The interdisciplinary independent studio of Charles Lin spans art, design, theater, journalism, advocacy, and other things. Currently, Charles works primarily in Los Angeles and New York in creative direction, strategy, communications. Work has included Dover Street Market, Google, Sundance Film Festival, Oscar Health, Pine & Crane Restaurant, Franklyn, SOMA Magazine, and Various Private Clients. 

Currently, he teaches within the Graphic Design Department at ArtCenter College of Design, wherein he continues a body of research into how theater methodologies can support design practice & pedagogy. Recent theater engagements include The Kennedy Center, The Old Globe, H.B. Studio NYC, Pasadena Playhouse, and the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, where he presently serves as a boardmember.

For further information & related inquiries:

Kennedy Center National Conference, 2021 Institute for Theater Journalism & Advocacy National Residency Award

“Three Turtles Overhead”

Legs crossed, foot-shaking on the lilac bench, I run through the oddly specific checklist of preparation items. Logo-less clothes. Check. 35 hours of only drinking water. Yep. A basic, speckled grey stone in my back left pocket. Indeedy.

Several minutes went by, feeling like hours, and I hear a voice beckon. Turning, I didn’t see anything and rather, realized suddenly that I was now standing in sand. To the left, a pink 1947 Thunderbird, to the right, a cabinet of clear animal figurines. In front, a small, open-ceiling home both exceptionally modern and simultaneously rustic of glass, bricks, wooden beams, fabric.

I couldn’t quite tell what time of day it was at this point, though the sun smiled overhead, and clouds flowed slowly. Feelings began to creep in of being overwhelmed by the occasion, though these quickly subsided, interrupted by a gracious, soft, and everything-voice greeting me by the playground. “Some Tulips. For you.”

Struck by the generosity, my ahahaha body reached out somehow simultaneously doing a part-bow, part-handshake. Very. Awkward. I lifted my head, a neon sign flashing intermittently above the plastic palm tree, “In-Progress.” ... Fitting.

Notebook in hand, I approached, attempting to ease into our conversation. I thought of the list of topics that everyone had sent to me earlier in the week, a generous outpouring from all excited about today’s encounter. Blinking, my feet landed on a field of turf with a roof overhead. A seagull flew by, followed closely by a tumbleweed. Probably most likely caused by now thirty-eight straight hours of only having had water.

Lips parting, I offered a series of topics to start our conversation. Things of anxiety, things of dreams, things of worries, and things of hope. I wanted to know: Where are we headed? Why does it exist? What is the future? What about that letter? What about Daunte Wright? What about Jully Lee? What about Atlanta? Who gets to say what? Whose stories? Which ones?

Excitedly, I sat down on the wicker chair on tatami mats, ready to be basked in wisdom, advice, and clarity. A welcomed gift from a year spent in confusion and liminality, a year spent feeling helpless watching everything unfold from the sidelines of necessary isolation.

And Silence.
Three turtles passed overhead.

The quietude continued as the walls turned white. Looking over, I was met with a knowing smile, likely a precursor to a flood of knowledge to come. Turning my head, I pulled back the blinds of the window, and followed, taxis whizzing by neurotically.

Shouting, I continued, likely just a volume issue earlier: What do you think about Modernity? And Post-Modernity? Meta-Modernity? What comes next? How do we navigate the digital space? Is it real? Is there presence? What does it mean to train with pixels? Is it helping? Is it hurting? Are we losing a generation? Is it making us stronger? Should we keep doing this? Should we pause? Would we be better off doing? Would we be better off not-doing? What about social media? What about the generations? What about diversity? How will it happen? When will it all happen? Are things too busy? Is there too much noise? Anything, please.

And then the In-N-Out surfaced about the same time the purple bowling ball nearly hit me. Dazed, I reached down as the pencil tumbled away leaving me empty handed. Notes scattered and lost, I brushed it all off. Milkshake now in hand, I waited to hear.

Looking around, the winds had turned dark and the candle-lit lighthouse turned on. A handful of bells chimed to the right, followed by the locomotive run by three new influencers. Behind, I noticed a bed of flowers rising and drifting away.

I followed.

I tripped.

I fell.

The pit of colorful balls felt familiar and nostalgic.

I played a bit. I laughed a bit.

Hours later, as I write this to you,

I think of


There is an empty glass cup to my right,

A hazelnut shell to the left,

and this laptop at a slight angle.

A gym-soaked hat


next to a book



Count Your Blessings

And in my

left pocket,

the stone now reads,