All posts by banny

Mobikes in China

Eco-friendly, convenient, and low cost—meet Mobike, a Chinese bicycle-sharing app launched early last year. After a mere 299 CNY deposit and a quick identity verification process, users can rent a bike and cruise through the streets. Founded by Hu Weiwei, led by ex-Uber executive Wang Xiaofeng, and financially backed by Chinese tech company Tencent, the app has been quickly ramping up in popularity this past year. Fleets of these orange-rimmed bicycles with sleek silver frames can now be commonly spotted through the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and most recently Chengdu.


中国去年发布的自行车分享APP——摩拜单车不仅环保便捷,而且价格亲民。下载APP后,只需要299的押金和一个快速的身份验证,用户就能租借到车,然后出街骑游。创始人胡炜炜在Uber总经理王晓峰的带领下,获得了中国高科技大佬级公司腾讯的资金支持,该APP经去年推出后迅速流行开来。摩拜单车家的自行车造型美观,银色的车身和橘黄色的车轮相得益彰,在诸多城市,如北京、上海、广州、深圳以及最近的成都,都能看到它们在街边排成一列列的身影。

After completing a simple registration process, the app allows users to scan the QR code or enter a serial number through the app to unlock the smart lock of a bike. Mobikes are installed with a GPS system, which allows users to locate bikes in their vicinity by pulling up an in-app map and even reserving bikes for fifteen minutes. The innovative app also tracks a user’s journey, calculating distance traveled, length of ride, and calories expended. The bike only costs one CNY per 30 minutes to ride. A newer model, dubbed Mobike Lite, is even cheaper, set at a rate of 0.5 CNY for every half an hour.


简单的注册程序后,APP用户通过扫描二维码或者输入一个序列号,就可以智能解码一辆自行车。摩拜单车自带GPS系统,通过地图指引能让用户在最近的地方找到自行车,甚至在APP上还提供保留自行车十五分钟的功能。这个创新型APP还能追踪用户行程,计算旅行里程、骑车时间和卡路里消耗量。一辆自行车用三十分钟只需要一元钱。另外一个最新推出的模型Mobike Lite价格就更为划算,使用半个小时的自行车才花0.5元

Upon completing a ride, users are allowed to park the bike in nearly any public location along the street, as long as it’s within a legal moped and bicycle parking space. This feature sets itself apart from other competitors in the country and is even an improvement over other longstanding bike-sharing services, such as New York’s Citi Bike or Taipei’s YouBike, where riders are required to park and retrieve bikes from designated parking hubs, an inconvenience that can deter users.


用户在用车完成一段行程后,只要在就近的公众场所找到合法的停车区域,就可以停车。这个特点让这款APP从竞争对手中脱颖而出,甚至可以说是同类型产品中一大标志性提升,比如纽约的Citi Bike和台北的YouBike对停车地点就有要求,需要在指定的停车中心里停放,这造成的不便无疑让很多用户放弃继续使用产品。

Of course, with the widespread usage of the Mobike app, there are bound to be negligent riders who might be tempted to park in less-than-considerate locations. To combat this, Mobike has implemented a points system with penalties attached to discourage such behavior. Points are deducted when a user is caught parking inappropriately. Once a user’s points fall below a certain threshold, the cost of renting a bike drastically increases. For repeat offenders, their account could eventually be completely suspended. Points can be slowly accumulated through completing a ride, taking a photo of where a bike is parked to help the next rider locate it, and reporting parking violations.


当然,随着APP的摩拜单车的广泛使用,必然有冒失的用户为了方便忍不住停在一些欠考虑的地方。为了解决这个问题,MOBIKE采用了一套积分制,对不当行为有相应惩罚以减少类似的情况发生,对于累次犯规者,租金大幅提升。也通过逐步积分的方式,鼓励用户用车后,拍下停车地方以方便后来的租借者定位,或者是举报违规停车行为。

Last month, Mobike debuted a brand new upgraded bike model in Beijing and Shanghai. The main changes to the newer bike is the addition of a storage basket on the front of the bike and an adjustable seat that allows riders to easily change the height of the bike saddle; the weight of the bikes have also decreased and an improved braking system has been installed, substantially improving the overall riding experience. By constantly improving, focusing on user experience, and being located in Chinese cities where gridlocked streets and sardine-like subway conditions are commonplace, Mobike is starting to establish itself as a clearly superior transportation alternative.


上个月,摩拜单车在北京和上海首次推出全新升级版自行车模型。新自行车的主要变化包括:车前添加的储物篮,可轻松调节高度的自行车座椅,车辆重量有所减轻,刹车系统得以改进,总之对用户来说,可以大幅提升骑车体验。摩拜单车不断升级完善,重视用户体验,旨在为中国大城市中苦陷于交通堵塞和拥挤地铁的人群,打造出行的最佳交通方式。

Mobike for iOS users is available for download here. The Android version is available for download here.


iOS版本的摩拜单车可在此处下载,Android的版本可在此处下载

Website: mobike.com
Weibo~/mobikecn

 

Contributor: David Yen
Photographer: Banny Wang
Additional Images Courtesy of Mobike


网站: mobike.com
微博: ~/mobikecn

 

供稿人: David Yen
摄影师: Banny Wang
附加图片由Mobike提供

The Nike Studio

All designers strive to provide users a sense of joy and fulfillment through their designs. No matter if it’s a space, a game, or software, they hope for their design to be immersive and to become an escape from reality. In 2015, COORDINATION ASIA designed The Nike Studio for Nike Beijing around the concepts of infinity and empowerment. The sleek and futuristic design won them the prestigious ‘best-of-best’ award for the interior retail category from the German Design Council’s Iconic Awards.


在设计界里,不管是娱乐场所空间、游戏还是功能性软件的设计中,设计师们都力求在所营造的情境中,参与者们可以感到愉悦和满足,从而忘记真实世界。是为沉浸式体验。近期,协调亚洲在2015年为北京耐克工作室The Nike Studio所进行的设计,便以基于有趣和未来主题的沉浸式设计,斩获德国设计委员会标志性设计奖室内零售设计类别的最佳设计奖。

Looking to celebrate the World Athletics Championship in Beijing and to help promote China’s “National Fitness Program,” Nike temporarily converted a 1200 square meter art gallery into an impressive multipurpose space. There, they unveiled the Nike Holiday 2015 collection and their brand new running community N+RC (Nike+ Run Club). The renovated space consisted of brightly lit display rooms, dark workout labs, and multi-functional lounge areas.


2015年,Nike品牌为了迎接当年的北京世界田径锦标赛,推广全民健身,对一个1200平方米的艺术画廊进行了临时改造,并在此展出当季的Nike Holiday 2015系列和最新的奔跑社区系列N+RCNike+ Run Club)。整个空间涵盖了包括亮色系的产品陈列区、暗色系的高能运动工作室,甚至多功能休息区等一系列体验空间。

In the spacious product showroom, COORDINATION ASIA’s design team used frosted-over installations and brightly lit, high ceilings to create a sleek all-white interior. “Flash Pack” and “H015” from the Nike 2015 winter collection were on display atop elevated platforms within reflective booths, carefully arranged on linear panels. The design is meant to urge visitors to go outside, brave the cold of winter, and go for a run. Shoes from the Nike ZOOM collection were also on display, placed in rows on semi-transparent LED screens, giving them the illusion of being suspended in midair.


在产品陈列区,协调亚洲的设计团队在宽敞的敞开式空间内,用磨砂的装置设计和明亮、高挑的天花营造出冰冻和严寒的感觉。他们将2015年冬季的“Flash Pack”和“H015”系列置于镜面展台的包围中,精心陈列在悬挂的线条鲜明的层板上,从而更好地表达出产品鼓励人们走出户外,不惧严寒尽情奔跑的设计理念。“ZOOM”系列的所有鞋子则被固定在几排半透明的LED屏幕上,在光影的衬托下如同悬浮在空中,着重体现出动感的韵律。

The workout lab drastically differs from the product showroom. Instead of bright alabaster walls, it’s a nearly all-black space. LED lights pierce the space in the form of intersecting luminous lines. In the dark space, the LEDs aren’t only sources of light, but are used to turn the space into a futuristic scene that feels to have come straight out of a sci-fi film. Furthermore, the contrasting light and darkness brings forth a sense of intensity that aims to convey the allure of sports and athletics.


提供产品原型的运动实验室,有别于产品陈列区,在色彩上由明亮几乎全部转为纯黑,空间中的线条元素也以LED发光条实现。在黑暗中,明亮的LED发光条不仅是作为光源,更是塑造出如科幻电影中熟悉的未来科技感,让人极易沉浸其中专注于其中的运动氛围。此外,空间的张力也在这一明一暗的强烈对比中迸发而出,为运动和健身的魅力找到了全新的诠释方式。

Venturing from the workout space to the multi-functional rest area, the color scheme gradually becomes brighter. The locker room is flanked by black cabinets on both sides of the room, which are connected to white LED strips running along the walls and ceiling. Boldly emblazoned on the wall is a motivational phrase that reads: “Don’t dream of it. Train for it.”


