Tag Archives: 画家

Gentle Giants

Like a modern reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, Tran Nguyen‘s works show gigantic young women and wild beasts towering above tiny houses, set against seas of fog and distant mountains. Born in Vietnam and raised in the U.S., Nguyen creates works that seem less like paintings than scenes from a fantasy film.

无限放大的少女和野生动物,在迷雾之中秉烛夜游;同比缩小的城堡与远山,让人疑惑这是否如当代版的梦游仙境——这些画面,出自生于越南、长于美国的艺术家 Tran Nguyen 之手。与其说是绘画,不如说这样的作品更肖似童话电影的布景。

Growing up between contrasting Vietnamese and American cultures, Nguyen has long been fascinated with dichotomies. How can two concepts be both parallel and perpendicular at the same time? It’s all dependent on perspective — ideas that initially seem incompatible with one another may actually be complementary once you examine the relationship between them. This understanding carries over into her art, which are masterful balancing acts that makes use of a multitude of contrasts. “Though I’m naturally drawn to melancholic narratives, I added the animal companions to make the painting feel less solemn,” she notes as an example. “The scale of the characters is also meant to contrast against the ordinary environments that each scene is set in, adding a sense of majesty and surrealism.”

越南与美国两个国度不同的文化冲突,让 Tran 一直以来对分化对立很感兴趣。两个不同的概念如何平行又垂直相交呈现?这完全取决于观点——一旦你审视他们之间的关系,最初似乎彼此不相容的想法,实际上可能是相互补充的。她的艺术作品也正利用这种矛盾创造了巧妙的平衡。“我很自然地被忧郁的故事所吸引,但我加入了动物伙伴,让这幅画不那么严肃。” Tran 说,“而人物放大缩小的比例,给了画面中角色以一种威严和超现实主义的感觉。”

“Ultimately, I want my viewers to reflect and feel a sense of well-being from my art,” she says. “However they perceive my work, I hope it somehow puts them at ease, especially if they feel down on their luck.”

“我希望观众能够从其中反映出一种幸福感。希望能这些画让他们感到轻松,尤其当他们感到时运不济的时候。” Tran 如是说。

Website: www.mynameistran.com
: @mynameistran
Behance: ~/trannguyen

Contributor: Chen Yuan

网站: www.mynameistran.com
: @mynameistran
Behance: ~/trannguyen

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Universal Equations

Matter and energy are absolutes
Everything is made of atoms
We’re just sleepwalking in
Different dreams constructed by equations
So I’m the cosmos
So you’re the cosmos


Every song is accompanied by a painting.

On the Murky Crows album It’s Okay We Will Meet in Other Ways, the Taiwanese band ponders the idea that our universe is simply an ever-changing reconfiguration of atoms. Each of the album’s ten imaginative tracks tells stories that revolve around themes of space, eternity, and the meaning of life. The band’s lead singer, Li Zhongli, not only guides listeners through these narratives with his gentle vocals but also makes use of his artistic talents, painting ten different portraits that portray the protagonists of each song.




在台湾乐队昏鸦的专辑《一切不灭定律》中,诉说 “宇宙里一切人事物,都是由最小的粒子不停转换着构成方程式所组合而成” 的主题。围绕着这个思考,十首歌描述了十个充满奇幻色彩的寓言故事,用以轻柔的吟唱,与我们一起反覆探讨着宇宙、永恒、生命的意义。而乐队的主唱李中立,同时也是一位才华洋溢的画家,他将十个故事里的男主角分别描绘出来,成为了以下十幅美丽的画作。



Listen to the full album and check out the accompanying artworks for each track below:







Guide me toward the Milky Way
We will meet again one day




因为我们 只因我们

Whisper to me his secrets
This is why we no longer need umbrellas
Just as we need no proof we exist
We aren’t nostalgic for our youth
And it’s all because, all because
We’ll forever die young





I can’t figure out why when I see your face
I shed hidden tears
But if one day
I accidentally discover
You’re not all that special
Then it doesn’t matter all that much





Smoke fills the air in this cursed village
As the young man passes by on his horse
The villagers point and say, “Save us!
Deep in the western mountains lives a devil.”





