Tag Archives: 中国

Twinkle Twinkle Little Circle

From A Planet of Seas & Mountains / 《山海星球》系列

“I wish everything in this world were round,” writes Yayi in a project statement.

Yayi is a Shanghai-based artist who spends her days designing, doodling, and searching for inspiration in the trivial details of life. Her unique style is characterized by minimal colors, collage elements, and perhaps most distinct of all, an assortment of circles. But why circles?

“I just like it,” Yayi shrugs. “I’ve always thought circles were such a mysterious shape. They’re soft yet plump. They can be energetic or they can be lethargic.”

“希望这个世界上的一切都是圆圆的”,是 Yayi 给某个系列写介绍时说的。目前生活工作于上海的她,日常画画、做设计,采集生活里能够感动自己的细枝末节,画着圆圆圈圈,配上简单的颜色和一些拼贴元素,就形成了她独特的风格。

但真要为“圆”找出个所以然来的话,Yayi 却说,其实只是因为喜欢这个形态罢了。“一直觉得圆是个微妙的形态,是柔软的、饱满的,有时活泼有时慵懒的感觉。”

From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列
From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列

Yayi describes her process of drawing circles within the confines of a rectangular frame as “daydreaming within a sequestered universe of my own.”

In Passing By, a series of short animated clips, she presents everyday scenes (with circles, of course) from three different perspectives: as a lover of idle walks, as a lover of parks, as a lover of stories. The series is intimate yet playful, inspired by her observations of strolling around the city. From a lone trashcan in an empty shopping plaza to a flashing traffic sign lighting up the darkness of night, Yayi reimagines mundane settings as delightful works of art.

在一方方的小世界里画圆,Yayi 形容是“时不时在自己臆想的‘断层世界里做着‘清醒梦’”。

以“遛弯儿爱好者”、“公园爱好者”和“小故事爱好者”的身份来分类的《路过》系列,Yayi 放上了一些脑回路的场景画面,非常随意,也相当个人化。在生活里看到的某一个场景和画面的延展,比如凌晨商场里的垃圾桶,夏日深夜空旷马路边被交通警示灯反射过的禁止通行路牌,等等。这些过去的画面,被 Yayi 捕捉在记忆里,又重新翻出来构图创作。

From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列
From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列
From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列
From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列

For times when Yayi wants to create but isn’t feeling particularly creative, collage is her go-to medium. “It’s just me piecing together scattered visuals to try and jolt my brain into coming up with new ideas. That’s why I titled one of my collage series Losing My Mind.”

而在想创作又没有想法的时候,Yayi 会玩拼贴。她的回答很温柔得可爱:“算是通过把零碎的画面重组来刺激自己有些新的想法。所以我把我拼贴的系列叫做‘失心疯’。”

From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列

In her collage works, the elements Yayi selects reveal a fascination with films about space. “I suppose there really are quite a lot of movies about space that I’ve loved over the years,” she says, “from  A Trip to the Moon (1902), to the Soviet-era Solaris (1972), to the more recent Coherence (2013).”

She also cites a love for the work of installation artists Olafur Eliasson and Cai Guoqiang. “I recently watched a documentary about Cai Guoqiang’s Sky Ladder. His ongoing Project for Extraterrestrials series is also quite interesting; in it, he plays with the idea of space exploration but through the innocence of a young boy. All of his works are extremely impressive.”

殊不知,拼贴的素材或灵感来源,背后都会或多或少地融入她沉迷的星球和宇宙的元素。“从 1902 年的《月球旅行纪》,到后来苏联的《飞向太空》……再到近几年的《彗星来的那一夜》。关于宇宙和星球题材的电影,仔细想想我喜欢的还真的挺多的。”

她毫不掩饰她对当代装置艺术家 Olafur Eliasson 的钟爱,还有蔡国强。最近看的纪录片有蔡国强的《天梯》。他用男孩天真的一面去表达对外星世界的探索,做的一系列‘为外星人做的计划’行为和装置艺术都是让人印象非常深刻的作品。”

From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列
From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列

Her delicate recollections and observations of life, along with her love and longing for outer space, gives Yayi’s circles an ingenious romance.

Depending on the viewer, Yayi’s circles can take on different meanings. Some could see them as symbolic of deeper ideas. Others may just enjoy them simply as circles. Less than a bridge between artist and viewer, for Yayi, art is “an outlet for my own emotions, and hopefully something that resonates with the viewer’s emotions.”

对生活细腻的感知与记忆,对宇宙星球的喜爱与憧憬,让 Yayi 的圆形作品显得玲珑且浪漫。

这些圆,可以被赋予形形色色的含义,也可以干干净净地理解为圆本身。要说 Yayi 所想要搭建的那座桥梁,不过是“我自己的情绪出口,同样也希望大家解读出自己的情绪。”

From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列

Website: yayifsoso.com
Douban: ~/yayi_ifsoso


Contributor: Chen Yuan

网站: yayifsoso.com
豆瓣: ~/yayi_ifsoso


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Hidden Glory

Edited with VSCO X Preset AL1 / VSCO X 滤镜 AL1 处理

In collaboration with VSCO, we recently explored Shanghai’s Jinhuanghuang secondhand market, one of the last of its kind in the city, to find out what makes it so special. All of the images in this story were edited with the powerful presets and tools that come with VSCO X. Click here to start your free, seven-day trial.

I thought I’d prepared myself, but when I finally found the Jinhuanghuang General Wholesale Market, I was still taken aback.

Jinhuanghuang is tucked away between West Gaoke Road and the elevated highway of South Pudong Road. Even with GPS guidance, the cab driver had trouble finding it. In retrospect, the difficulty of even locating the market’s entrance foreshadowed its labyrinthian interior, where a mishmash of shops hawking old appliances, antiques, and secondhand clothing stretched out everywhere you looked. The people, however, you could count on one hand.

I’d been to the market more than once, back when it was still on Dingxi Road. Yet its new incarnation left me a bit shocked: everything had changed.

我们与 VSCO 携手走进上海仅存的二手服装交易市场之一“金煌煌”,试图向大家记录和呈现这个市场所经历过的辉煌。本文中所有照片都通过 VSCO X 强大的预设及编辑工具。现在就开启你的 7 天免费 VSCO X 试用创意之旅吧。




The “Hidden” Market


Sprawling across two floors, Jinhuanghuang is the successor to two different secondhand markets that no longer exist: one on Yuntai Road in Pudong, on the east side of the river, and one on Dingxi Road in Changning district. It offers all kinds of secondhand wares, but it’s still mainly a destination for the vintage apparel trade, as its alternate English name – “Golden Glory Textile Market” – makes clear.

Oddly, since the market isn’t small, the shops are packed tightly together. The cramped feel, along with a lack of ventilation and daylight, gives the place the damp, musty smell of flea markets everywhere. Still, the shop owners say they’re grateful for the space.





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On the day I visited, I ran into several shop owners who had relocated from the old markets. Still as enthusiastic ever, each one without exception called out to the people passing by: “Come on in and take a look!” When I told them I used to be a regular at the old location, they opened up even more.

“This place is a bit out of the way, but it’s huge,” one shop owner told me in Shanghainese. “It’s actually been over a year since we moved from Dingxi Road.”

“That long?” I gasped. “I only recently heard about this place from a friend of a friend, and I decided to make a special trip out here today.”




Edited with VSCO X Preset FP8 / VSCO X 滤镜 FP8 处理

Reportedly closed for fire safety concerns, the market on Dingxi Road was slated for demolition. The plans kept getting delayed, until one day, without warning, it finally did get demolished, and within a few weeks, no trace of the market remained.

“They tore it down so fast. They cleared everyone out in no time at all, and in the last few days, we were selling at fire-sale prices because we had to leave behind what we couldn’t sell,” the shop owner recalled, voice tinged with regret or sadness.



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“This new spot is pretty hard to find,” I said to the shopkeeper. “If one of my friends hadn’t been here before, I would’ve had no idea where to go.”

He laughed. “Yeah. When I first moved in, the whole market was a ghost town. No one came here.”