运动实验室转向多功能休息区处,色彩逐渐转向明亮。“运动员休息室”空间内布有相应设计的座椅以供运动员休息;更衣室内,两侧黑色的衣物柜上方通过附在墙壁和天花板的白色LED发光条连接,承袭了整个空间的线条感,墙上更写有“Don’t dream of it. Train for it.”(将梦想付诸行动)装点空间,激励斗志。

Throughout the entire project, COORDINATION ASIA worked closely off of the concepts of Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman’s two quotes: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” and “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” The core of the design still revolved around the concepts of infinity and empowerment, and COORDINATION ASIA’s meticulous use of lines successfully turned the space into an impactful visual experience that conveyed a sense of infinity and athletic passion.


协调亚洲的设计团队在整个项目中,从耐克联合创始人Bill Bowerman所言的让全世界的运动员都能感受到创新与动力以及每个人都可以成为运动员作为源点出发,以“无限和力量”为主线,利用线条在透视中产生的延伸感,创造出一种对感官的冲击,成功让人感受到运动的激情。

Websitecoordination.asia

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of COORDINATION ASIA

 


网站coordination.asia

 

供稿人: Banny Wang
图片由协调亚洲提供

 

Game City

In an effort to curb the problem of video game addiction, the Chinese government passed a law in 2000 that banned the production and sale of game consoles, in addition to all gaming accessories. It wasn’t until 2013 that the ban was lifted. In these 13 years, Microsoft came out with XBOX, Nintendo came out with Wii, and the Sony Playstation 2 evolved into its 4th generation. During this period of rapid development in the gaming industry of home consoles, Chinese players could only really buy pirated games and equipment through rather unconventional channels. During this time, the traditional arcade has managed to survive in China.


为了防止青少年过渡沉迷于游戏,中国政府于2000年颁发了一项规定,禁止了国内的家用电子游戏设备以及零附件的生产和销售。直至2013年,这项禁令才被解除。这十三年间,微软出了XBOX,任天堂出了Wii,索尼的PlayStation也从2代进化到4代。在这恰是家用游戏机以及相关游戏极速发展的时期,中国玩家只能通过非常规渠道购买水货,以及盗版游戏来享受这一项娱乐。另一方面,传统街机厅也暂时得以幸存。

The Beijing-based Portuguese photographer Ana Pinto, who is also an avid video game enthusiast, has been documenting arcades in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other Chinese cities, and the people that she encountered in them, for about two years now. Ana started this project partly out of curiosity and surprise that so many arcades still existed in China, but also partly out of her own nostalgia for such places. Many of the subjects that Ana would encounter seemed “completely absorbed in this world of colorful artificiality and constant stimulation of flashing screens, having become detached and oblivious of everything else around them.”


现居北京的葡萄牙摄影师Ana Pinto,作为一个电子游戏爱好者,一方面出于对中国传统街机厅这种现状的惊讶和好奇,一方面也出于怀旧情绪,她从两年前开始举起相机,在北京、上海、广州等城市的街机厅里边游戏,边记录下她看到的人群。正如所有沉浸在游戏中的玩家一样,Ana所观察的这群人也是心无旁骛,“看起来完全被眼前那个五彩斑斓的虚拟世界,以及闪亮屏幕带来的持续性刺激完全吸进去了。”

Usually when taking these photos, Ana tries to avoid disrupting or distracting her subjects, but on the occasions when she was noticed, it produced some interesting reactions. “All I can say is that the ones that did acknowledge my presence and intention would smile, giggle, or proudly try to show off their dancing skills,” Ana admits, “I definitely felt that the dancers – more than anybody else – loved being photographed. They felt special.”


在这些照片的拍摄过程中,尽管摄影师尽力避免干扰被摄对象,但是整个观察者效应还是引发了诸多有意思的互动。那些注意到Ana的存在和意图的人,“他们会微笑、偷笑,或者自豪地炫耀他们的舞技。”她说。“比起其他人,我绝对认为那些跳舞的人更喜欢被拍摄。他们觉得自己很特别。”

At first, Ana was surprised that arcades were still popular here, but after realizing that until very recently home consoles were banned, it made a lot of sense. She was also especially impressed with the popularity of dancing games like Dance Dance Revolution, and how some people would play the game as a way to keep fit, sometimes even showing up at the arcade in their gym clothes. “I also became acquainted with the Chinese fishing game, which is used for gambling,” Ana tells us, “and actually, some arcades in China only serve as a front for such illegal practices, and I ended up running into some of them.”


相比她去过的其他地方,这里的街机厅除了因为曾经的禁令而意外地生意兴旺着外,玩家们对跳舞机的偏爱也让Ana印象极为深刻。她注意到很多人将其当作健身的方式,甚至直接穿着健身服装前来。此外,她还告诉我们:“我对中国那种用来赌博的钓鱼机有所熟悉。事实上,中国的有些街机厅挂羊头卖狗肉,借以掩盖其非法的营业。而我恰巧碰上过几家。”

Now with the increasing popularity of home consoles and smart phones, China’s arcade market will inevitably face some decline. But as a consumer, Ana believes that the arcade experience is irreplaceable and unique. When thinking about its future, she ponders, “as long as there are nostalgic enthusiasts, who knows? The U.S. has been experiencing a minor arcade resurgence. It is like with Polaroids and vinyl records. People love revivals.”


在家用游戏机和掌上智能终端大行其道的全球大势之下,中国的街机厅市场自然也不可避免地走向衰落。但是,在Ana这样的消费者心里,街机厅的体验具有其不可取代的独特性。关于街机厅的将来,她说,“只要还有一批复古的热衷者,谁知道会怎样呢。美国经历了一波小小的街机厅复兴,就像宝丽来和黑胶唱片。人就是喜欢旧物复兴。”

These photos, in addition to capturing the nostalgia associated with the video games from our childhood, also draw attention to the great and significant cultural relevance of video games. Her series of candid portraits Game City examines our sometimes conflicting relationship with technology, reiterating our relentless engagement with screens, which she doesn’t “necessarily perceive as a negative thing – but as an interesting and inevitable force that will shape things to come.”


而在这个系列的图像中,除了追忆我们童年时期屏幕上的娱乐体验,Ana更强调的是电子游戏的文化相关性。这个叫做《Game City》的偷拍肖像系列,不可避免地审视着我们和科技的关系,重申我们和电子屏幕之间无尽的牵连。而这种牵连,“我个人并不认为这些行为是消极的,而是将它看作一个不可避免的有趣驱动力,这种驱动力也决定了其他由此而发的事物形态。”

Websiteanabelapinto.com

 

Contributor: Banny Wang


网站anabelapinto.com

 

供稿人: Banny Wang

Reach’s Street Art

Reach is a Taiwan-based, multifaceted artist who plays many different creative roles; he’s not only an illustrator, but is also a creative director and photographer. He began his artistic journey in 1995 with graffiti and experimented with a variety of techniques, starting from tagging, to bubble letters, to wildstyle, and eventually 3D pieces. Over the years, Reach worked tirelessly to refine his artwork, looking to create a distinctive style of his very own. His perseverance has led him to become the established artist that he is today, and many consider him to have pioneered Taiwan’s graffiti and street art movement. One of his most famous characters is Pink Bear, a cartoon bear with lighting bolts for eyes. To create it, he used pink, one of his favorite colors, and black-and-white spray paint, which he considers to be an essential item to carry on a day-to-day basis. Not long after, he created the Blue Cat character and his famous cat’s claws, both of which have become iconic elements in his work. In 2009, he created Reach Boy, a character that not only represents himself, but is also a vessel for him to present his worldly views.


來自台灣的Reach目前是位具有多重身份的藝術家,畫家、藝術總監、攝影師。從1995年開始塗鴉,從Tag, Bubble Letter開始,到Wild Style以及3D,Reach一路不斷摸索前進,找尋真正屬於自己的風格,現在的他已經成為了台灣塗鴉先鋒之一。多年下來,他用最愛的粉紅和必備的黑白噴漆,創造出了具有閃電眼睛的Pink Bear,以及隨後的Blue Cat包括衍生出來的貓爪等經典形像以及圖形​​。今次,他以2009年基於“塗鴉人”特徵創作出的Reach Boy為角色,是為了通過這一個代表著自己的形象表達自己看到的世界。

Reach’s journey to becoming an artist wasn’t all smooth sailing. After making the decision to pursue street art full time in 2005, he faced many financial hardships. In 1999, after becoming the leader of SoulSkool, a Kaohsiung graffiti crew, he had to come to terms with many difficult decisions. Seeing the challenges he’s faced as valuable experiences, the mental fortitude that came with having dealt with these hardships have contributed to his career as an artist. Looking back on his past, he says, “Making a career out of being an artist will be different for everybody. Every artist will have to walk their own path. Identifying fact from fiction is important, but having a clear conscience is the most important. My only advice is for them to be patient.”