Having flown every inch of the globe
Perhaps one day you’ll meet me again
Whoa-oh it’s such a beautiful song
I just hope that it’s all real




请问你 你的王国可是金色
请问你 你的王国可是银色

Pray tell, your kingdom is made of gold
Pray tell, your kingdom is made of silver
With a faint smile, the beloved king
Disappears into the forest





Play me this song of loneliness
Take me quietly away from this
Senseless life, senseless life
Farewell for now





Thank you for helping me take my sweet revenge
But again, I must ask you
To devour its body and soul
And let me become you





Your Saturday self died on Sunday
Of your tears only a single drop remains
It formed a cloud
And fell as rain


After releasing It’s Okay We Will Meet in Other Ways, the band went silent for three years. During that time, many fans learned that frontman Li Zhongli’s moved out of Taipei and opened the Miaoko Hostel in Hualien. Here time ambles along at a slower pace. Every day the sun rises and sets with a sea breeze, and everywhere you look is blue.

Many of the original paintings from the album are on display in the hostel, allowing visitors from all over the world to enjoy them, and in turn, discover the band’s music. Even though he’s left Taipei, Li hasn’t stopped creating music. The Murky Crows’ latest album, I’m Just a Sad Boy Who Lives in a Handsome Body, is slated for release later this year.

距离《一切不灭定律》发行,乐队经过了三年的沉寂。熟知昏鸦乐队的人也许都有听说,主唱李中立离开了台北,搬到台湾东边美丽的花莲市,与家人一起在靠海的路肩上开了一家民宿 Miaoko Hostel。在这里,时光流逝地特别缓慢,每天的日出日落都与海风为邻,放眼望去尽是一片的蓝。而一部份《一切不灭定律》的原画作也保留在这里,与更多来自他方的旅人相见,将音乐与画的故事续写下去。

即使远离了都市,乐队依然保持在创作的路上。2018 下半年他们带来了新专辑《我们目前是什么都先不做》。

Facebook: ~/MurkyCrows


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

脸书: ~/MurkyCrows


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

An Eye for the Macabre

Lost and Found 《失去和重拾》

A child with candy-striped ooze pouring out his eyes, a woman eerily sleepwalking in the dead of night, a giant octopus drifting through swirling tides inside a flooded home: a dark sense of dread pervades the air, stifling and thick like a muggy summer night. These nightmarish scenes are the work of Singaporean painter Jolene Lai.

“Most of the time, it’s my surroundings that spark inspiration for me. Walking down a mundane street, a dilapidated house around the corner will catch my attention,” she says.“I have an impulse to tell stories with interesting details I stumbled upon.” She distills her daily experiences into these unsettling images. Each painting is like a crime scene, with clues scattered over the canvas, little by little drawing us in.

眼里流出鲜红色的漩涡、异夜里的梦游、巨大章鱼悠游在潮水汹涌的家中——这里弥漫着一股晦暗不明的恐怖气息,就像溽暑的湿气一样充斥,久久无法散去。这些梦魇般的超现实场景,都是新加坡画家 Jolene Lai 的画作。

“多数时候,我所处的空间、或是所在的周遭环境会触发我的创作灵感,也许是一个再平凡不过的街景、或是角落一间破旧不堪的老房子,这些细节都能引起我的注意。我总是有一股冲动想要把我发现到的东西,都通过说故事的手法表现出来。” 她将自己生活中的日常经验改编成这些令人悚立不安的画面,勾引出观者坐立不安的情绪,在她的精心编排下,每一幅画都像是一个案件的事发现场,线索就散落在画布上,一步一步地,将我们诱入其中。

Cacophony 《刺耳》
Nutcracker 《坚果钳》
Heirloom 《祖传之物》
The Conjure《戏法》
The Basement 《地下室》
First Love 《初恋》
The Tower 《塔》

Instagram: @enelojial


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

网站: enelojial.com
Instagram: @enelojial


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

A Day in the Studio with Yan Wei



Yan Wei is a contemporary artist and painter from Beijing, China. After graduating from Tsinghua University’s Academy of Art and Design, she started her career as an illustrator working in the advertising industry. However, during her stint in advertising, she began to question her own goals and motivations. “I had to face the fact that advertising was not the reason I got into art,” she says. “I realized that advertising would only take me further away from my goals as an artist.”



Soon after this revelation, Yan quit her cushy advertising job and set up a painting studio in her parent’s home. She intended to dedicate all of her energy to making a reputation for herself in the art world. Over the next decade, Yan continuously progressed as an artist – her work would evolve from small ink-on-paper pieces to large-scale acrylic works on canvas.