Even after I found the entrance, I got lost again amid the sprawl of shops. Only after wandering around in circles for a while did I finally stumble across a stairwell next to a stall. Above the dimly lit stairs, looking like a long-lost friend, a sign read “An’xi Fashion Market.”

But now, after a year, patrons of the old market have begun returning, and business has picked up. “Still, it doesn’t compare to what it was like before,” the shopkeeper sighed.





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Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理

Less is More


Maybe because I saw so little foot traffic, the clothing selection seemed especially broad. Mountains of second-clothing from overseas sat waiting to be ironed and put up for sale.

Wholesale secondhand markets like this used to be quite large and do a brisk business. Bundles and bundles of clothes would arrive and get sent off again within a few days.

“In the old days, when the market was still on Dingxi Road, it was a madhouse! People would show up just after 9:00 in the morning, and on the busiest days we wouldn’t close till after 11:00,” recalled Xiao Chen, another shop owner. “Back then my son was just a little boy, and now he’s 29!”





“最早的时候,市场还在老定西路靠近愚园路的地方。那时候是真忙,每天早上九点多就有人来了,最热闹的时候要到晚上十一点才好关门。”老板娘小陈与我说道,“那时我的儿子才只有几岁,现在已经 29 了!”

Edited with VSCO X Preset A10 / VSCO X 滤镜 A10 处理
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“Sounds like you’re a veteran!” I grinned.

“Not at all,” she laughed. “The real veterans have all retired. I’m one of the younger ones.”

As we made small talk, I rummaged through her clothing, looking for potential additions to my wardrobe.

Each shop arranges clothes in its own way, mostly because the shop owners all choose their clothing differently. Some shops lay the items out right in front, with clearly marked prices ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred renminbi. Some are more selective, and some specialize in outerwear, intimate wear, or secondhand items from international brands. Sometimes you even find things by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Dolce & Gabbana, sold at a fraction of the original price.




这里的衣物分类方式与众不同,主要也是因为各家店主们的选衣定位不同。有很多店铺的衣服直接铺陈在外面,几十块到几百块不等,明码标价;有些店铺则精挑细选,或是专卖外套、内搭,或是主营国际大牌的二手老款,很多诸如 Gucci、LV、Dolce & Gabbana 等国际品牌,也会在此露脸,并且以低于市场价好几倍的价格抛售。

Edited with VSCO X Preset AL3 / AL3 VSCO X 滤镜处理
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Xiao Chen says there used to be even more kinds of shops, with some that specialized in leather accessories and clothing. Many of the most famous vintage or buyer shops in town still source items from Jinhuanghuang. “My customers range from older folks out for a deal to merchandisers who come to buy in bulk,” she explained.

When a regular shows up, Xiao Chen brings out the latest items, often still bunched out and wrinkled in large bags. As a favor she lets them comb through the clothing before it even makes it onto the shelves.



Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理

A Hundred Different Styles


In Shanghai, where it can feel as though things get more expensive by the day, the market’s down-home prices are a rarity.

That’s why fashionistas from nearby universities come here to shop: the deals are good and the styles are quirky, with plenty of clothes to choose from. But perhaps an even bigger draw are the shop owners themselves, especially the women, who all have their own unique style and are happy share a few fashion tips.





Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理
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That’s especially true of the shop owner Li Zi.

Her shop was one of the main reasons I came, and she certainly lived up to her reputation.

Dressed in a colorful sweater, she excitedly offered fashion advice as I browsed her racks of clothes.

“He’s tall and skinny. I think he’ll look better with loose, baggier clothes,” she told another customer before turning to me. “Those dress pants are a bit flamboyant, but if you pair them with a solid-colored top, I guarantee they’ll look amazing.”





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“You’ve got a real eye for fashion. Do you ever help your kids pick out what to wear?” I asked.

“My son used to look down on these clothes because they were secondhand. But now that he’s got a job and has learned a thing or two, he’s slowly taking an interest. Now he says, ‘Mom, this brand’s too expensive! My boss wears clothes that cost only a few thousand, and what I have on costs ten times as much,” she laughed.

Here, if you’ve got a keen fashion sense, you can create an eye-catching look with seemingly ordinary vintage wear. You don’t need a lot of money to put together an outfit, just patience and personal taste. After a day spent scavenging the market, while some visitors might come away empty-handed, others might walk out with armfuls of loot.





Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理




For all the warmth the shop owners show, they’re noticeably on their guard. Each time I asked, “Ayi, do you have a business card?” the answer was a resounding “no.”

This is because of the legal gray zone these shops operate in. On the one hand, they want more people to know about the market, so they’ll get more customers and do more business. But they’re even more worried that too much exposure might hasten the market’s closure.  “It’s only a matter of time before this place is demolished, too,” they told me.




Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理
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As the last of the daylight receded, and I slowly made my way outside, I turn back to take one final look at the market. The neon red sign seems to be using its last remaining strength to illuminate the words “Golden Glory Textile Market.” But once I crossed the hectic traffic of West Gaoke Road, an overpass blocked the market from view. And just like that, it was gone.

天色渐晚,我慢慢踱出市场,回身一看,那块红色的招牌好像用它仅剩的一点微不足道的力气追赶着印着“ GOLDEN GLORY TEXTILE MARKET ”,但一穿过车流不息的高科西路,一切都被巨大的天桥挡住,什么也看不到了。

Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理

Begin your free VSCO X trial today for access to the complete VSCO preset library, newest editing tools, and inspiring educational content.

今天就开启你的 VSCO X 免费试用,获取整套 VSCO 滤镜库、最新修图工具和教程内容吧。

Contributor: Chen YuanShou Xing
Photographer: Chan Qu

供稿人: Chen YuanShou Xing
摄影师: Chan Qu


This story is part of a content partnership and media exchange between Neocha and MAEKAN. To see more of MAEKAN’s content on Neocha, click here.


Typefaces are to text what accent and cadence are to speech: they create an immediately recognizable “voice.” Thanks to digital typography, designers have access to tens of thousands of different typefaces, each of which can steer a project in a different direction and give it a different visual identity. Don’t like the fonts on offer? You can always create your own — you just need to design some 250 characters, including upper- and lower-case letters and punctuation. If you’re working in a language like English, that is.

But what if you’re a designer working in Chinese, creating a typeface that needs tens of thousands of characters to be considered “complete”? How do you tackle a project that’s bound to outlive you, and why even start in the first place?

I sat down with Caspar Lam, of the New York-based studio Synoptic Office, to talk about his team’s new typeface, Ming Romantic, and the challenges of Chinese font innovation.

本篇文章来自新茶媒体合作伙伴 MAEKAN 的内容交换。在 Neocha 上阅读更多 MAEKAN 的文章,请 点击此处


字体设计之于文字,就像声调和抑扬顿挫之于一篇演讲来说一样重要,同样都提供后者一个能轻易被辨识出来的 “风格”。归功于数位排版,设计师现在可以在网上接触到上千万种不同的字体,让作品的视觉风格更加多元化。但如果你还是找不到想要的字体呢?你还有另一种选择:设计出 250 个大小写字母和标点符号,创建属于你自己的字体。当然了,前提是你用的语言是英语。


我带着这样的疑问来到了纽约设计工作室 Synoptic Office,和字体设计师 Caspar Lam 一起讨论 明日体 的构思,以及在设计中文字体时所面临的挑战。

It all began with a simple enough request.

Before founding Synoptic Office, while working at a design studio, Lam was tasked with finding a romantic Chinese font for his client, Vogue China, which was looking something akin to Didone — an unadorned, modern typeface characterized by a striking contrast between thin horizontal and thick vertical lines.

The problem? No such type existed.


在创立 Synoptic Office 之前,Caspar 曾在纽约一间工作室工作。当时他在为客户《Vogue China》寻找一种风格浪漫的中文字体,类似 Didone 字体这样的设计——简洁、现代、横竖笔画的对比强烈,竖线要细,而横线要粗。


After completing the project with Vogue China, Lam discussed the idea of creating a font with Synoptic’s co-founder and creative director, YuJune Park, and their design team, which included Abby Chen, Dustin Tong and Gabriela Carnabuci. “We were sitting together in a room and we said, ‘Oh, why don’t we make a Chinese typeface?’” Lam recalls. “How hard could that be? Literally, it was that naive.”