從一開始到現在,他在這條創作道路上也並非一帆風順。 2005年決心做職業街頭藝術的他,也曾經歷過一段經濟困難時期。然而1999年起已擔任高雄塗鴉團 (SoulSkool) 團長的他,已經面對、處理很多現實面的事情,並將這種經驗和心理準備帶到隨後新的職業決​​定中。今天的他回望那段時光,表示,“從事藝術創作,每個人都有不同的方式跟不同的道路要走,問心無愧最重要,看清事實很重要。唯一能夠建議的,就是’be patient’” 。

When street artists start gaining a following and receiving attention from the media as well as from other artists, they’ll often start receiving opportunities to create paid commercial work. Reach’s success today followed this familiar route that other street artists have gone down. The balancing act between creating art and commercial work is a delicate one, and Reach isn’t afraid to speak out about artists having financial needs. He emphasizes that no matter what a person’s viewpoint on the differences between artwork and commercial work might be, as long as the creator stays devoted to his own creative process and beliefs, then these two types of creations are only different in how they’re presented and the artistic quality of the creations will not be affected.


街頭藝術家在擁有了很多追隨者,並受到媒體和藝術家的關注之後,常常擁有機會以成名時候的街頭風格從事一些帶有商業性質的工作。如今的Reach無疑就是這些藝術家中的一員。對這種在藝術和商業中的遊走,他表明創作者作為社會人在實際物質上的基本需求,並強調,儘管每個人對藝術與商業在主觀界定上存在差異,但是只要維持自己創作的初衷和信念,那麼這兩種創作形式只是形式上的不同,並不存在本質上的衝突。

Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo

From being the head of Taiwan’s first graffiti crew to becoming the well-known artist that he is today, he has already had his fair share of solo exhibitions. Reach not only watched Taiwan’s graffiti scene mature and develop, but was an active and integral part of its growth. “In my opinion, I believe that Taiwanese graffiti is becoming more ‘professional’ so to speak. The entire environment and related industries are as well.” Having observed all the progress made over the years, he also sees many seasoned artists still committed to their art and continuing to improve upon their craft. But a lack of new artists entering the scene has left a void that’s yet to be filled, which is similar to the problem many traditional crafts are facing today. Reach believes the biggest problem “is the lack of industries supporting the craft, and a lack of a more nurturing environment for these artists.” He says, “So, many artists like me must look for opportunities abroad instead”


從台灣第一個塗鴉團團長到業已開辦過多個個展,Reach目睹並親歷了台灣塗鴉的發展。 “從我自己的角度上來看,我認為台灣塗鴉正走向’專業’ 的階段,環境與相關產業也是。”他看到了積極一面的發展,但是同時也注意到在老成員越來越堅持也越做越好的同時,這個圈子因為頗乏新鮮血液的注入而造成斷層,有點類似傳統技藝所面臨的人才問題。在他眼裡,目前最大的問題是“大環境與相關產業的支持度來說是有,但不夠高,不夠支持我們少數人為生,因此我們必須往海外找尋機會。”

Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo

Earlier this year, between April and June, Reach held a new exhibition under the theme of “Drink Hard!” The new exhibition featured illustrations, neon lights, and installation works as tall as 150cm that were created using fibre-reinforced plastic. Other collaborative merchandise that were available for purchase at the exhibition included water glasses, coffee mugs, coasters, and pins (which were available via toy dispensers). The exhibit is a showcase of Reach’s signature artworks, which he describes as being about “presenting my feelings and the world as I see it through humorous exaggerations”. This exhibition explored the importance of respecting the environment. His message was that we must first change ourselves, and only through doing so will we begin to affect other people, and in turn, influence the world at large.


今年4月到6月,Reach以“Drink Hard!”為主題進行了他的新一個覽。展出的形式有畫作、霓虹燈與高達150公分的大型 FRP 創作,還有些週邊商品的合作,如:水杯、琺瑯杯、杯墊,徽章 ( 透過扭蛋機方式呈現,達到互動效果 )。秉承著他一貫的創作態度「用幽默誇張的態度,來表達我所看見的世界和感受!」,此次展覽的目的是藉由他的視野,訴求對環境的重視,讓大家知道改變能即刻從自我開始,進而去影響更多身邊的人、生活、甚至是地球。

Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo
Photo by Bo-Lin Lo

Having also recently participated in Kaohsiung’s Pier-2 Art Center’s “Art Around” project and a joint exhibition at Galerie Matthew Namour in Canada, Reach says he has no plans of slowing down, nor does he feel discouraged from the lack of mainstream support. He only has plans of improving and making even better art, and hopes to establish Taiwan as a creative force to be reckoned with, on an international level. Even more importantly, he wants to inspire and motivate this generation of young creators to be more fearless and courageous in their means of self-expression.


近期剛完成加拿大蒙特羅藝廊Matthew Namour的聯展高雄駁二藝術特區Art Around計畫的Reach表示,他不會因為外界支持的缺乏就氣餒,就停下自己的腳步。他將繼續做好自己該做的事,努力擴展台灣塗鴉在國際上的地位,希望自己能夠對年輕一代有所啟發,並給他們帶來勇氣。

Websitereach-studio.com
Facebook~/reachcaer
Instagram@reach_studio
Weibo: ~/HelloReach

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of Reach Studio


網站: reach-studio.com
臉書~/reachcaer
Instagram@reach_studio
微博: ~/HelloReach

 

供稿人: Banny Wang
圖片由Reach工作室提供

Manhole Covers in Japan

In the mid-1900s, Tokyo and other major Japanese cities started implementing new manhole covers. Using textured surfaces to increase traction for passing traffic on rainy days, the new designs were created with both safety and functionality in mind. Not long after the implementation of these new manhole lids, Yasutake Kameda, an official from the Ministry of Construction, was tasked with convincing other Japanese provinces to connect to the main sewage system, which was a costly operation. In order to win over the public, he had a brilliant plan. Yasutake approached all the various municipalities with a proposition that allowed them to design their own manhole covers. His success is evident; throughout the country, turning manhole covers into beautiful pieces of art has become a tradition that’s still alive and well today.


1900年代半ば、東京や日本の主要都市では新しいマンホールの蓋の実装が始まりました。雨の日の交通用に静止摩擦を高める質感で、安全性と機能性を考慮した新たなデザインが生まれたのです。その直後に建設省の職員・亀田泰武氏は、コストの高い主要下水道の連結事業において、多くの地方自治体を説得する任務を任されました。亀田氏には、大衆を説得させるための見事な戦略がありました。マンホールの蓋に独自のデザインを施すという提案を元に、様々な市町村と交渉を始めたのです。その成果は見事に現れ、マンホールの蓋を装飾的な芸術作品に変えたこの時の慣習が、今も日本全国で受け継がれています。

The entire country of Japan now boasts over 6,000 of these custom manhole lid designs. They can be spotted in large metropolises as well as various rural areas. On top of that, there are even multiple museums throughout the country dedicated to manhole covers; some companies have even organized specialized committees that researches and preserves these lids. This cultural phenomena has attracted a devout following, including S. Morita, a photographer who has become well known for finding and documenting these works of art.


日本の大都市だけでなく数々の農村地域には、現在6千個以上の特注マンホールデザインが見られます。さらに国内では、マンホールの蓋のみを集めた専門博物館が多数あるだけでなく、蓋を調査して保管する専門委員会を組織化した企業さえ存在します。この文化的現象は、このような芸術作品の発掘とドキュメント化で著名な写真家、S. Morita氏のような熱心な愛好家を魅了してきました。

In Morita’s photos, the multicolored manhole lids can be seen exploring a wide spectrum of subjects, with animal and plant life, cultural customs, and history being the most common themes. At times, the manhole covers are designed to commemorate certain events or dates. There are even manholes that feature characters from the famous Japanese anime Detective Conan. The designs on certain manhole covers also serve as identifiers for the jurisdiction responsible for maintenance. Others might place more emphasis on functionality and practicality, some feature directions, others might cover up subterranean fire hydrants, and some lids in residential areas even offer directions to nearby emergency shelters by using different colored arrows to indicate how far the shelter is. There are also taboos when it comes to manhole cover art, with an unspoken rule being to not feature portraits of people. Besides portraits, it’s also uncommon to see national shrines and temples on these lids.


