Lucas co-founded _TRYAD (Tomorrow’s Road for Young Automotive Designers), a student-led organization designed to connect high school students passionate about automotive design with industry professionals. So far, the collective has attracted close to 100 members from Southeast Asia to North America and Europe, providing budding designers like Lucas with invaluable learning opportunities alongside professionals from institutions such as the College for Creative Studies (CCS). 


Creative Mathematics and Storytelling

Lucas believes that successful automotive design requires more than just the ability to visualize and convert 2D drawings into 3D models. He views a solid mathematical foundation as essential, describing car design as “a very mathematical art.” For example, he skillfully applies math concepts like the Golden Spiral to his designs to enhance the visual harmony and sophistication of his vehicles. 

Every design Lucas creates tells a story. One project, dedicated to a close friend, imagines the car as a sanctuary for individuals facing mental health challenges in our ever-expanding urban environments. 

Beyond his skills in automotive design, Lucas also excels as a graphic designer, utilizing his talents for Concordia's high school student publication, “Phoenix Post.” 

“He sets the bar high for other art and design students, showing them that harnessing their creative strengths can bring excellent results and great success,” comments Ms. Vanek. 

With college on the horizon, Lucas is unwavering in his pursuit of his passion. We're incredibly fortunate to count him among our students and eagerly anticipate where his creative gifts and passions will take him.