Thus began Synoptic’s five-year journey to explore and reinvent the way modern Chinese typefaces are created.

结束这个项目后,Caspar 与工作室共同创办人暨创意总监 YuJune Park 以及其团队成员,包括设计师 Abby Chen、Dustin Tong 和 Gabriela Carnabuci,一起讨论了设计字体的想法。Caspar 回忆说:“我们坐在一个房间里,讨论着 ‘我们为什么不自己去制作中文字体?这能有多难呢?’ 我们当时的想法就是这么天真。”

就这样,Synoptic Office 开启了一项长达五年的项目,重新探索和塑造了中文字体的设计方式。

Ming Romantic came about from a combination of circumstance, curiosity and, as Lam concedes, “youthful optimism.”

The team originally wanted to include an accompanying Korean typeface in a similar style, a plan they abandoned within the first month, once the enormity of the project became apparent.

Why? Several factors make creating a new Chinese typeface exceedingly difficult, many of which have existed since antiquity.

For starters, written Chinese is vast and intricate.

This complexity gives the script its richness, but it has also hindered its ability to make full use of technological innovations that elsewhere proved transformative.

明日体是對周遭环境的審視、好奇心、以及 Caspar 所说 “年轻的乐观主义” 结合之下的产物。





For the Western world, the impact of the printing press was huge. It’s probably a simplification, but when every book had to be copied by hand by a team of monks, a machine that could churn out Bibles at the pull of a lever was revolutionary.

It led to the greater dissemination and democratization of knowledge in the West. And as printing technology progressed, so did the typefaces conceived to meet different design challenges, such as cost-saving italics, which allowed a printer to fit more letters onto a block.



“If they created a block for every character, that’s also a huge undertaking. You needed an emperor or somebody with a lot of money hire a lot of people to do this type of work and sustain it.”


These developments would eventually lead to the first modern” Roman typefaces, Bodoni and Didot, with their sharp serifs and high contrast between vertical and horizontal line weights. The set of typefaces that descend from these two, collectively known as Didone, would also become the conceptual basis for Ming Romantic.

In case you’re wondering why it’s called Ming Romantic, it’s named for the dynasty during which ceramic, wood, and bronze movable type gained popularity, in a marked a shift away from calligraphic script styles based on brush strokes. And the Mingti typeface, also named for this period, marked the starting point for their exploration.

Although movable type was invented in China as early as 1040 AD, printing was long limited by the costs of producing large character sets.

Individual characters or even whole texts were carved onto woodblocks, which were then inked and stamped onto paper, in a process known as xylography. But this process required the support of a wealthy patron such as the emperor. If there was no block for a given character, a new one had to be carved.

发展到后来,诞生了第一批现代罗马字体 Bodoni 和 Didot,这些字体有着明显的衬线、和强烈的横竖线粗细对比。以这两种字体为基础发展的字体都被统称为 Didone,同时也是明日体的灵感之源。

也许你会想知道为什么取名为 “明日体”,它的命名取自明朝。在这个朝代,陶瓷、木材和铜板活字印刷术得到了广大的普及,意味着中文字体开始有了不同于手写书法字体的风格转变。同样的 “明日体” 也标志了一个世代,是对中文字体重新探索的开端。

虽然活字印刷术早在公元 1040 年就在中国被发明和使用,但关于中文印刷业及字体的后续发展,最大的限制因素是生产如此大量字符模具,随之而来的巨大成本。

在古代,人们喜欢在木版刻上文字或整篇文章,然后再将印有墨水的木版压印到纸上,这一过程被称为 “木版印刷术”。但这背后需要相当雄厚的资金支持,通常只有皇帝才做得到。因为这项工作必须有人随时待命,一旦木板被用完了,就必须马上再雕刻一个新的出来。

And a similar issue persists today. A non-designer can do a quick browse of DaFont and find tens of thousands of different typefaces for English, but a committed search of similar sites for Chinese will yield only a fraction of that number — even as the demand for new Chinese typefaces has grown.

While an alphabetic typeface can be created by a single designer with sufficient passion or compensation, making a usable Chinese typeface requires a team of designers working together over several months — or in Synoptic Office’s case, several years.

This is because a typical Western typeface needs only about 250 characters, a number that includes the alphabet in upper and lower case, punctuation marks, and special characters like currency signs and the ampersand.

The problem is that a modern Chinese typeface needs those Roman characters along with 2,500 to 3,000 common-use Chinese characters to be useable for simple texts such as titles.

As it happens, the 250 or so Western characters used in most Chinese typefaces are included for completeness and are usually copied from other typefaces. The results are Roman characters that are jarringly out of place next to the Chinese typeface, something of a bastardized Times New Roman. Lam and I joked that these characters look like an afterthought, a job left to a hapless intern.

But for a typeface intended for professional use – for body text, for example – where the variety of characters is bound to be greater, thousands more are needed. Some estimate that as many as 80,000 are needed for a typeface to truly be considered “complete.”

同样的问题至今仍然存在。即使你不是设计师,也能在 DaFont 这样的字体网站上轻松找到成千上万种英文字体。但是當搜索中文字体时,结果却廖廖无几。然而人们现在对于新的中文字体的需求正在与日具增,也有越来越多人愿意资助这项工作。

要创建新的罗马字母字体,只要有资金资助和足够的热情,一位设计师单枪匹马就能完成这项工作。然而,要创建一款可用的中文字体仍然需要一个团队的设计师工作好几个月,或是像 Synoptic Office 这样,努力了数年才行。

一般来说,西方字体只需要大约 250 个字符,其中包括大写和小写字母、标点符号以及其他特殊符号如$或 &。

问题是在现代中文里,除了需要那些罗马字符外,光要写出一个简单的标题,就需要 2500到 3000个常用中文字符了。

大多数中文字体中附带的 250 个西方字符只是为了确保其完整性,通常都是直接借用其它字体的。结果是两者摆在一起看起来极不协调,像是一种变异的 Times New Roman 字体。Caspar 和我开玩笑,这些被借用的字符感觉就像是一个倒霉的实习生,被派去收拾別人的烂摊子。

但是对于一款用于专业用途的设计字体,譬如用在正文部分,字符的种类一定要更丰富才行。起码需要超过八万个字符以上,才能算的上 “完整”。

“Theoretically, you could work on this forever, because the character set is so huge. If we want people to use it quickly, maybe we should set expectations and say ‘well, maybe we won’t complete it on the first go.”


It bears mentioning that Synoptic Office isn’t a type foundry – that is to say, they don’t create typefaces full-time. I asked Lam how they executed a project of such magnitude in the background, while working on other jobs, over five years.

He began by comparing approaches used by type foundries. One of these involves writing a character by hand, scanning it into a graphics program and live-tracing it. But as Lam notes, this was not a suitable approach for Ming Romantic, as their design aim was to distance it from handwriting and instead explore typography.

Taking a page out of the software development playbook, Synoptic is releasing Ming Romantic in successive versions. This means the team’s work can be published even before it’s complete – and with so many characters left to go, it can be hard to pinpoint when that will be.

值得一提的是,Synoptic Office 并不是一间专门的字体设计公司,他们没办法投入所有时间来做这件事。于是我问 Caspar,他们是如何在五年多的时间里,利用工作之余持续进行一个如此大规模的项目?

他首先跟我比较了字体设计公司和 Synoptic Office 使用方法的不同。其中一种方法是先手写,扫描进绘图软件里再描图。但是正如 Caspar 所说的,这种方式不太适合明日体,因为它的设计精神本来就是要摆脱手写字型,以去探索更多印刷字体的风格。

Synoptic Office 则是采取分阶段,以不同版本推出的发布形式。这意味着字体可以在完成前就先曝光,毕竟这个项目要完成的字符如此之多,很难精确的预定出具体的完成日期。

Yet even with the advantages of graphic design software and scripting languages that can produce characters with similar elements based on successful iterations, individual characters still need to be finessed or adjusted to be visually pleasing, Lam explains.

That means carving out time every day for drawing a character on a blank grid on a screen. In the beginning, the time commitment meant the net output was maybe only one to three characters a day.