Morita氏の写真には、最も一般的なテーマの動植物、文化的慣習、歴史など、幅広いテーマを読み取れる色彩豊かなマンホールの蓋が見られます。マンホールの蓋は、特定の行事や日付を記念してデザインされることがあります。さらには、人気アニメ『名探偵コナン』のキャラクターが登場するマンホールもあります。一部の蓋では、当該地域のメンテナンス用の目印とされるデザインもあります。他にも機能性や実用性に重点を置いたもの、方向を示すもの、地下消火栓を覆うもの、また、住宅街では近隣の緊急避難所への道順が描かれ、色違いの矢印で避難所までの距離を示すものもあります。マンホールの蓋のデザインに関しては禁止事項もあり、人物の肖像を使用してはならないという暗黙のルールがあります。肖像の他に、神社仏閣が描かれた蓋はほとんど見かけられません。

The next time you’re in Japan, take notice of the ground when you’re walking about. You just might find yourself standing on a piece of art!


日本に訪問の際、街を歩く時にはぜひ地面に目を向けてみてください。気が付いたら芸術作品の上に立っているかもしれません!

Website462photoblog.net
Flickr
: ~/mrsy

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of S. Morita


ウェブサイト462photoblog.net
Flickr
: ~/mrsy

 

寄稿者: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of S. Morita

The Dancing Strawhats

In the rain-slicked and neon-lit streets of Tokyo, three masked dancers are introduced by the melancholic sounds of the Chinese song “What the Pipa Says”. Wearing matching silk-woven traditional Chinese attire, black boots, and straw hats, the veiled trio performs a brilliantly choreographed routine in the empty street. The fluidity and finesse of their movements almost appear to be giving a subtle nod to movements seen in Taichi and Chinese kung-fu. This unique street dance performance was the debut appearance of the Dancing Strawhats.


雨夜,招牌林立的日本东京街头,一曲凄清婉转的中国《琵琶语》,三个蒙面人藏身斗笠之下,一身锦缎唐装加黑靴,舞蹈动作行云流水,隐约还可见太极拳和中国功夫的影子在其间,完全不同于通常所见的街头舞蹈……这些看似相差十万八千里的各种元素放在一起,却也和谐、优美得得令人赞叹并深深享受。这就是Dancing Strawhats在正式命名前的一支视频。

 

无法观看?前往优酷

As their name suggests, the conical straw hats are an integral part of the Dancing Strawhats’ image; combined with their perpetually masked faces, the dancers are purposefully shrouded in an air of mystery. The only thing immediately obvious about the group are the Asian influences in all of their performances. Their outfits, location choices, music, and movements all borrow from various Asian cultures. For example, in “Kimono”, they collaborated with famous Japanese choreographer Koharu Sugawara and his dance crew to create a surrealistic video set in Kyoto’s Shaolin Temple. In “The Heroes”, the Dancing Strawhats collaborated with Korea’s Jingo Crew and performed in front of Seoul’s Gyeonghuigung Palace.


Dancing Strawhats,顾名思义,以斗笠为标志性形象元素,总以神秘的蒙面形象现身。从服饰到场景,从音乐到动作,他们的舞蹈作品里融合了众多东方元素。例如: 《Kimono》中与日本舞者以及编舞师菅原小春以及她的团队一起,在京都少林寺中身着和服进行了一场完全超现实的尬舞;在《The Heroes》中与韩国舞蹈组合Jinjo Crew在首尔庆熙宫崇政殿前的合作…….

 

无法观看? 前往优酷

The most surprising aspect about the Dancing Strawhats might be where they’re from – all three team members are actually Norwegian. The trio consists of two brothers, Suleman Malik and Bilal Milik, along with their friend Nasir Sirikhan. Under the name Quick Crew, the three won Norway’s Got Talent in 2009 and established Quickstyle Studio shortly after and subsequently were often invited to teach and perform all over the world. So by 2015, when their Dancing Strawhats video went viral, the three were already no strangers to fame.


但出人意料的是,这个组合里的三位成员,Suleman MalikBilal Malik两兄弟,以及好友Nasir Sirikhan,均来自北欧的挪威。事实上,他们在2015年开始Dancing Strawhats这个三人舞蹈项目之前便早有名气。在2009年的Norwegians Got Talent电视节目中,他们以Quick Crew之名一举夺得冠军,并于随后成立了Quickstyle Studio,获邀至世界各地进行表演和教学。

 

无法观看? 前往优酷

But besides just dance, their music choices also sets them apart from other street dance crews. For example, in their “Tokyo Night” video, they decided to use “What the Pipa Says”. The song features a Chinese lute as the primary instrument, with other traditional Chinese instruments playing supporting roles. Chinese musician Linhai composed the song using elements from many different of genres, and by incorporating Western musical instruments, this contemporary reinterpretation of traditional Chinese music was born. In the “A Concept” video, the trio went with the song “Wamono” produced by Japanese breakbeat musical duo Hifana. The electronic heavy sounds are mixed with traditional Japanese instruments, like the samisen. The song even features Japanese festival drums, imbuing an even more authentic traditional Japanese feel throughout. At the same time, the song still retains its modern vibes.


在Dancing Strawhats这个项目中,这个团体在音乐的选择上,也是十分有趣和高明。比如《Tokyo Night》中那支《琵琶语》,虽是中国传统乐器琵琶为主,其它传统乐器为辅,但是音乐家林海应用了多种音乐流派的编曲手法,并结合了诸多西洋乐器,可谓是一次相当成功的传统的当代演绎。又如《A Concept》舞蹈中,日本电子音乐组合HIFANA的《WAMONO ~和モノ~》,利用电子乐配合人声再加入传统的三味弦等乐器,甚至还有祭典伴奏,可谓和风十足,又不失当代节奏。

 

无法观看? 前往优酷

Under the name Quick Crew, they never considered themselves to be solely a hip-hop dance crew. Instead, they believe in being open to all kinds of dancing and finding inspiration in it. This belief clearly extends to their performances under the Dancing Strawhats name. Their performances are closer to storytelling than mere choreography. Every performance not only showcases them as skilled dancers, but truly presents them as artists, and a breath of fresh air in the stale state of modern street dance.


作为Quick Crew,他们声称从不自称为hip hop舞蹈组合,相反,他们信仰的是从各类舞蹈中汲取灵感创作的自由。显然在Dancing Strawhats这个项目中,这个信仰也得以贯穿。相比时下主流的街舞,Dancing Strawhats以带有故事情节的编舞和演出、独到的技艺和创意的概念成为街舞团队中的一股清流,他们的作品总能让人惊叹尖叫。

Website: thequickstyle.com
Facebook
~/dancingstrawhats
YouTube~/dancingstrawhats
Instagram: @thestrawhatz

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images and Videos Courtesy of Dancing Strawhats


网站: thequickstyle.com
脸书~/dancingstrawhats
YouTube~/dancingstrawhats
Instagram: @thestrawhatz

 

供稿人: Banny Wang
图片和视频来自Dancing Strawhats

Yoshito Hasaka’s Vision of Tokyo

Tokyo is often associated with the word “dense”, which isn’t surprising considering its status as one of the most populated metropolises in the world; the Japanese capital is a massive melting pot of subcultures and a place where one can find all the latest and hottest trends of Asia. Yoshito Hasaka is one of the millions living in the bustling city. Working as a full-time designer and iOS engineer, his free time is often spent exploring the nooks and crannies of this city with his camera. His Instagram account @_F7, where he presents a unique vision of the city through his signature wintry tones, is considered by many as one of the must-follow accounts in Tokyo.


東京について高密度という言葉がよく引き合いに出されるのは、世界で最も人口の多い大都市の一つという立場上当然のことであろう。この日本の首都は、サブカルチャーの巨大なるつぼであり、アジアで最も話題の最新流行を発見できる場所である。羽坂譲人氏は、この活気あふれる都市の多数の住人の一人である。グラフィックデザイナー兼iOSエンジニアを本業としながら、彼は余暇にカメラを携えて街の隅々を探索することが多い。独自の荒涼とした色調を通してこの街のユニークなビジョンを展開する彼のInstagramアカウント@_F7は、東京で最もフォローすべきアカウントの一つとして広く認識されている。

Yoshito’s passion for photography began simply as a way for him to document his travels. But as a graphic designer, his attentiveness to aesthetics naturally made its way into his photography. Yoshito says he’s also fascinated with the ways that people interact with objects; he’s intrigued by the kinds of reactions or feelings a person might have towards something. This is why he wants to create images that will resonate with viewers. So from taking the actual picture to post-processing, Yoshito works meticulously to craft the perfect image. Recently, Neocha had a chance to speak to him about photography and his vision of Tokyo.

 


羽坂氏の写真への情熱は、単に旅行の記録方法として始まった。しかし、グラフィックデザイナーである彼の美意識に対する記銘力が、自らを自然に写真へと導いたのである。羽坂氏は、人々が物と相互作用する方法にも感化されると語っている。人が何かに対して抱く反応や感情の様々な形に興味を引かれるのである。そのため、彼は見る者の心に響く画像を作ろうと努めている。そうして、実際の撮影から後処理まで、羽坂氏は完璧な画像制作のため慎重に作業する。Neochaはこのほど、そんな羽坂氏に写真と東京に対する彼のビジョンについてインタビューする機会を得た。

Neocha: What do you like to shoot the most in Tokyo?