Yan’s hard work would pay off. As of now, her work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions, received massive amounts of praise and attention online, and has been purchased by the Shanghai Art Museum for its public collection.



Yan Wei’s creative process is centered around routine and discipline. She shares, “A lot of people might think, artists or those who work creatively might live more spontaneously and stay up late, but it’s not like that. I’ll wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, clean the house, and start to paint. Then I’ll have lunch and continue to paint, all the way until the sun goes down and it gets dark, and I can’t paint anymore.”



Youth, beauty, and femininity are recurring themes throughout Yan Wei’s body of work. Her art is a way for her to explore the changing roles of women within the context of modern culture and society. “I think of femininity as a whole,” she explains. “Each of my paintings, the subjects are different, but they all have something in common.”



For Yan, her art has also become a process of self-discovery regarding what it means to be a woman. “When I depict women, I think it’s different than when men depict women. When men depict women, it might be as an outside observer. But when I depict women, it’s a depiction of who I am.”


Double Birth
Empirical Wonderland

Yan Wei will be hosting a solo exhibition in Beijing, China opening on March 3rd, 2018. See below for full details.


Yan Wei Solo Exhibition in Beijing

Date: March 3rd, 2018 ~ April 3rd, 2018
Opening Reception: March 3rd 15:00 – 18:00

Hi Art Center
B-B36, UBP
No. 10 Jiuxianqiao Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China



展期: 2018年03月03日 —— 2018年04月03日
开幕酒会: 03月03日,15:00 – 18:00


Instagram: @koomoowei


Contributor & Videographer: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人与摄影师: George Zhi Zhao

The Art of War

Big Bruce Lee

Mu Pan is a Taiwanese artist currently based in New York City. With influences ranging from Hong Kong cinema of the 1980s and 1990s to Japanese manga and kaiju movies, Mu incorporates elements of Chinese history and mythology to tell epic stories and legends with modern sensibilities. Mu’s artwork is never about art for its own sake – in his own words, “I am just an otaku who draws.”

潘慕文(Mu Pan)是一名现居纽约的台湾艺术家。他融合中国历史和神话元素,用画作来讲述具有现代感的史诗故事和传奇,从80、90年代的香港电影到日本漫画和怪兽电影,都对潘慕文的作品产生了很大的影响。他的艺术作品从来不只是为了创作而创作,用他自己的话说,“我只是一个画画的宅男”。

From the The Loyal Retainers series. / 来自《The Loyal Retainers》系列
From the The Loyal Retainers series. / 来自《The Loyal Retainers》系列
From the Ten Drawings series. / 来自《Ten Drawings》系列

As an artist who tells stories of epic, large-scale battles, war is one of Mu’s primary inspirations. He shares, “War, to some degree, is a beautiful thing to me. War creates great characters, and it also writes history. You’ve got to be a great artist in order to fight a war as a commander. There are so many arts you have to master in warfare, such as the formation, the economic concern, the time, the strategy, the geographic advantage, the numbers difference between you and your enemy, the art of brainwashing for loyalty, and the sense of mission. It costs a great amount of patience, and it also requires a high level of charisma and intelligence. Whether it is for invading or defending, to me it is just beautiful to see how a person can unite people’s individual strengths to become one great power to fight against the opponent.”


Loyal Retainer: Final Chapter
Dinoasshole Chapter 3
Dinoasshole Chapter 5

Mu often draws from the theatre of modern events to find inspiration for his work. “Usually, when I’m excited about something I saw or read on the media, or from my daily life, I first associate the subject with a monster or some creatures on a large scale, then think about who it will be fighting with.”

潘慕文经常从现代事件中汲取创作的灵感。 “如果我从媒体、日常生活中看到或读到一些令我感兴趣的东西时,我会把这个主题延伸联想出某个怪物或是一些体型庞大的生物,然后去构想这只怪物开战的对象。”

From the Ten Drawings series. / 来自《Ten Drawings》系列
My Name is Charlie: Yellow
My Name is Charlie: Red

With regards to his creative process, Mu is about spontaneity and creating in the moment. He never creates preliminary sketches for a painting, preferring to work freely and make changes on the fly. As each painting progresses, it reflects the emotions and events of his daily life. “I let the piece flow with whatever is happening in my life,” he explains. “This gives me the motivation to keep going day after day.”