These characters sit on a large master list that the team goes through over and over again until items are completed, with milestones set in increments of 500 characters.

Intrigued, I ask him how the team celebrates.

“With a cup of coffee,” he laughs. “Or maybe just walking around, because it takes a toll on your eyes. I already have very bad eyesight, so you can feel your eyes degenerating after a while, and you know that this is actually not good for you in the long run!”

Besides the consistency of the entire character set, Lam points out another crucial criterion – Does it look Chinese?

“After the initial explorations were done, it became a little more robust and efficient. Because then you could copy a lot of the forms you drew previously and then modify them for forms that are similar,” he says.

因为绘图软件和脚本语言的帮助,他们可以依据重复的笔画元素去创作更多字符。但是 Caspar 解释说,即便如此,他们仍然需要一个一个字去加工处理或调整,视觉上才能达到一致平衡,让人看得舒服。



团队把这些所有字符列成一份工作清单,过了一遍又一遍直到项目完成。每完成 500 个字符,对他们来说都算得上是一个里程碑。


但是,除了要针对所有字符的一致性进行测量和调整之外,Caspar 还指出另一个关键的标准——新的字体看起来够像中文吗?

Contrary to a popular myth, Chinese characters are not pictograms. Over 80% of characters are logosyllabic (or pictophonetic, if you prefer). What that means, simply, is that a typical character contains an element that hints at its meaning (the character’s “radical”), and an element that hints at its pronunciation.

In their countless combinations, these elements take on slightly different shapes and proportions that the design has to account for. What’s more, not only do characters have to follow universal visual design principles, they also have to look authentic.

As someone whose Chinese handwriting, acquired at university, looks like the legible but clumsy penmanship of a child, I don’t have the lifetime of practice necessary to judge authenticity.

But authenticity is important, and to show why, Lam mentioned the contrasting case of writing by Chinese learners of English. Sure enough, a glimpse at some writing samples shows a few extra features that are decidedly not native to English handwriting styles. These anomalies are pretty easy to spot, especially if you’re just working with the standard 26-letter Roman alphabet.

For example, you’d likely think something was off if the capital ‘D’ in Delaware appeared as small as the adjacent lower case ‘e.’

With so many “moving parts” in a character, in both typography and writing, there are a lot of extra things that could look off to the Chinese eye. This made creating Ming Romantic more daunting, but also more interesting.

人们向来有个误解,以为每个汉字都是 “图画” 一样的象形字。但其实超过 80%的中文字都是意音文字,或者说是形声字。大部分中文字由不同的 ‘偏旁’ 组成,有些偏旁表示发音,有些则表示意义。一部份的字仅由一个偏旁组成,一部份则由不同偏旁共组、或者是延伸的变体。

在这些由无数种偏旁组合出的中文字中,偏旁的形状、大小比例、位置会稍有不同,都会影响到字体的设计。除了要符合客观的美学要求,更重要的是,它们必须拥有 ‘正宗性’,也就是看起来要够像中文字。

Caspar 说自己一直到大学才开始学写中文,写字看起来就像小学生那种一笔一划、很生疏。“我可能还没有资格去判断明日体是否真的像正宗的汉字。”

但这件事却很重要,例如在一些英文的书写样本中,你可以察觉到一些不符合传统英文手写的装饰细节。这些不对劲的小地方很容易就能被发现,特别是当我们用标准的 26个罗马字母时。

例如, Delaware 这个单词的大写字母 D 与相邻的小写字母 e 一样大时,即使这是字体的设计意图,你也能看出有点不对。


“We wanted to pursue it because it was such an interesting topic for us. In our studio, we tend to pursue projects that we find to be of cultural relevance and of cultural interest.”

It would be unfair to suggest that the point of Ming Romantic was simply to see how a Chinese typeface could be created from scratch. Aside from the practical challenge of producing a typeface through more intuitive and efficient methods, Ming Romantic also poses a stylistic, and even cultural challenge to the existing visual norms of printed Chinese.

Despite the small but growing body of innovative Chinese typefaces, Chinese culture remains heavily attached to its history in the calligraphic arts for its expressiveness.

Lam describes a sort of “mental barrier” in the Chinese context, offering the example of his family and friends’ questions about Ming Romantic.

When they’d ask what kind of calligraphic face he was working on, he’d have to explain the difference between typography and calligraphy: the former has “an aspect of mechanical reproduction and product,” while the latter is a means of personal expression.

It’s this ingrained attachment to an esteemed tradition that makes giving the two arts “their space” a great, if unacknowledged, challenge for Chinese typography.




Caspar 指出人们对于汉字有一种 “认知上的障碍”。他举例道,当他与家人朋友谈论自己在创建明日体时,他们都会问他是在研究哪种书法。这时他必须解释印刷体和书法之间的区别,前者是 “机械复制的产品”,后者是 “个人表达的手段”。


“Even Chairman Mao was a calligrapher. It’s a very reactionary activity for a revolutionary, but it highlights the sort of myth we have as part of our cultural identity, or who we are as Chinese.”

“就连毛主席也是一位书法家。对于他这位革命家来说这是一种相对保守的行为。但书法确实强调了一种文化上的身份认同,充分说明了 ‘我是一个中国人’ 的概念。”

As the first combination of traditional Chinese characters and a high-contrast modern Western typeface, Ming Romantic is an exciting development, but Lam points out that history isn’t entirely devoid of similar attempts.

When he and Park discussed their font at the Typographics 2016 design festival, they showed many remarkable examples of typefaces from the 1950s and after – a relatively unrecognized heritage of Chinese experimentation in typography.

“Experimentation in Chinese type has a somewhat rocky history, because Chinese has tended to allow the forms which are considered canonical, while the rest of the experimentations tend to get buried,” he explains. Outside the art and design worlds, the visible lack of provocative Chinese fonts in everyday life seems to confirm this.

“So you always hear about the great calligraphers or the things that worked. And the things that haven’t worked, you have to search really hard to find them.”

作为中文传统字体和西方现代字体的首次结合,明日体是中文印刷字体中一次令人兴奋的发展。但 Caspar 说其实之前早就有过类似的尝试。

当和 YuJune 在 Typographics 2016 设计节上讨论明日体时,他们展示了1950年代以来许多重要的字体设计案例。这些字体可以说是中文印刷体被埋没的文化遗产。

“中文印刷字体的发展并非一帆风顺,因为中国自古以来只鼓励符合常规的东西,而其余实验性的设计往往会被埋没掉。”他解释道。在艺术和设计界之外,日常生活中很难看到有趣的中文字体。这正好印证了 Caspar 所说的。


To fully grasp the impact of an achievement like Ming Romantic, you could think of it this way: how many projects fail to reach their full potential, or are never even started, because they lack a typeface to express their visual identity? It’s as if you only had, say, Times New Roman, Arial and (perish the thought) Comic Sans at your disposal.

While Lam stops short of suggesting Chinese design would “mushroom” if it had more typefaces for its creative energies, he does believe more typefaces would allow for more directions and greater freedom. For now, he can proudly count Ming Romantic as the first Didone-style Chinese font and celebrate the end of the first leg of a much longer journey.

At the time of this writing, Ming Romantic’s initial release, unveiled in New York on February 1st, included 2,300 traditional characters in three weights.

要真正明白明日体的成就,你可以这样来思考:有多少失败的设计项目尝试做到跟他们一样的事情、或根本还没开始,因为缺乏合适的字体基础来符合设计上的需求。这就好像跟你说:你当然可以自己设计,但只能用 Times New Roman、Arial、Comic Sans 这三种字体来做一样。

虽然 Caspar 并未明说,但如果中国能有更多创新字体来引导其创作能量,中文设计字体的发展会更快速。更多的字体选择可以为设计作品提供更多方向和创作空间。现在,他们可以自豪地把明日体称为第一款 Didone 风格的中文字体,团队也终于可以庆祝,在这一段漫长旅程中取得了阶段性的胜利。

在写这篇文章的同时,明日体于2月1日在纽约推出第一版,一共收录 2300个繁体字,三种不同的粗细版本。

After our chat, I asked Lam by email what was next for Ming Romantic. Aside from taking some much-needed rest to distance and reflect on the project, he mused about a potential simplified Chinese version, subject to demand.