Yoshito: I like things that were made by hand. I like seeing why they were made. I’m also a creator, so I feel that there’s always an intention and a meaning behind everything I create. I noticed this recently, but the things I’ve been trying to capture formed a kind of verification process for myself as a designer. There’s no way I can know if it’s correct or not, but when I organize things into a photograph, I’ll look at whatever is in front of my viewfinder and wonder why it was made this way. How did the person who made it want it to be? That’s my main theme, so that’s why a lot of the photos are taken from the front. Sometimes this means looking at the shape of a single building, and sometimes it might mean superimposing several elements, such as the way in which a crowd is walking through a street, the way in which the sun sets on the horizon, etc. I always try to give my own interpretation. It’s interesting for me, if I manage to capture the intentions of the creator with my camera, and if I can go beyond that, then I feel like the work really becomes my own. In Tokyo, there are a lot of different things that attract my interest. The city’s constantly being scrapped and rebuilt. So rather than having to go look for interesting things, interesting things have a tendency to appear in front of me.


Neocha: 東京で撮影する被写体で最も好きなものとは何でしょう?

Yoshito: 人の手によって作られたものが好きなんです。それがなぜそのように作られているのか。自分も作り手ですし、ものを創るひとつひとつのことには、必ず意図と理由があると思っています。最近気づいたのですが、ぼくがキャプチャーしているモノ・コトは、デザイナーとしてのその確認作業だったのです。正しいかどうかは知るべくもないわけですが、イメージとして収めるときに、自分のファインダーの前にあるものはなぜそう作られているのか。作った人はどう作りたかったのか。といったことが最初のテーマです(そのため、正面から撮ることが多いのです)。それはひとつの建物そのものの形であるときもあれば、多くの人がその道を歩く様子や、太陽が沈んでいく様など、複数の事象が重なって見える景色であったりします。そういう自分なりの解釈を常にするようにしていて、それが作った人が作る前に描いていたイメージを当てることができていたらとても面白いですし、さらにそれを超えることができたなら本当の意味で私のオリジナルになると思っています。東京にはそういう興味をひくものが本当にたくさんあります。どんどんスクラップ&ビルドされていますし、撮りに行くよりも出現する数の方が多いのではないでしょうか。

Neocha: What are some of your favorite spots in the city?

Yoshito: I like areas or events where lots of people gather. I like to think about why they gather there. I’m attracted by both indoor and outdoor locations; I want to see what it is about them that draws people there. I like capturing these places in a photograph and interpret it through my own means, and attempt to synchronize my thoughts with the person who created the place. Inevitably, I end up shooting at a lot of famous places. In Tokyo, I like any kind of tourist area, as well as busy areas where many people gather or go to work.


Neocha: 東京で最もお気に入りのスポットをいくつか教えていただけますか?

Yoshito人がたくさん集まるところや事象が好きなのです。そこになぜ人が集まるのか。建物が外も中も含めてが魅力的だからなのか、そこに人を引き寄せる何かがあるのか。それを自分なりに解釈して絵に収めることができ、それがその場所を作った人の意思とシンクロできるような場所が好きです。必然的に有名な場所が多くなります。東京であれば、観光スポットは何でも好きですし、多くの人が集まって働くような場所も好きですね。

Neocha: How often do you shoot nowadays?

Yoshito: Whenever I’m out and about in Tokyo, I’ll have my camera. I’ve been on Instagram for five years now though, so it’s harder to find new things to shoot in this city. I’ll post images taken at different famous locations, but I’ll also see other people shoot and post the same vantage. But I feel like it’s different every time I’m out. The weather, lighting, and people are never the same – other unforeseen factors might also affect how the image turns out. I don’t go out every day and night anymore, but it’s always fun to look for fresh angles and think about how to best frame the shot.


Neocha: 最近はどのくらいの頻度で撮影していますか?

Yoshito旅行に行きたいなと思った時に旅行ができる、東京は、そういう街だと思っています。5年以上Instagramで遊んでいて、東京という街そのものはたくさん露出し消費されてもう新しくはありません。いくつもの有名な場所のスナップ写真をポストしますが、同じように撮られた写真も多く見かけます。でもひとたびカメラを持って外に出たら、時間、天気、光の感じ、人の混み具合、そしてアクシデントといった環境要因でフレッシュに感じることができます。今となっては毎日毎晩撮りにでかけるわけではありませんが、新しいアングルや構図を探すことはいつだってとても楽しいです。

Neocha: How did you develop your personal style?

Yoshito: I get many comments from people like: “your photos are really Tron-ish,” or like “So Blade Runner!” Many people also tell me the colors in my photos are unique. I actually like Hollywood movies a lot, but they don’t influence me too much. From the point of view of a graphic designer, I like to envision my photos in the same way as a black-and-white photograph. I see them as “just a blue photo”, or “just a green and orange picture”, and so on. I would like the viewer to see it this way too. I reduce the color saturation on my photos for a reason. It’s part of the content – a way to focus on the story. To me, using different colors is like speaking with many unique voices, and I’m very happy with this approach.


Neocha: 独自のスタイルをどのように発展させたのでしょう?

Yoshitoよく、「Tronっぽい」とか「Blade Runnerだ」とか言われます。そして、画像の色使いがユニークだと言ってくれる方がいます。もちろん ハリウッド映画は好きですが、そこにどっぷり浸かろうと思っているわけではありません。グラフィックデザイナーとして、モノクロ写真と同じように、ただ「この青の写真」とか、「このグリーンとオレンジのイメージ」とシンプルに認識したいし、見る人にもそう認識していただきたいのです。写真の彩度を下げていくことが多いですが、私の場合はそれは伝えたい内容であったり、ストーリーにより焦点を当てるための手法なのです。ユニークと捉えられている声が多いことは、とてもうれしく思います。

Neocha: What new subject matters or locations do you have plans of shooting in the future?

Yoshito: This year alone, I’ve seen many crazy photos taken of the famous Shibuya street crossing in Shinjuku. Many of the shots had angles I’d never seen before. I was really interested in shooting the crossing in a fresh way, but I never ended up with anything I liked. Experimenting with new things is always interesting and I hope to experiment more and more. Besides that, I’d also want to go to more new places. I’ve seen a few new locations on the internet and on social media that I’d like to visit. These places range from abandoned factories to architecture with impressive facades. It doesn’t matter to me if the location is more traditional or more futuristic. Sometimes when I come across a really great location online, it makes me want to get up and go shoot right away.


Neocha: 今後撮影を予定している新たな素材や場所とは何でしょうか?

Yoshito: 今年、今まで見たことのないアングルで渋谷や新宿の有名なストリートを撮影した、とても多くのすごい写真を見ました。普段自分が撮ってる場所を全くちがうアングルから捉えた写真を目の当たりにして、どうやって撮っているんだろうと興味を覚えましたが、まだそれを自分の手で撮影するには至っていません。非常に新鮮な表現手法で、トライしたいと思っています。そして、少し足を伸ばせばまだたくさんの行ったことがないスポットがあることを、インターネットやメディアを、インスタグラムを通して見ますし、そこへはカメラを持って行ってみたいと思っています。工場地帯もそうですし、クラシックなもの・未来的なものどちらもあるのですが、とても印象的な顔を持った建築物などです。

Websitef7th.com
Instagram: @_F7
VSCO: ~/f7th

 

Contributor: Banny Wang


ウェブサイトf7th.com
Instagram: @_F7
VSCO: ~/f7th

 

寄稿者: Banny Wang

The Art of Mao Tianhua

China-born and New York-based illustrator Mao Tianhua has an uncanny ability to effortlessly pull viewers into her imaginative world. Graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 2015, she has been conjuring up otherworldly landscapes, surreal organisms, futuristic architecture, and surreal stories ever since. Tianhua’s role in every piece of her art is unchanging; she plays the role of an omniscient being, a creator of worlds.


中国插画师毛天骅毕业于纽约视觉艺术学院,现居纽约。她的作品似乎总能轻易带读者进入另一个次元的世界。她的一笔一划,冷静又细腻地,描绘着现实世界中不存在的地貌、生物、建筑、故事。这种造物主般的视角,是她作品中的共同点。

In Tianhua’s illustration series, A Brief History of Puffisland, she tells a story about a small barren island. In the tale, the quiet island began experiencing a tumultuous series of events: organisms begin appearing, they evolve over time, but stronger creature come along and began eating the weaker creatures, even more powerful creatures come along and devour everything before finally starving to death. The island then reverts to its original state as a quiet and barren landscape. Like her other works, for example Museum of Tomorrow  or The Monsters, Tianhua seems always to be capable of dreaming up new fantastical illustrations filled with an air of mystery, her lively imagination knowing no bounds.