From the Frog Wars series. / 来自《Frog Wars》系列

For Mu, art is a way to channel man’s energy, destructive power, and warlike disposition within the constraints of modern society. “I worship the strength of men and animals,” he tells us. “I dream to have the dominating power to rule, to destroy, and instill fear into my enemies. Of course, it’s impossible. No one can have this kind of power in today’s world. So I created my own world for myself with my images. In my images, I can be whatever I want to be and eat whoever I hate. Every monster I draw is actually a self-portrait.”


From the Monkeys series. / 来自《Monkeys》系列
From the Ten Drawings series. / 来自《Ten Drawings》系列
Big Bad Wolves

Website: mupan.com
Instagram: @mupan1911


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

Passion & Fragility


Mizuki Nishiyama is a Japanese multimedia artist, painter, and poet based in New York City. Currently a student at the Parsons School of Design, Nishiyama creates abstract expressionist works that examine personal experiences, ideas of the extreme, and the concept of human fragility. Nishiyama tells Neocha more about her artwork below.

Mizuki Nishiyama是来自日本的多媒体艺术家、画家和诗人,现居纽约,就读于帕森设计学院(Parsons School of Design)。Nishiyama以抽象表现主义的作品,探讨自己的人生经历,极端的想法和人类脆弱性的概念。最近,Nishiyama和Neocha分享了她对艺术、文化和创意的一些想法。

Snails In Her Eyes
In My Lake of Boulders

Neocha: What first drew you to pursue art?

Nishiyama: My grandma, granduncle, and mother are all painters. Each of them work in different mediums – my grandma uses tennen iwa enogu (powdered minerals) for Nihonga (traditional Japanese art), my granduncle paints with watercolor, and my mother paints with oil. As my family has an artistic background, I presume I’ve been influenced by them. Nevertheless, many of my own personal developments have led me to explore different methods to recreate or make a statement, whether it be through music, dance, or writing. Over time, I’ve realized that painting allows me to create the most accurate representation of what I intend to visualize.

Neocha: 你一开始为什么会对艺术感兴趣?

Nishiyama: 我的祖母、伯祖父和母亲都是画家。他们各自用着不同的媒介来创作。我的祖母用Tennen Iwa Enogu(粉状矿物质)来画日本画(Nihonga,指日本的民族传统绘画),我的伯祖父画水彩画,而我母亲则是画油画。由于我家的艺术背景,我从小就已经受到他们的影响。尽管如此,我个人的很多经历也在促使我去寻求不同的方法来创作或表达,可以是音乐,也可以是舞蹈或写作。慢慢地,我意识到,绘画能最准确表达出我想要可视化的内容。


Neocha: Aside from familial influences, how does Japan and its culture influence your artistic process?

Nishiyama: I was fortunate to have been raised in a culturally diverse environment. My father is from Japan and my mother is from Hong Kong, but they spent a big portion of their lives in Italy. Bouncing between five languages at home and attending a Canadian International School in Hong Kong, I’ve never been able to identify concretely with particular heritages. However, I’ve always had a fondness for Japanese history and culture. By visiting Japan ever so often, I’ve been exposed to traditional arts such as bunraku (traditional Japanese puppet theatre), kabuki (classical Japanese dance-dramas), buyō (traditional Japanese performing arts), and ukiyo-e (an art genre that flourished in Japan between the 17th and 19th century), which have all brought my attention and attraction to classical arts. I’m so grateful to have been brought up with multiple cultural values, as I do realize that I unconsciously blend aspects of all those cultures together.

Neocha: 日本文化对你的作品有什么影响?

Nishiyama: 我很幸运可以在一个多元文化的环境中成长。我的父亲来自日本,而我的母亲来自香港,但他们大部分时间都生活在意大利。在家里,我会在五种语言之间来回切换,加上是在香港的加拿大国际学校读书的,所以,对我来说,我从来都没有特别觉得自己属于哪一种文化。不过,我一直都很喜欢日本的历史和文化。我经常去日本,也接触到很多当地传统艺术,例如文乐(Bunraku)、歌舞伎(Kabuki)、舞踊(Buyō)和浮世绘(Ukiyo-e)、而这些艺术又让我开始注意并喜欢上古典艺术。我很感恩,自己能在这种多元文化的环境中成长,因为我发现,自己会不自觉地将这些不同文化融合在一起。

Peas and Peaches

Neocha: What are some recurrent themes in your artwork?