True to Ming Romantic’s original spirit, there may even be bolder explorations down the road.

“One idea which I find fascinating is exploring ‘ligatures’ in the typeface,” he writes, referring to combinations of two or more characters into one, such as in Æ. But in light of the very history that inspired Ming Romantic, that could be a slippery slope.

“In some way, this is a dangerous idea because ligatures have their origins in handwriting, and going too deeply into this area would turn a typeface into a script.”

上次见面后,我又发了邮件问 Caspar 明日体的下一步计划是什么。Caspar 表示,除了打算休息一下,也要继续思考明日体更多可能性,例如创建简体字的版本。


“我还有一个想法一直很感兴趣,那就是字体中的 “连字”。指的是将几个字元组合成一个字元,类似英语的Æ。但有鉴于当初启发他们创建明日体的那些经验,这种想法可能会带来 ‘滑坡效应’。


Media Partner: MAEKAN

Contributor: Nate Kan
Images Courtesy of Synoptic Office

媒体合作伙伴: MAEKAN

供稿人: Nate Kan
图片由 Synoptic Office 提供

Unpopularity Contest

“Your biggest problem,” shouts a sadistic instructor at a confused group of writers, “is that you’re too mass-market!” The first story in Da Tou Ma’s How to Write a Worstseller tells of an unusual workshop whose participants learn how to curb their sales appeal. The author seems to be poking fun at literary snobbery, even as she cleverly uses this satire to claim her place as a serious writer.

Da Tou Ma is quickly making a name for herself on China’s literary scene. Her three books – How to Write a Worstseller (2017), Skinner (2017), and Murdering the Television (2015) – have earned her praise from established figures such as Jin Yucheng and Luo Yijun, and English translations of her stories have recently appeared in the Beijing literary magazine Spittoon. Her writing is lively, original, and smart, effortlessly combining literary aims with the readability of – yes – a bestseller.

“你们最大的问题啊,是太畅销!” 一位施虐狂般的导师吼道,底下坐的是一群困惑的作家。这是大头马的作品《不畅销小说写作指南》中的第一个故事,讲述一群作家在一场写作培训班上学习如何让自己的作品不被畅销。作者看似是在嘲刺当今文学的势利性,却又巧妙地利用这种讽刺,来宣称她自己是一位严肃的作家。


Her unusual pseudonym, which literally means “Big Head Ma,” began as a childhood nickname. “When I was little my forehead was big – not that it’s small now – so my friends and relatives, and the kids at school, used to call me ‘Big Head,’” she explains. “And since my Mom’s last name is Ma, her coworkers at the office, where I’d spend most of my free time after school, would call me ‘Little Ma.’” That’s why, in the early days of the internet, when she had to pick a screen name, “Da Tou Ma” was a natural choice—and it stuck. As a child, she used it for her first articles and posts, and before long it became a part of her identity, online as well as off. “Gradually the name became my name in real life. Everyone, even my parents, calls me Da Tou Ma,” she says.

“大头马”这个有意思的笔名源自她童年时的绰号。“我小时候脑门大 (现在也不小),是身体上鲜明的特点。所以亲朋好友和同学都喜欢喊我‘大头’。” 她继续解释,“又由于我母亲姓马,小时候放学后经常到我母亲工作的地方打发时间,她的同事都喊我‘小马’。”因此,当刚开始在网上要投稿和发帖时,她很自然就想到了‘大头马’这个名字。慢慢地,这个名字也成为了她现实中的身份。“大头马逐渐成为我现实中的名字。包括我父母现在都这么叫我。”

Da Tou Ma finds inspiration both in her everyday life and in her expansive reading habits. Recently she’s been especially drawn to nonfiction in science, economics, and politics, while also making her way through classic Chinese authors like Lao She, Shen Congwen, and Lu Xun. “I try to imitate the styles, structures, and tricks of the experience of what I’m reading,” she says. “There are all different kinds of sources of inspiration.”

Her ability to use different styles, structures, and tricks is nowhere more evident than in How to Write a Worstseller. In each of the book’s eight stories, supposedly written by a one of the participants in the workshop, she inhabits a different persona, from a playboy who goes to weddings to pick up women, to the enigmatic author of a guide to apologies, to a chemistry student whose trip to Amsterdam takes a harrowing turn. Switching back and forth lets her try out different tones and voices, and gives the book a dazzling virtuosity.

大头马的创作灵感主要来自她个人丰富的生活和阅读经验。最近,她对科学、经济和政治这些非小说类的书尤其感兴趣。也会从老舍、沈从文和鲁迅等中国古典作家中获取灵感。“我会尝试去模仿我阅读到的文学风格、结构、技巧。” 她说,“多种多样的阅读经验都会成为我的灵感来源。”


Unlike the workshop leader in her story, Da Tou Ma says she likes both “serious” literature and popular genres, like sci-fi, fantasy, and manga. “I think the best works in these genres are every bit as good as the best works of serious literature,” she says. As for her own books, she doesn’t worry about whether readers will think what she’s writing is high art or just entertainment. “Sometimes I think about the reader when writing, sometimes I don’t,” she adds. “I concentrate more on finishing the work itself.”


She confesses to being a little out of step with other Chinese writers. But she notes a split between those who work inside the system—with the writers associations and state-sponsored publications—and those on the outside. “Writers who rely on the system tend to produce a traditional, mainstream sort of writing, and the homogeneity is pretty severe,” she says. “Writers outside the system have a bit more freedom, and try to use richer and more varied forms and styles.” Though she doesn’t say, it’s not hard to guess which group she belongs to.

Da Tou Ma does think things are changing, though, and that more writers from outside are getting mainstream recognition. “I think this generation’s writing is definitely more diverse, more free, and more flexible than in the past.”

她承认自己对其他中国作家不太熟悉。但她注意到当今作家大体上可分为两种。第一种是体制内的写作者,依托作家协会或官方的赞助来出版作品。另一种则是存在在‘体制外’的。“总的来说,依附在体制内的作家一直在沿袭传统主流的写作方式,同质化现象比较严重。体制外的作家则更自由一些,试图创造更多丰富多样的形式和风格。” 虽然她没有说明,但不难猜出她是属于哪一类型。


On a more individual level, she says that biggest challenge she faces is figuring out what to write. “For the first few years I was writing, I focused on basic writing technique. But lately, I’ve found that what to write has become a central question.” No longer content with just writing about personal experience, Da Tou Ma aspires to produce something of lasting value – something that not only has meaning for herself as an individual but can also speak to people outside her immediate circle.

“Answering the question of ‘what to write’ means figuring out how to look at this world and these times, and how to get a deeper understanding of the world and produce work that goes beyond the times,” she says. “That’s the fundamental challenge.”

Click here to read an excerpt of How to Write a Worstseller. To purchase the Chinese edition of the book, click here.

在个人层面上,她表示目前面临到的最大挑战是弄清楚 ‘写什么’。 “前几年刚开始写作时,我都在处理基本写作技巧上的问题。但写到现在,我发现 ‘写什么’ 才是关键。” 大头马不再满足于写个人经历,她渴望能创作出更多具有持久价值的东西。写出不仅对个人有意义,同时也可以对其他人产生共鸣的作品。

“ 当你知道了要‘写什么’,意味着你知道如何去看待这个世界,以及如何更深刻地进一步了解它。能不能写出跨越时代的作品,是所有作家最根本的挑战。”


WeChat: Prophetdatouma


Contributor: Allen Young
Photographer: Nathan Wang

微信: Prophetdatouma


投稿人: Allen Young
摄影师: Nathan Wang


Room 2 (2016) 66 x 110 cm

When your eyes have come to expect dazzlingly bright works of art, it’s a surprise when you find yourself staring so long at the color black.

These layers of black are not silent, but neither are they deafening.

Rather, it’s like a dialogue without words.




Wood Block 10.1 (2017) 90 x 120 cm
Wood Block 10.3 (2017) 90 x 120 cm

Born in Russia, raised in Ukraine, and currently based in Beijing, Alëna Olasyuk is the artist behind these achromatic works, all of which were created using traditional Chinese ink.