在《噗岛简史》中,她凭空制造了一个噗岛,并讲述了噗岛由一片荒土,经历了一场轰轰烈烈的生命演变,最后覆灭回到原点的故事。同样,在《明日美术馆》、《怪物之门》等其他作品中,她也是如此肆意挥洒着自己的想象力,铺展开神秘和未知感。

She attributes her fascination with mystery and the unknown to her childhood days, when she was first exposed to Asian art. When she was a small child, her grandfather already began to teach her about traditional Chinese painting, but at such a young age, she only appreciated how pretty a drawing was, without fully understanding the artistic concepts behind the work. Later in Beijing, she went to Tsinghua University for a BFA in textile and weaving art. She copied and painted countless Dunhuang murals as part of her studies – she felt quite disheartened and passionless. At that time, she also felt that contemporary designs were far superior. Later as she grew older, Tianhua started favoring Asian arts and realized that a deep appreciation for Eastern aesthetics had always been ingrained in her. Elaborating on how the arts from Asia influenced her, Tianhua says, “This influence doesn’t involve me directly using these elements and techniques. It’s more about the way I establish the atmosphere and tell the story.”


关于这种神秘和未知感,天骅认为它们是来自她从小耳濡目染的东方美学。她从小跟随爷爷学习国画,年幼光景除了墨色在宣纸上晕开的美,对其意境领略无多;进了清华美院染织系后,由于专业要求临摹过大量敦煌壁画,却心生抵触,认为新潮的才是好设计。随着年岁渐长,她意识到东方美学的认同已经深入骨髓。她说:“这种影响不只摘取元素和相同的绘画技巧,更多的是画面意境和讲故事的方式。”

Tianhua’s creation process first begins with a hand-drawn sketch. After that is finished, she then transfers the image onto her computer for coloring. She pays close attention to textures, and every illustration is evidence of this. She tells us, “In order to have the right textures, I would have to experiment quite a bit. For example, I once coated my fingers in paint and rolled it until the paint became little balls. I then dipped a sponge in paint and used it to scrub over the canvas. Lastly, I sprinkled ink onto the damp canvas and would let the droplets of ink expand on the surface. This approach led to some surprising results.”


创作过程中,从手绘草图到电脑上色,天骅对质感的表现格外在意,每张画都会运用大量肌理。她告诉我们:“为了取得合适的肌理需要做大量的试验,比如我曾用手指蘸着油画颜料揉出墨团,用海绵蘸墨汁刮擦,在潮湿的纸面撒上墨汁让其沁开。这个过程充满惊喜。”

Originally from Wuxi, a land of many lakes and rivers, it makes sense that Tianhua would be greatly inspired by nature. “The warm color of opals, the many different forms of microorganisms, the soft texture of jellyfishes, and the smooth tactile feeling of snake scales – these are just some of the things that have appeared in my art,” she says. Her vivid imagination is a culmination of different things she has seen in Wuxi. In addition to Wuxi, the other cities she has lived in, such as Beijing and New York, have also left their mark on her. So it is not surprising to see that her art is rather reflective of all her past experiences.


来自中国水乡无锡的她,创作灵感很多时候来自大自然。“蛋白石的温润光彩,微生物的奇异形态,水母的柔软质感,蛇整齐光滑的鳞片感都曾进入我的作品。”她说。也正是这些元素的有机结合塑造出了她画面满满的幻想感。一路从无锡,到北京,到纽约,每一个她去过的地方都改变着她,让她成为现在成为的样子,而她的作品就成了她心里的映射。

Tianhua believes she is still constantly learning. Whenever she encounters new mediums and subject matters, she is keen to experiment and see what she can create. But besides illustrations, Tianhua reveals a fondness for video games. To her, video games are seen as a combination of music, visuals, and story. She likens playing a well-designed video game to appreciating a piece of art, describing the emotions that both activities can induce in a person. Currently, Tianhua working on animating A Brief History of Puffisland so that it can be turned into a playable video game in the near future.


天骅自认为还处于学习的阶段,接触到新的媒介和题材,她就会想去尝试。除了创作插画,天骅也喜欢玩游戏。在她看来,游戏是音乐画面故事的综合体,玩一个制作精良的游戏就想欣赏一个艺术作品一样,情绪也会跟着起落。她现在正在尝试让《噗岛简史》动起来,伺机将其变成一款游戏。

Websitetianhuamao.com
Weibo: @毛天马华
Behance~/maoth
Instagram@tianhua_mao

 

Contributor: Banny Wang


网站tianhuamao.com
微博: @毛天马华
Behance~/maoth
Instagram@tianhua_mao

 

供稿人: Banny Wang

GRAF&WU

Street culture embodies the spirit of freedom. It is a culture that emphasizes the importance of confidently expressing yourself. Modern street culture has already broken through many geographic and cultural boundaries and is deeply rooted in today’s youth culture on a global scale. The youth of China have been attempting to find their own voice amidst the endlessly changing trends. Many phenomenal streetwear brands have already emerged from the country, but there are still a lot of misconceptions in China about streetwear with many people believing it is only t-shirts, button downs, hoodies, and so on. Many brands look to transcend the generic designs cluttering the streetwear scene in China and establish a unique brand identity of their very own. GRAF&WU is one of those brands that have successfully done so.


街头文化因着它倡导更自由、更自信地去表达自己、证明自己,而打破地域和文化壁垒,渗透到全球青年中去。一直以来,中国的年轻人也在这股潮流中摸索前进,并逐渐创立自己的街服品牌。尽管,认为做做T恤、衬衫、帽衫、休闲裤就是街头品牌在这里还是广泛的认识误区,但是还是有少数成功做到了拥有自己很明确的品牌文化或者特色,GRAF&WU便是其中之一。

GRAF&WU’s logo is a giraffe, but the “GRAF” in the brand name is actually an acronym that stands for “Generation Represent Artistic Fashion”. This reflects their brand ethos that aspires to have a generation of people using fashion as an artistic medium. The “WU” represents Wuhan, the city that the founder and brand director Graf grew up in. Graf is an illustrator, designer, and 3D modeler who is currently studying at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The entire concept for GRAF&WU began in 2013 when she was studying in Beijing, and it followed her to the U.S. where it continued to grow as she explored her love affair with hip-hop. It was in San Francisco where GRAF&WU started coming into its own as a brand. As the brand continued to refine their aesthetic and vision, their fanbase in China has grown along with it. Read our interview with Graf below.


GRAF&WU以长颈鹿为标志,其”GRAF” 为 “Generation Represent Artistic Fashion” 的缩写,意为用时尚的媒介传达艺术理念的一代人;”WU”则为武汉,是品牌创始人和主理人Graf成长的地方。Graf是一名插画师、设计师以及3D建模师,现今就读旧金山艺术大学3D建模专业。GRAF&WU于2013作为一个概念便是诞生于她在北京求学时期,随后随着她赴美并追寻自己热爱的hip hop文化,品牌在旧金山不断发展壮大,而今在中国本土拥有大量拥趸。阅读以下采访,了解更多。

Neocha: When did you start GRAF&WU? What inspired you to launch the brand?

Graf: In 2015, the brand was officially registered as a business in China. In the beginning, I noticed certain societal issues on Weibo that I wanted to address. I felt frustrated at my inability to fully articulate my thoughts through words, but at the same time, I enjoyed expressing myself through illustrations. I then realized even if I make a hundred, or a thousand pieces of work, it wouldn’t guarantee that people will look at them. The internet, magazines, and other kinds of print matter are all mediums people use to communicate ideas. I studied fashion design, so I thought perhaps I could use textile and fabric as a medium to express my ideas. Nothing will makes people pay closer attention to your work than if they spend money on it. Also, if someone wore my work and walked around in it, then aren’t my creative concepts being displayed even more effectively? So then I decided to create something basic: t-shirts. That was how the first GRAF t-shirt came to be. From then until now, I’ve lost track of how many I’ve designed.


Neocha: 最初是什么激发你创立GRAF&WU

Graf: 2015年正式注册成公司。最初,我在微博上看到一些社会问题就想表达自己的想法。无奈文采不好,可我喜欢用插画的形式表现。但络上千百个画作,不一定会有人仔细去看。于是我就想,网络、杂志、纸张都是传播媒介,而我在念服装设计,是不是应该用服装面料去传递我的想法呢? 而没有什么比让一个人花钱消费你的作品更能使他仔细观赏了。另外,假若有人穿着我的作品四处走动,那岂不是更有效的传达了我的设计理念?于是,我决定用所有人都能想到的: T恤。就这样开始了GRAF第一件T恤,然后到今天,有了第N件。

Neocha: What do you consider to be the distinctive characteristics of the GRAF&WU brand? How did you develop this style?

GRAF: Originality in design. Many of my illustrations and images requires careful observation or understanding of a certain culture to fully comprehend it. In that regard, my customer base is a fairly select group of people. But there are also a large number of people that just like the aesthetic qualities of the images. Most of my designs are closely related to rap music, which is something that I really love. Sometimes I might be feeling the lyrics of a song and I will want to turn it into an image. My focus generally revolves around cultural aspects from the ’80s and ’90s, but my work will also sometimes touch on more recent events.