Nishiyama: I’m a very emotionally driven person. I’m tempestuous, and my thoughts are impassioned. The images that I paint come from a very sensitive and ardent side of my human experience that I simply want to document.

My work covers unconventional topics about the human experience that are intentionally confrontational. I’m extremely intrigued by the rawness of the human psyche when we are vulnerable to our emotions. These feelings help cultivate my creativity through emotional intimacy between myself and the brush. The themes I’ve expressed thus far have been based on personal experiences and spontaneous social issues, often ignored or instinctively disregarded by society.

I started painting as a response to many situations in my life. This allowed me to take a step back, and analyze these situations through a secondary lens. I consider my paintings as somewhat of a visual diary. By looking back at my work, I’ve learned to understand myself better – emotionally and circumstantially.





Tic Tac Toe
Swing Me From The Cantaloupe I Swear To Beckon This Raisin Day

Neocha: How does color play a role in your art? What does color mean to you?

Nishiyama: Selecting the appropriate colors to provoke emotions and amplify messages are constantly on my mind. Themes surrounding my pieces are often quite impassioned, so I tend to naturally grab darker, more vibrant and vivid shades. I am currently experimenting with mediums. I am familiar working with highly pigmented shades, however, I’ve recently begun incorporating gouache, gloss, thickening mediums, as well as glazing to create a variety of looks.

Neocha: 色彩在你的艺术创作中扮演什么角色?色彩对你来说意味着什么?

Nishiyama: 我总是会去思考如何选择合适的色彩来挑动情绪,突显作品想要传达的信息。我的作品主题往往都十分激烈的情感,所以很自然地,我倾向于使用更鲜活生动的暗色调。我目前在尝试用不同的媒介进行创作。我比较擅长用高饱和度的色彩创作,但是最近我也开始使用水粉、光泽涂料、可以增厚质感的媒介,以及透明画法(glazing)来营造同不的效果。

Sunflowers Dream

Neocha: As both a painter and a poet, how does your creative process differ across these two mediums?

Nishiyama: Literature and painting go hand-in-hand when it comes to being able to show an accurate representation of what I intend to document. I’m a big fan of confessional poetry. I do not intend to create flawless stanzas nor sculptured phrases. I have always treated both my paintings and my poems as representative milestones in my life. The commonality would be the emotional heaviness I convey through both mediums.

Neocha: 你身兼画家和诗人两个身份,那么你在分别创作这两个媒介时,会有什么不同的创作思路吗?

Nishiyama: 文学和绘画都能准确表达出我想要记录的内容,在这一点上,两者是一样的。我特别喜欢自白派诗歌(Confessional Poetry)。我不打算创作出完美无瑕的诗节,也不想精雕细琢所用的词语。一直以来,我创作的画和诗都是记录我生命的里程碑。两者的共性在于我透过这两种媒介传达的沉重情感。


Neocha: How has studying in New York City influenced your attitude towards art?

Nishiyama: I became more driven once I started attending the Parsons School of Design, due to constantly being surrounded by highly motivated and creative people. Moving to New York City meant there were going to be a lot of new life changes, and that resulted in many conversational pieces. Nonetheless, Hong Kong, Japan, and New York are all creative, visionary cities to develop one’s art. But I do favor New York simply because it is a new chapter in my life, and there is yet so much more for me to learn and explore.

Neocha: 在纽约学习的经历让你对艺术的态度产生了什么变化?

Nishiyama: 入读美国帕森斯设计学院( Parsons School of Design)后,我变得更有创作的动力,因为身边的人都充满了创作欲望和创意才华的人。搬到纽约后,在生活上自然会发生很多的变化,也因此创作了很多交谈画(Conversational Piece)。虽然香港、日本和纽约都是充满前卫创意的地方,非常适合发展艺术,但我尤其喜欢纽约。原因很简单,它代表着我人生的新篇章,在这座城市有那么多值得我去学习和探索的东西。

Messy Heads

Website: mizukinishiyama.com


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

What if Kobe Bryant was a Samurai?