Using carved wood in lieu of standard canvases, Olasyuk’s Wood Blocks series is a work of patience and diligence. Anyone can touch the works, anyone can feel their imprint on their own body. Bodily impressions and visual perception overlap: the painting is no longer a painting, the wood is no longer wood. They encourage the viewer to interact with the work. It’s a dialogue between humans and art.

Alëna Olasyuk 在俄罗斯出生,在乌克兰长大,如今长居北京。我们所看到的黑,正是她用所钟情的中国墨水一笔笔画的。

这个系列叫做《Wood Blocks》(《木格》),Alëna 在已镂刻的木雕上耐心地描绘和涂色,最终形成了我们现在所见到的作品。每个人都可以触摸它,每个人也都能在自己身体上留下作品的印记。身体的感知和视觉的观感交叠,画不再是画,木也不再是木。它鼓励着观者与作品进行交互,这是人与作品的对话。

Wood Block 10.2 (2017) 90 x 120 cm

In traditional Chinese art, black and white symbolize the relationship between all things. They’re two extremes that achieve harmony in contrast and movement.

A closer look shows that Olasyuk’s works are more than simply blanketed in pure black ink. Viewed from the front, the entire frame appears to be engulfed in a murky obsidian, with only faint lines visible, but when the same work is observed from a different angle, threads of silver, glimmering colors, and a new world of texture emerge. Darkness reveals itself as light. These perspectives open up an entirely new reality, and as viewers contemplate them, the meaning of dualism becomes clear.

It’s a dialogue between the self and its inner essence. 


但其实细看,Alëna 作品中的黑也并不是全黑。直面画布的时候,你会看到条条延展开去的黑色细线;然而,换个角度,你会将看到一个充满着银丝、明亮的颜色和纹理的新世界。玄黑,转而显现为光明。这样的视角开启了全新的现实,使人们在理解这些作品的同时,体悟到了“二元论”。


Duality 1 (2016) 56 x 76 cm
Duality 2 (2016) 56 x 76 cm

But how to achieve balance in this dualistic world?

Olasyuk’s series Duality presents the idea of a natural balance. In fact, duality itself is part of balance. It’s part of the purpose and very notion of life. But if one doesn’t accept this dual nature, the natural balance can’t exist. Complexity and concision, chaos and balance, movement and stasis, transience and infinity – these are the subjects Olasyuk is eternally exploring in her works.

It’s the perpetual dialogue between humanity and the universe.


Alëna Olasyuk 的作品系列二元性代表了自然平衡的思想。其实,二元性本身就是平衡的一部分,是生活的目标和理念的一部分。但是如果不接受事物的两重性,这种平衡就不可能存在。复杂与简约、混沌与平衡、运动与静止、短暂与无限——这些是 Alëna 在她的作品中永恒探索的主题。


Duality 4 (2017) 75 x 105 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm

Instagram: @olasyuk_a


Contributor: Chen Yuan

Instagram: @olasyuk_a


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Young & Restless



Today’s Chinese youth have veered away from the country’s conservative roots. They’re breaking through societal expectations in bold, fearless ways to pursue their passions and express themselves.

Our new series, US, spotlights this generation of newly minted freethinkers who are unafraid of questioning tradition and dated ideologies as they reshape the social and cultural fabric of modern China.



From left to right: Lao Wang, Yee Qi, and she who shall not be named / 从左到右: 老王,戚烨,不能说出名字的人

In the first installment of US, we meet up with Lao Wang, an illustrator and tattoo artist; Yee Qi, a member of the K-Note dance crew and the founder of independent fashion brand Yee Quadrant; and a visual artist who, due to personal reasons, we are unable to reveal on screen post factum (her face and voice have been disguised, but her commentary unchanged).

The three Shanghai-based creatives chat with us about what it means to be young in China, the role that music plays in their lives, and their perspectives on love in modern times.

在第一期的《在下》,我们找来插画家和纹身艺术老王、K-Note舞蹈队的成员和独立时尚品牌 Yee Quadrant 创始人戚烨,以及一位视觉艺术家,由于私人原因,不方便在屏幕前露脸(我们对她的面部和声音进行伪装处理,当然,她的评论会保留不变)。


Contributor & Photographer: David Yen
Videographers: Damien Louise, Cheok Lai

供稿人与图片摄影师: David Yen
视频摄影师: Damien Louise, Cheok Lai

Fear & Loathing in Beijing



ROBBBB is a Chinese street artist who’s risen to acclaim in the world of contemporary art over recent years. Based in Beijing, the young artist is best known for the life-sized characters he wheat pastes on abandoned buildings and in half-demolished neighborhoods. His work satirizes the contradictions of our modern lives and the darker aspects of human nature. Anxiety, hostility, distress, and fear – topics that many people would rather turn a blind eye to – are common throughout his work.

来自中国的街头艺术家 ROBBBB ,近年来在当代艺术界享有盛誉。这位年轻的艺术家长居北京,他最出名的是在废弃的建筑和半拆除的小区里,画上和真人等大的人物形象。他作品中那种尖刻的幽默感讽刺了现代社会存在的矛盾,以及我们通常更愿意视而不见的人性黑暗面——焦虑、痛苦、敌意、软弱和恐惧。

Born in 1990, the young artist believes much of his art stems from his misunderstandings of society, or to be more precise, his subjective misinterpretations of an objective reality. But this a point of pride for ROBBBB – he sees misinterpretations as being channels through which art and creativity can manifest and thrive.

“As an example, everyone will interpret the messages and ideas conveyed by a good film differently depending on their own individual experiences,” ROBBBB says. “I feel like this is how the world is created, from endless misinterpretations and perspectives. The important thing is to express it.”

生于 1990 年的他,认为自己的大部分艺术源于对社会的误解,或者更确切地说,是对客观现实的主观误解。但这也是 ROBBBB 引以为傲的一点,他认为误解是艺术和创造力得以表现和发展的途径。


From a pot-bellied spiderman eating skewered spiders to clowns fighting over Chinese porcelain, the farfetched imagery ROBBBB incorporates into his work is ultimately a way for him to force viewers to contemplate on the absurdities of our everyday reality.

从那个大腹便便、吃着蜘蛛的蜘蛛侠,到为了青花瓷花瓶打斗的小丑们,ROBBBB 的作品将这些毫无瓜葛的形象融入其中,其实最终是为了迫使观众去思考日常现实的荒谬之处。



Contributor & Videographer: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人与视频摄影师: George Zhi Zhao

Darting Between Fiction & Reality

  • Book by Wo Shi Bai. Swipe to read.


“A fiction within a fiction.”

“Cuts between perspectives in time and space.”

“Just read through your comics, some of them are really deadpan and really funny, some of them I don’t quite get, some of them really hit you in the gut.”

“The author is 30? Hahaha.”

“The author’s got to be a woman…”

All these are messages and comments left by readers of the comics of Wo Shi Bai, whose pen name literally means “I Am White.” For his fans, these comments have just about become required reading. Sometimes they point out a detail in a comic you missed, sometimes they leave you marveling at the reader’s overactive imagination.

And sometimes Wo Shi Bai will write a few words in reply, such as: “Thanks for the messages. I notice most of the feedback comes from people who don’t understand the comics or don’t get the point. Honestly, I drew them to record boring everyday experiences, really ordinary stuff. The first part is about the book the main character’s reading, or related to his mental state.”

“作者 30 岁?哈哈哈~”



From Chuck & The Portal / 来自《查克与传送门》
From Chuck & The Portal / 来自《查克与传送门》

As a comic artist in the internet age, Wo Shi Bai has been in dialogue with these unseen critics from the start. You could even say that the very existence of these readers, both the ones who get it and the ones who don’t, is what gave Wo Shi Bai the chance to change his life and focus on his creative work. That’s jumbling the timeline, though: in reality, it was an assignment from Gummi Comics in early 2017 that led Wo Shi Bai to start drawing seriously. Yet as anyone who’s read his work knows, this kind of jumble is the precisely what makes his comics so engaging: they leap and dart across space and time. Comics have an expressiveness that gives him a great deal of creative freedom.

“After drawing a few comics,” he says, “I found that a lot of ideas I couldn’t express in a single image I could express easily in comic form.”


