Albert Pak was born and raised in Uzbekistan before moving to the US. He comes from a unique background of Korean and Russian descent, and is a Christian who grew up in a predominantly Muslim country. His passion for art and technology allows him to express himself via photography, graphic design, and computer science. Albert shares his interest in how humanity can be improved based on the means of technology, arts, and healthcare. This story was recorded in partnership with MALA and StoryCorps.
“I was born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. So I lived there for all my childhood. About 12 years before I moved to the United States. It’s predominantly a Muslim country, but it’s a very friendly country to pretty much everyone. Half-Russian, half-Korean. So that’s definitely an interesting mix being that mixture and growing up. Also being a Christian in a Muslim country and definitely set apart from everyone else. Pretty much ever since I was little I was always into drawing. When I was back in Uzbekistan I went to an art academy, a kind of drawing school to learn how to draw live people, nature, and all that stuff.
Drawing black and white pictures and drawing just with pencil; that is one of my passions, one of the things I always liked to do since I was little. Drawing Ninja Turtles, trying to draw Shredder and all those guys. That was really popular back at home. So that kind of stuck with me. But when I came here to the United States, being exposed to all the technology, having easy access to all of the easy technology out here, opened up the horizons for me as far as art.
It’s not just about drawing. Art is also expressing yourself through other mediums. So that’s when I was like, ‘okay photography’. That’s pretty interesting. I started to read on the Internet pretty much anything I could find on how to do photography properly. Using DSLR cameras, what lenses are proper to use, if you’re inside of a club which lens is good to capture, f-stops, and whatnot. So then, while I was in high school, I met with one of my teachers and they were like, ‘Oh we know you like to draw’, and we know you’re into the computers. We have these new courses we’re trying out. Do you want to try that?’ I’m like, ‘why not?’ It’s both computers and art; two things that I love in one. Why not do this?
By Senior year, went through pretty much all of the graphic design classes that they could offer, like design, graphic design, web development. That pretty much stuck with me, and that’s when I figured out that that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s being involved with some type of artform. Most of the time I like to read interesting researches as far as like the betterment of humans in general. When I was little, my dream was to become a doctor, but then I figured out that I like computers more.
Computers are a little easier to fix and to deal with than with humans. But that part of me trying to find out whether through technology or through healthcare, how can we make people better? That’s what- Even outside of work, outside of the all the different projects I have going on, it still interests me. What are people doing out there to make us as humanity better?”