From a samurai-fied Kobe Bryant to a skeleton warrior rocking Jordans, Vanz Chiang’s illustrations seamlessly combines elements of Japanese culture with modern-day NBA superstars. The Taiwanese artist’s fearlessness to mash together unlikely elements from different cultures has led to collaborations with local Taiwanese streetwear goliath Remix Taipei, renowned streetwear brand Mishka NYC, and American sportswear brand Champion.

从穿着武士装的科比,到穿着乔丹球鞋的骷髅头战士,台湾艺术家江振嘉(Vanz Chiang)将日本传统文化和NBA球星做结合,创作出一系列出色的插图作品。正是这种大胆文化碰撞的风格,促成了他与台湾本地著名街头时尚品牌Remix Taipei、著名服饰品牌Mishka NYC和美国运动服装品牌Champion的合作。

Being someone who’s never bought into the rigorous structure of traditional academic curriculums, Chiang would often absent-mindedly doodle away during class and daydream about being a manga artist. “I’ve never had a concrete plan for the future,” he says with a nonchalant shrug. “My line of thinking was simple: I just wanted to do the things I loved. I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to find a career in something I’m interested in even before I even finished college.”


Chiang’s collection of books offers a revealing glimpse into his varied interests and creative inspirations. Inside his Banqiao studio space, his bookshelf is filled to the brim, from literature about skate culture like Thrasher Skate and Destroy: The First 25 Years of Thrasher Magazine and the Supreme monograph to art books like James Jean’s Xenograph and The Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips. But by far, the art books that dominate his shelves are those by Japanese artists. Chiang credits the famous Japanese manga artist Takehiko Inoue as being one of his biggest influences. Inoue is best known for the wildly popular Slam Dunk, a sports-themed manga series about a high school basketball team, and Vagabond, a manga series about a wandering swordsman. The influence from these two series is immediately obvious in many of Chiang’s works. Aside from the illustrative styles, the narratives presented in the manga are equally important to Chiang’s creative processs. “The manga series I enjoy reading are usually ones that explore human nature and the meaning of life,” he comments. “I suppose that might be because I’m quite introverted and often like to overthink.”

一踏进江振嘉位于板桥的工作室,就能看到他的书架上摆满了各式书籍。从有关于滑板文化的《Thrasher Skate and Destroy: The First 25 Years of Thrasher Magazine》和《Supreme》到Jame Jean的 《Xenograph》和 《The Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips》。但是,占满他书架的主力军还是日本漫画书。江振嘉说,著名日本漫画家井上雄彦(Takehiko Inoue)是对他影响最大的人之一。井上的作品包括广受欢迎的《灌篮高手》,一部关于高中篮球校队的体育主题漫画;以及关于流浪剑客的漫画系列《浪客行》。在江振嘉的许多插图作品中,都能清晰看到这两部漫画的影响,除了对他画风的影响之外,对他作品在叙事上的影响也同样重要。”我喜欢的漫画作品通常是以探索人性和生命意义为主题的,但我想这可能是因为我比较内向,常常会想太多。“

A closer look around studio reveals the full scope of his love of Japanese culture: various Japanese paraphernalia – such as oni masks, samurai helmets, and even a katana – decorate the workspace. “I like things that are intricate and mysterious,” Chiang explains, motioning towards the sheathed katana on his desk. “Many aspects of Japanese culture fit these two criteria. But I like Western armaments as well. Their heavy armor and bulky weapons still possess an inherent beauty. Japanese weapons are still my favorite. Katanas are elegant and simple, yet so powerful. Japanese armor is also beautiful and well-designed.


Though perhaps not as readily apparent as the influence from Japanese culture, Taiwanese culture also plays a role in his creation process. “The temples of Taiwan, which can be found almost everywhere, definitely influence me,” he says. “I’m inspired by the architecture and the artistic details of the deities. I also love dragons, which are present in almost every temple. If I pass by one, I’ll often stop and take in all of the work that went into the details.”


In recent years, Chiang has invested much time and energy into collaborative brand projects. In 2017, he plans to readjust his focus and produce more art for himself. He’s currently in the preliminary stages of planning an exhibition and is in discussions with a few galleries. As Chiang pencils in additional details onto a new Monkey King illustration he’s been working on, he eagerly says, “I’m really looking forward to opportunities for showing off more of my personal artworks this year.”