这样讲似乎有点时间逻辑混乱,其实是因为 2017 年初的一次来自于《软糖漫画》的约稿,才让我是白真正开始画起了漫画。但是如果你也看过他的那些漫画,你就会明白这样的混乱恰恰是他漫画里一个很有趣的特质。从一个空间跳跃到另一个空间,从一个时间穿越到另一个时间。漫画的这种表达方式,给了他很大的创作自由,“在画了一些漫画之后,我发现我有蛮多单幅画面传达不了的想法可以用漫画的形式顺畅表达。”

  • Swipe to read.

  • This is my last story for Gummi Comics.

  • When I was coming up with the story, I started getting a migraine.

  • It usually takes three to four hours before I feel better.

  • I’ll feel better with the lights off. I’ll just sit in the dark and wait for the headache to pass.

  • Not doing anything, I began to drift into the recesses of my memories.

  • In 1997, my mom went to Japan to work at a clothing factory there. Seeing her off at the airport was the first time I took a taxi.

  • I was in first grade at the time, and I got extremely carsick. I regretted going along to see her off. (If I’d known I wouldn’t have come…)

  • My dad had been in a hospital long-term, and for the next three years I lived with my grandparents, aunt, and uncle.

  • All I did the whole day was play with the kids living nearby.

  • We brewed concoctions with pills, dead insects, and leaves.

  • Stuck firecrackers in toads’ mouths.

  • There was a kid a few years younger than us, and we didn’t always include him.

  • To grab our attention, he’d pretend to poop or masturbate.

  • Most of the time in the summer I’d watch T.V. by myself at home.

  • Sometimes I’d climb out of the second-floor windows and get lost gazing up at the sky.

  • The rooftop panels were burning hot in the sun.

  • In the building across the way, I’d sometimes see a little girl.

  • We’d undress for each other.

  • My memory is hazy. Maybe it was just me who undressed.

  • At the time, landlines had just become commonplace.

  • But I was terrified of picking up the phone. I don’t know why. Whenever it rang, I’d throw a blanket over it to muffle the sound.

  • Or sometimes I’d quietly pick it up and listen for a bit before gently hanging up. (Hello? Hello? Hello? That’s weird, someone definitely picked up…)

  • One particularly boring afternoon, I went through every corner of our house.

  • In a bedside cabinet, I found a pile of five-mao coins. I exchanged them for a kind of popsicle called “Mr. Banana.”

  • I also dug up my aunt and uncle’s book that taught newly married couples how to maintain their relationship.

    I also flipped through my aunt and uncle’s

  • At the time, Hong Kong just transferred its sovereignty back to China. By the time Macau was handed back over, my mom moved back.

  • I used the allowance money she gave me to buy accessories for my Mini 4WD racer.

  • Not long after, this entire neighborhood where I grew up was demolished.

  • Revisiting the area, there are no traces of my childhood to be found.

  • I think the migraine is easing up.

  • I think I still remember the phone number from that old house. I wonder what would happen if I called it.

Wo Shi Bai was born in Shanghai’s Songjiang district, and in a comic titled Migraine, he talks about his childhood there. The main character, drawn simply as a boy with hair, represents the author himself. But in Song, another comic, the story he tells is fictional, and for that fiction, he created a character with nothing but eyes and a mouth. That’s right: no eyebrows, nose, ears, or hair.

“I only kept the eyes and mouth, and added a human outline, to have a minimal vehicle of expression. That’s how the blank little guy came about,” he says.

Readers often think this blank character – xiao bai ren (小白人) – is Wo Shi Bai, because their names are so similar.

“Some of my moods and states come through in that character,” he concedes, “So there’s a part of ‘myself’ inside. Really, every writer’s characters probably have something of themselves inside.”


很多时候,读者也会把小白人和我是白本人联系起来,因为他们的名字太像了。“通过 ta,我的一些状态和情绪具象化了,所以有一部分的‘我’在ta里面。实际上每个作者创作的人物都有一部分自己存在吧。”

  • Swipe to read.

Wo Shi Bai’s comics always alternate between these two figures. Maybe the one with the hair represents reality, while the blank one represents fiction, and only by combining both their stories can you come close to getting a complete picture of Wo Shi Bai. You start to see how much he enjoys this “back-and-forth” creative style – darting back and forth between fiction and reality. It’s like the series of illustrations he once drew called Chuck and the Portal. The feeling of being here one moment and flying somewhere else the next is what he likes best about his creative work. “When I’m at home drawing by myself, I feel like I’m on some remote island,” he says. It’s a solitary, quiet feeling, and I get lost in my thoughts and my creative work. Especially when it’s raining – then I feel even more cut off. The rain adds another barrier between you and the outside world.”

我是白的漫画总是在这样的 2 个主角里摇摆,有头发的那个或许代表的是现实,而那个小白人代表了虚构。而将这两个不同角色的漫画故事混合在一起看,似乎才能更为接近一个完整的“我是白”,你会发现其实他很享受这样的一种“穿行”式的创作方式,在现实和虚构里穿行。就像他曾经画过一套名叫《查克与传送门》插画作品一样,这种忽而在这里,忽而又飞到了那里的感觉,恰恰是他在创作时最享受的时刻。“一个人在家里画画的时候,我感到仿佛置身孤岛。这样孤独而平静的感受让我完全沉浸在思考和创作中。特别是下雨的时候,更加会觉得和外面隔绝。下雨把你和外面的世界又隔了一道屏障。”

  • Closet by Wo Shi Bai. Swipe to read.

  • When my grandmother was in my great grandmother’s body

  • My mother was already in my grandmother’s body.

  • And at the same time, I was already in my mother’s body.

  • But there’s no one inside my body because I’m a boy.

  • I didn’t quite understand how people were born into this world, so that was my theory.

  • The grown-ups told me that babies are born after you get married, but this didn’t feel like a satisfying answer.

  • Isn’t getting married just a bunch of people getting together to eat a meal?

  • How does eating food produce babies?

  • So the only explanation is that everyone already exists inside other people. I was quite happy with myself after coming up with this answer.

  • I thought about all of this inside a closet at my kindergarten.

  • Ten minutes ago, I talked in class, and my teacher put me in here as a timeout.

  • I didn’t feel like I was being punished. It felt fun.

  • Seeing all my peers outside, all well-behaved, and me not having to be part of it gave me inexplicable joy.

  • On my way home, I shared the baby theory with my mom. After hearing it, she laughed, and that’s when I knew something was off about my answer.

  • A few years later, an older kid in the neighborhood told me the truth of it all.

  • And much to my surprise, it turns out the answer was hidden in the curse words that we commonly used.

  • Since then, nothing has shocked me more.

In fall 2017, Wo Shi Bai held his first solo exhibition in Shanghai where he met his online fans for the first time. “Maybe because everyone there was a fan of my comics, I felt they all had a few similar traits: they were delicate, shy, and quiet,” he says. Yet they may have even more in common with the blank character in his art. Maybe they too go to work by themselves, come home by themselves, eat takeout by themselves, read by themselves. Maybe they have also a pet at home and a fantasy world inside their heads. And maybe in Wo Shi Bai’s comics they find a resonance with their lives that they’ve long been missing.

在 2017 年秋天,我是白在上海举行了他的一次个人展览,在这个展览上,也是他第一次和互联网上的粉丝见面。“可能是因为喜欢我的这些漫画的缘故,所以感觉大家身上都有一种相似的特征:细腻,害羞,还有安静”。不过,他们和漫画故事里的那个“小白人”,也许真的有不少的相似性,也许他们也是一个人上班,一个人下班,一个人住,一个人吃便当,一个人看书,然后家里也有个小宠物,在脑海里有一个幻想的世界,而我是白的这些漫画,让他们找到了那种久违的共鸣。

  • 158 Days by Wo Shi Bai. Swipe to read.

  • After every shower, I have to wipe the floor dry.

  • My bathroom has a slanted floor, so a lot of the water ends up not going down the drain.

  • The carpenter didn’t realize this until after he finished laying all the floor tiles.

  • He said: (Sorry about that).

  • It takes me five minutes to dry the floor every single day.