Neocha: GRAF&WU的品牌风格特点是什么?为什么选择这种风格的?

Graf: 原创设计,非常多的插画和图案,内涵要仔细观察或者你懂某个文化才会理解,有一点挑客人。不过光是喜欢图案的客人也很多。大部分设计和我喜欢的Rap Music有关,有可能是某一句歌词我特别喜欢,就用一个画面表达出来. 许多80-90年代的文化都是我关注的重点,跟随时事推出相关设计也有。

选择一个街头潮流品牌风格,一是因为喜欢这个文化。二则是在从初中开始就非常喜欢美国说唱音乐,自己也会写歌录歌,然后认识了不少国内同好。刚开始做衣服的时候,这些朋友是最开始支持我的一批客人。

Neocha: Wuhan is obviously important to you, as can be seen in your deliberate choice to call out the city in your brand name. How do you think Wuhan influences your work?

Graf: To be honest, Wuhan isn’t a huge influence on my work. I just wanted to be constantly reminded about where I came from. Many streetwear brands originated from Chinese cities, but they will force an “LA” or “NY” somewhere in their brand name. When it comes to a person’s creation process, I think it’s important to keep it real. That’s why I included Wuhan into my brand name.


Neocha: 你在品牌名字里强调了武汉,那么武汉对你现在的创作有什么影响吗?

Graf: 武汉本身并没有太大的影响,单纯只是希望自己时刻记得来自哪里。很多原创潮牌其实也来自中国的某个城市,可是他们要在自己的品牌后面加LANY。我认为keep it real在一个人的创作态度里很重要,所以干脆加到品牌名字里面。

Neocha: What are the concepts behind the brand. What message do you intend to communicate through your brand?

Graf: I often hide slogans in the details of my clothes, such as “Hustle Hard,” “Be Great,” and so on. These can be found on the inside of sleeves and at the bottom of shirts. The concept here is to encourage being persistent and doing everything to the best of your abilities. It’s about pushing your potential to the absolute limit. It’s easy in theory, but hard to actually do. We live in a comfortable world now, and many people think that working eight or nine hours is a hardship. The people that are actually working hard are trying to push themselves and improve themselves every second and every minute. They’re never satisfied. The images on my clothing might just be a fun little cartoon, or just some text, but I intend for these details to become a constant reminder to the wearer. I want to remind them to always be determined and push themselves to do everything to the best of their abilities. This is a big part of street mentality.


Neocha: 品牌背后的理念是什么?通过这个品牌你想传达给别人的是什么样的信息?

Graf: 我经常会在衣服的小细节里标注一些口号例如“Hustle Hard” “Be Great” 等,在一些袖口、衣服底摆之类的小地方。从这里看出GRAF&WU的理念就是努力去做好每一件事,做到最好,把自己的能力发挥到极致。乍一看很简单,要做到这一点很难。现在环境好,很多人以为工作8,9小时就算艰苦。其实真正努力地人时时刻刻都在提升自己,永远不能自满。可能衣服的图案就是一个好玩的卡通或者字母,但是这些小细节会时刻提醒着穿着这件衣服的人,你需要努力,你需要做到最好。这也是street mentality(街头的思维方式)

Neocha: Does your personal work and your designs for GRAF&WU conflict with one another?

Graf: Some people say it is impossible to turn your hobby into a career, because once a hobby becomes a job then the pressure of work will make you hate it. But this mentality doesn’t apply to me. I love working. I am basically at home creating everyday, or looking for new inspiration in my travels. Even if I am attending some party or event, it will be related to the brand. The majority of my personal artistic creations have turned into products for GRAF&WU and can be found as products. It’s a perfect example of killing two birds with one stone.


Neocha: 你的个人创作和你在GRAF&WU品牌中的设计互相之间有什么影响吗?

Graf总有人说人不可能把爱好变成工作因为一旦爱好成了工作便不会再喜欢它带来的压力。在我这里并没有发生。我是一个超级热爱工作的人,基本每天我就是在家创作,或出去旅游找寻灵感,即使有派对和活动也是和品牌有关联的。平日创作的作品大部分都变成了艺术衍生品作为GRAF&WU的产品进行销售了,可以说一举两得。

Neocha: Can you tell us about the collaboration between GRAF&WU and Vital? Do you plan on working on more collaborative projects in the future?

Graf: Vital is a very talented rapper on the West Coast. He’s collaborated with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Berner. Currently, his label just finished a coast to coast tour in the U.S. and he is preparing to release his brand new album. I am already working closely with his team to start planning out their next tour. GRAF&WU will be designing and supplying all of the products and merchandise for it. Our clothing will also appear on stage during the tour. I am also talking with many other U.S. artists about possible collaboration. These will all be announced on our Weibo or on our online shop in the near future. In China, besides our upcoming Fall/Winter collection, GRAF&WU will also be working with Yo It’s Free between August and October to host a street dance competition. We also plan on working together with Japanese street dancer Kato to release some new products. The street dance competition will make stops in cities all over China. Everyone is welcome to join!


Neocha: 可以谈谈GRAF&WU和Vital的合作吗?往后还有更多跨界合作计划吗?

Graf: Vital是西海岸很有实力的说唱歌手,他和Snoop Dogg还有Berner都有歌曲合作。目前他的唱片公司刚做完一个全美巡演,正在筹备新专辑的发售。我和他的团队已经在制定下一次巡演的计划,将由GRAF&WU来设计和赞助下一次演出的周边商品,整个巡演也只会出现我们的服装。美国方面我有联系更多艺术家合作,这些都会随后在微博或者我们得店铺更新消息。国内方面,除了固定的秋冬新品发布,在8月到10月,GRAF&WU将和Yo Its Free街舞赛事一起做很多有意思的活动,包括和日本街舞大师Kato的联名产品等等。全国都会有站点,有兴趣的朋友不妨关注起来!

Websitegrafwu.com
Instagram@grafwu
WeiboGRAF原创品牌
WeChat: GRAFCLOTHING
Taobao: GRAFWU

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of GRAF&WU


网站grafwu.com
Instagram: @grafwu
微博GRAF原创品牌
微信: GRAFCLOTHING
淘宝: GRAFWU

 

供稿人: Banny Wang
图片由GRAF&WU提供

#whatmyhandsdoing

22-year old Romo Jack is an Indonesian visual artist who’s more commonly known as @ponypork on Instagram. He is most well known for his #whatmyhandsdoing project, which has become a viral sensation in recent years. This series of photos shot from an overhead bird’s-eye perspective depicting Romo’s own two hands perform everyday tasks, ranging from simple activities like picking eggs to mixing paint. Romo’s tasteful sense of aesthetics and his skillful eye for stylizing scenes has transformed these mundane activities into compelling images.


Usia 22 tahun Romo Jack adalah seniman visual yang lebih umum dikenal sebagai @ponypork di Instagram. Dia lebih terkenal dengan proyek #whatmyhandsdoing, yang mana telah menjadi sensasi viral baru-baru ini. Seri pengambilan foto dari sudut pandang mata seekor burung menggambarkan Romo memiliki sepasang tangan yang melakukan tugas sehari-hari, yang mana tingkatannya dari kegiatan yang sederhana seperti memungut telur hingga memadukan lukisan. Cita rasa Romo akan keindahan dan kemampuan mata nya untuk menyesuaikan dengan keadaan telah mengubah kegiatan duniawi kedalam kesan yang sangat menarik.

Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Romo simply describes himself as “creative worker”. Looking to prove that art should know no bounds, he has been fervently exploring different methods of self-expression. But surprisingly, prior to working on his #whatmyhandsdoing series, Romo had initially intended to pursue a degree in accounting and information systems, as well as learn Mandarin Chinese. In the end, both of these things didn’t feel right for him, and Romo ended up pursuing the arts. He admits he wasn’t always into art, and had never considered himself as an “artsy” person. But as time went by, he realized that art was something that can be found in every aspect of life.


Lahir dan besar di Jakarta, Indonesia, Romo secara sederhana menggambarkan dirinya seorang “pekerja yang kreatif”. Mencari cara untuk membuktikan bahwa seni tidak memiliki batasan, dia sepenuhnya menggali cara yang berbeda dalam mengekspresikan diri.Tapi tak disangka, sebelum seri #whatmyhandsdoing, pada awalnya Romo bermaksud mengejar gelar sistem akuntansi dan informasi, serta mempelajari Mandarin Cina. Pada akhirnya, kedua hal tersebut terasa tidak sesuai untuk dirinya, dan pada akhinya Romo mengejar seni. Dia mengakui dia tidak selalu dalam seni, dan tidak pernah berpikir bahwa dirinya adalah individu yang “berseni”. Tapi seiring berjalannya waktu, dia menyadari bahwa seni adalah sesuatu yang ditemukan dalam segala aspek kehidupan.