  • Over the course of a year, that adds up to 76 hours.

  • Over 50 years, that adds up to 158 days.

  • 158 days…

  • In Interstellar, there was a planet where the entire surface was covered in shallow water.

  • If I had to wipe water off the floor without any sleep or rest for 158 days straight, I’d imagine the scene would look something like that.

  • (Drip drip)

  • This is some kind of punishment.

  • It’s a sentence passed down to me by that carpenter.

  • To be precise, it’s the result of him mentally checking out for a moment.

  • Some stray thought that distracted him.

  • (A-choo!)

Weibo: ~/WoShiBai
Douban: ~/WoShiBai
WeChat: WoShiBai


Contributor: Dawen Ding

微博: ~/WoShiBai
豆瓣: ~/WoShiBai
微信: WoShiBai


供稿人: Dawen Ding

Reaching New Heights w/ Zhou Yusi

Based in Shenzhen, Zhou Yusi (or better known by his Instagram handle @ucchow) is a Chinese photographer who finds himself captivated by the rapid development of modern cities. His photography, comprised of awe-inspiring aerial perspectives and geometric structures, captures the chaotic beauty of China and surrounding regions. “I like cities where the new and the old clash together,” Zhou shares. “Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen are great examples of this.”


Zhou confesses that he didn’t plan on being a photographer in the beginning. Originally, he went to school to be a software developer, and at the time, he couldn’t even afford a proper DSLR. After graduating and buying his first real camera, he began shooting events and live performances, which, admittedly, weren’t especially creatively stimulating. However, as time went on, his interest in photography continued to grow.

The willingness to keep an open mind has been one of the most important factors in Zhou’s creative journey. Keeping an open mind has helped Zhou tremendously in not only his photography; it’s benefited him in nearly all aspects of life and has given him a refreshing perspective on his unconventional journey to success. “For regular people, they might look back and wish they could’ve seen the bigger picture beforehand or have a clear plan for the future. Not me though,” he tells us. “I revisited my university recently, and even though it’s been four or five years since I graduated and the world has changed so much, the school was the same as it ever was. It’s still out of touch with the real world, and in an environment like that, it’s easy to feel complacent and difficult to think outside of the box. If I had the chance [to give advice to my past self], I wouldn’t tell myself to change a thing.”



Following the purchase of his first drone, Zhou fell in love with taking photos from above. He says piloting a drone makes him feel like a “satellite, drifting idly above and watching the world beneath.” But with his drone, he does more than simply observe. Zhou likens the role of a drone photographer to that of a film director; much like a director, he has the control to frame specific scenes as he sees fit and present a narrative in line with his vision. While the drone is a great tool in his arsenal, what’s even more important than the tool is the creative output that can be achieved with it. It’s this understanding that motivates Zhou to continuously push himself and reach for new creative heights.


“For me, exploration means finding new perspectives, even in parts of the city I’m familiar with,” Zhou shares of his creative philosophies. “It’s not just about hitting rooftops and shooting the same things aimlessly. It’s about discovering the beauty of a street I might’ve pass by countless times before or seeing an apartment or office building in a new light. By presenting unique perspectives of these familiar places, I want people to go, ‘Wow! I can’t believe this is what my neighborhood looks like.'”


Zhou has now fully dedicated himself to both videography and photography but expresses a newfound preference in the former. “Photo editing is much faster. It can take only an hour or so. When it comes to video, it could take up to a day or much more. With the amount of time these two mediums take up, it’s hard to keep going if I wasn’t passionate. But the biggest difference between the two is that videos are much more elaborate. While you need to pay attention to many of the same things you have to watch out for in photography, you also need to consider the plot, storytelling cadence, transitions, sound design, and much more.”

Looking towards the future, Zhou expresses hopes of creating more travel-related video content. But regardless of medium, an earnest enthusiasm to share his adventures and showcase the beauty of our modern metropolises lives on in his work.


Instagram: @ucchow
Weibo: ~/UC大人


Contributor: Chen Yuan

Instagram: @ucchow
微博: ~/UC大人


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Have a Nice Day



Have a Nice Day is the latest animated dark comedy film from writer and director Liu Jian. Set in a small town in Southern China, the film starts with Xiao Zhang, a driver who steals a bag containing 1 million RMB from his mob boss in order to pay for his fiancée’s botched plastic surgery. As word of Xiao Zhang’s robbery spreads across town, a motley cast of the city’s residents join in on the hunt for the stolen money, each with their own dreams of making it big.

大世界》是作家兼导演刘健的最新黑色喜剧动画电影。影片故事发生在中国南方的一个小镇上,电影一开始,司机小张为了给未婚妻一笔钱去做拙劣的整形手术,从他的流氓老板那里偷走了 100 万元的巨款。小张的抢劫案传遍了整个小镇,当地的居民开始加入对被盗巨款的追捕中来,每一个人都怀有自己的大梦想。

The animation for Have a Nice Day was done mostly by Liu, who spent about three years completing the film. Liu brings a bleak and melancholic aesthetic to the film’s small-town Chinese setting and its shady cast of characters. Sharing his thoughts on creating the film, Liu says: “My favorite artistic style, and in fact, my artistic philosophy, is plain and simple. In this film, I use the minor actions and subtle movements of the characters to portray their emotions, which, along with the vivid landscapes and interiors the characters exist in, constitute the poetic, and, in some sense, sad and melancholic aesthetic philosophy of the film. In my eyes, this film as a whole can be seen as a landscape painting representing modern China.”


Multiple references to contemporary events – such as audio sampled from Donald Trump’s campaign trail, or a remark about Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Ma – tie the film to our present-day reality and make it all the more engaging for a modern-day audience. Liu says, “Have a Nice Day is an animation film, but it’s penetrated through and through with the philosophy of realism. […] There are so many uncertainties and possibilities to be imagined in such a dynamic and lively space like the city’s borderlands. What some might call surrealism is often the reality there, and that is fascinating to me in itself. I love to observe and reflect on how people there are living, thinking, and acting. The cultural landscapes of the city’s edges and the people who live there are one of the main sources and inspirations for my work. At the same time, the coexistence of realism and symbolism emphasizes the fantasy and the absurdity of these characters and their stories. In modern China, magical realism is happening around us almost every day. Life at times can resemble a surreal comedy that is filled with both jubilance and self-paralysis.”

影片当中多次对当代事件的进行了引用,例如从唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)选活动中采集的音频,或者关于马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)或马云的评论,以此将这部电影与我们今天的现实联系起来,使其更加吸引观众。刘健说:“《大世界》是一部动画电影,但它充满了现实主义的哲学……在城市边缘地区这样一个充满活力的热闹空间中,有许多不确定性和可能性令人遐想。在一些人眼中的超现实主义,在那里却往往是现实的存在,这本身对我来说就是很有意思的事情。我喜欢观察并思考人们是如何生活、思考和行动的。城市边缘的文化,以及那里生活的人是我创作时最大的灵感来源。同时,现实主义与象征主义的并存,又突显了这些人物以及他们的故事的奇幻与荒诞。在现代中国,魔幻现实主义几乎每天都在我们身边发生。生活有时像是一部充满欢乐和自我麻木的超现实主义喜剧片。”

Have a Nice Day won the award for Best Animation at the 54th annual Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, Taiwan, and has received worldwide critical acclaim for its neo-noir storytelling, gritty visuals, and penetrating depiction of modern-day Chinese society. Aside from the engrossing story and aesthetic, the film also features music from The Shanghai Restoration Project.

Have a Nice Day will be screening in theatres in the UK beginning on March 23rd, 2018. For more information on dates and locations, click here.

在第 54 届台湾金马奖颁奖典礼上,《大世界》斩获最佳动画长片奖,并因其新黑色的叙事风格、粗犷的视觉效果以及对现代中国的深入描绘,获得了来自全球的赞誉。另外值得一提的是,除了抓人的故事情节和视觉美学的呈现,《大世界》的电影配乐来自乐队上海复兴方案

影片将于 2018 年3月23日 在英国院线上映。了解更多,请点击此处

Website: haveaniceday.mubi.com


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao

网站: haveaniceday.mubi.com


供稿人: George Zhi Zhao