Laughing about his failure to learn Chinese, Romo recounts meeting a group of talented Instagrammers while studying in China in 2015. Instagram, being the creatively nurturing platform it is, has cultivated a healthy community of young creatives. Meeting these creative minds was pivotal to his growth as an artist, leading to an endless yearning to create. His #whatmyhandsdoing series was conceptualized not too long after. “I found out that you don’t need to spend too much time coming up with a concept – which can just lead you to do nothing in the end. The important thing is to take a look around and just do it!”


Menertawakan kegagalannya belajar bahasa Cina, Romo menceritakan pertemuan dengan grup Instagrammers berbakat ketika dia belajar di Cina pada tahun 2015. Instagram, menjadi lebih kreatif dalam memelihara mimbarnya, telah dibudidayakan komunitas yang sehat dari kaula muda kreatif. Bertemu dengan pemikiran kreatif sangat penting untuk pertumbuhannya sebagai seorang seniman, menyebabkan kerinduan tak berujung yang tercipta. Seri #whatmyhandsdoing miliknya di jadikan konsep tak lama kemudian. “Saya menemukan bahwa Anda tidak butuh menghabiskan terlalu banyak waktu memikirkan sebuah konsep, dan tidak satupun terlaksana pada akhirnya. Hal terpenting adalah melihat sekeliling dan mulai melakukan.”

Through this project, Romo wanted to showcase the process of simple everyday activities such as cooking, which is one of his favorite pastimes, and much more. He tells us, “What my eyes always see when I wake up from bed until I fall back asleep are what my hands are doing. There might be thousands, or even millions of things our hands have to do. So I thought, ‘why don’t I try to visualize this idea?’ We need to be more sensitive to the environment around us. No matter how small or trivial something appears, it could still have an interesting story to tell.”


Melalui proyek ini, Romo ingin menunjukkan proses kegiatan sederhana sehari-hari seperti memasak, yang mana merupakan hiburan favorit, dan masih banyak lagi. Dia berkata”Apa yang mata saya selalu lihat pada saat saya bangun sampai saya kembali tidur adalah apa yang dilakukan oleh tangan saya. Bisa jadi ada ribuan, atau bahkan jutaan hal yang tangan kita lakukan. Sehingga saya berpikir “kenapa tidak kita coba untuk menggambarkan ide ini?” Kita harus lebih sensitif terhadap lingkungan sekitar kita. Tidak perduli bagaimana hal kecil atau sepele yang muncul, itu masih memiliki hal yang menarik untuk diceritakan.”

On social media nowadays, people only spend a second or two viewing an image before scrolling onto the next one. So to many people, the #whatmyhandsdoing project might appear to be a bit simple at very first glance. But in reality, from the conceptualizing to collecting the necessary material, and creating the final photo will generally take Romo at least an entire week. Many times, it might even be upwards of two weeks from start to completion. “To create an image is not a hard thing to do, especially since my photos are just daily activities. It’s a matter of how we arrange things to make it more aesthetically pleasing and artistic,” he admits. “Sometimes I find myself with ideas in mind, but find it really difficult to bring to life. The idea would be just stuck in my mind, and I wouldn’t be able to get over it. So I began scavenging alleyways and browsing traditional markets in order to find the items necessary for me to bring these ideas to life.”


Sekarang pada media sosial, orang-orang hanya menghabiskan satu atau dua detik melihat gambar sebelum bergulir ke gambar lainnya. Sehingga untuk banyak orang, proyek #whatmyhandsdoing boleh jadi muncul lebih sederhana pada pandangan pertama. Tapi pada kenyataannya, dari mengkonsep, hingga mengumpulkan materi yang dibutuhkan, dan menciptakan hasil akhir foto umumnya Romo membutuhkan waktu paling tidak selama seminggu penuh. Berulang kali, itu bahkan membutuhkan lebih dari 2 minggu dari awal hingga penyelesaian. “Untuk menciptakan sebuah gambar bukanlah hal yang sulit untuk dilakukan, terutama karena foto saya hanyalah kegiatan sehari-hari. Ini adalah salah satu cara bagaimana kita mengatur sesuatu untuk menjadikan keindahan yang menyenangkan dan artistik dalam beberapa hal,” ujarnya. “Terkadang saya menemukan diri saya dengan ide dalam pikiran, tapi sulit untuk membawanya dalam kehidupan. Mereka hanya akan terpaku dalam pikiran saya, dan saya tidak akan mampu melampaui hal itu. Sehingga saya mulai mengais lorong-lorong dan menjelajahi pasar tradisional untuk menemukan barang yang dibutuhkan oleh saya untuk membawa ide kedalam kehidupan.”

In this project, one of the most prominent feature is undoubtedly Romo’s tattooed forearms. “They’re traditional tattoos from the Mentawai tribe, which is known for having designed the oldest tattoos in the world. Also they were created with the hand-tapped method and not done by a machine. These tattoos symbolizes power and strength, and represents the sago palm. The Mentawai lived in the forest, and everything they consume is given by nature, so they tattooed themselves with an overview of these plants. It is a way for them to give thanks to nature,” Romo explains. For the Mentawai tribe, the culture of tattooing themselves with specific symbols and lines is known as Titi. Romo further elaborates by saying, “Tattoos have close ties with their identity, ancestral beliefs, and Sabulungan Arat, which is a system of values that organizes the social and spiritual life of the Mentawai tribe. Each tattoo motif represents something spiritual and meaningful. From the tattoos found on their bodies, it is possible to identify the sub-clan and profession of a Mentawai. Tattooing is like spiritual make-up, and tattooed human bodies are considered to be beautiful in the eyes of spirits that control human destiny and the surrounding world. It is believed tattoos also makes one recognizable to their ancestors when they meet them in the afterlife.”


Pada proyek ini, fitur yang menonjol adalah lengan bertato Romo. Itu adalah tato tradisional dari suku Mentawai, yang dikenal sebagai desain tato tertua didunia. Juga mereka diciptakan dengan metode tangan-diketuk dan tidak dilakukan dengan mesin. Tato itu menyimbolkan kekuasaan dan kekuatan, dan mewakili pohon sagu. Suku Mentawai tinggal di dalam hutan, dan apapun yang mereka konsumsi diberikan oleh alam, sehingga mereka mentato diri sendiri dengan gambaran dari tanaman ini. Itulah cara mereka berterima kasih kepada alam,” Romo menjelaskan. Untuk suku Mentawai, Titi adalah kebuadayaan tato mereka dengan simbol khas dan garis. Romo menerangkan lebih lanjut, dan berkata “Tato memiliki hubungan dekat dengan identitas mereka, kepercayaan nenek moyang, dan Sabulungan Arat, yang mana merupakan sistem nilai yang mengatur kehidupan sosial dan spiritual dari suku Mentawai. Tiap motif tato mewakili sesuatu yang bersifat spiritual dan penuh arti. Dari tato yang ditemukan di badan mereka, ini memungkinkan untuk mengidentifikasi klan keturunan dan profesi seseorang dari Mentawai.Tato adalah polesan spiritual, dan badan orang yang memiliki tato dianggap indah dimata roh yang mengontrol tujuan hidup manusia dan dunia sekitarnya. Tato juga membuat seseorang mudah dikenali oleh nenek moyangnya ketika mereka bertemu di alam baka.”

Romo believes with enough willpower and persistence anyone can create, but the difficulty of creating is doing so with consistency. He greatly admires artists who are able to do so. Despite facing creative blocks from time to time, the challenge of maintaining consistency motivates Romo to continue his #whatmyhandsdoing series. As for where the series will eventually lead him, Romo is unsure, nor does it matter much to him. He only wants to keep creating, and tells us that not every piece of his work might make it to the internet. He plans to complete a hundred pieces of work and host a solo exhibition sometime in the near future.


Romo percaya dengan tekad yang kuat dan kegigihan seseorang dapat menciptakan sesuatu, tapi kesulitan dalam menciptakan adalah melakukan dengan konsisten. Dia sangat mengagumi seniman yang dapat melakukan hal itu. Walaupun menghadapi halangan kreatifitas dari waktu ke waktu, tantangan untuk memelihara konsistensi memotivasi Romo untuk melanjutkan proyek dari seri #whatmyhandsdoing. Demikian seri tersebut pada akhirnya akan menuntunnya, Romo tidak yakin ataukah akan mendatangkan banyak masalah baginya. Dia hanya ingin tetap berkreasi, dan memberitahu kita bahwa itu bukan setiap potongan dari pekerjaannya yang dibuat ke internet. Tujuannya adalah untuk menyelesaikan ratusan potongan pekerjaan dan menjadi Tuan Rumah eksibisi tunggal dimasa depan.

Instagram: @ponypork

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of Romo Jack


Instagram: @ponypork

 

Kontributor: Banny Wang
Hak milik gambar Romo Jack