Website: vanzchiang.com
Facebook: ~/VanzChiang
Instagram: @vanzchiang


Contributor & Photographer: David Yen

网站: vanzchiang.com
脸书: ~/VanzChiang
Instagram: @vanzchiang


供稿人与摄影师: David Yen

ONEQ’s Evocative Illustrations

ONEQ is a Japanese illustrator who’s most well known for her illustrations of vintage pin-up girls. Her drawings seamlessly blend Western and Eastern styles – think 1900s American poster art, with the curvy sexualized female form, mixed together with the flawless skin and delicate features of the females portrayed in Japanese manga. ONEQ says she’s endlessly fascinated with women and the female body. This fascination is mirrored in all of her work, where she draws captivating images of voluptuous hourglass-shaped women, powerful and seductive. Her illustrations are proud celebrations of femininity and sexuality.


ONEQ was born, raised, and is currently based in Kumamoto, the capital of Kyushu island. As a completely self-taught artist, ONEQ’s love affair with illustration, like most illustrators, can be traced back to her childhood. Manga books were a big part of that childhood. Generally, Japanese manga is separated into different categories, some cater to a female audience and others cater to a male audience. Having an older brother allowed her the opportunity to be exposed to both worlds.


She cites three major influences that pushed her along the path to becoming an illustrator. The first is the famous manga artist Rumiko Takahashi, the illustrator behind Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha, who she says is her biggest influence. The second is Rockin’ Jelly Bean, a famous Japanese pop artist, whose use of colors captivated her and changed the way she looked at how colors could be used. The third is Simon Bisley, a British comic artist that portrays women in equal parts femininity and equal parts strength. All of these influences came together and evolved her artwork into what it is today.


Having just turned thirty-four earlier this year, ONEQ is working full time as a freelance artist, but just recently reallocated one day out of every week to work at her friend’s bar. Her motivations behind this aren’t financial. The bar is stimulating and the atmosphere inspires her art, she says. “Many unique and powerful ladies go there on weekends. Their energy is captivating.” Not a stranger to this lifestyle, she recalls being mixed up in Japan’s night life scene as a teenager. Often missing school, ONEQ would find herself spending time in the more dubious parts of town. Even though she prefers the slow-paced and quiet life in Kumamoto, she considers Japan’s night life to be another aspect of Japanese culture that has influenced her artwork and style. She says, “In that regard, I consider my past to be both good and bad.”


ONEQ’s creation process is a mix of both traditional and modern techniques. She first begins with rough sketches to flesh out the initial concept. Once the idea has been clearly thought out, she will then draw a refined version in monochrome by using mechanical pencils. If the image is intended to be a colored piece of work, it gets scanned and digitally colored in Photoshop. Her pieces that involve color could take upwards of two weeks to fully complete.


Besides only working on paper and computer screens, she has also completed numerous murals and is keen on creating even more in the near future. She says, “I want to create more murals. It would be great if I could create murals in different places all over the world. Shanghai is definitely on my list.” ONEQ elaborates by saying that she doesn’t approach her art with any intentions of being famous; her sense of artistic accomplishment comes from creating artwork that she personally finds meaningful. This sincerity that she approaches all her illustrations with is undoubtedly another aspect of what makes her artwork so alluring.


Website: kotemufu.exblog.jp
Behance: ~/oneq-japan
Facebook: ~/oneq.pinup
Instagram: @negiyakisoba


Contributor: David Yen

ウェブサイト: kotemufu.exblog.jp
Behance: ~/oneq-japan
Facebook: ~/oneq.pinup
Instagram: @negiyakisoba


寄稿者: David Yen

After the Masters

Japanese artist Masaki Yada uses a type of symbolism that is predominantly and usually seen in 17th century Dutch still life paintings to create his original style of art. His own aesthetics can be best described as “dark and cutting edge”. Masaki’s Eastern roots also leave imprints on his work; these influences are evident in the poetic and delicate details of his gorgeous creations. Masaki Yada skillfully uses contemporary techniques to reinterpret masterpieces of the past through his own means, and creates with a thoughtfulness that touches on many modern issues. Neocha recently spoke to Masaki about his dreamlike artwork, his journey as an artist, and his influences along the way.

日本人アーティスト、Masaki Yadaは、独自の美術様式を生み出すため、主に17世紀のオランダの静物画に見られる象徴性を用いています。彼の美学は、「ダークであり最先端」という言葉で最も端的に表現できるでしょう。また、Masakiの東洋のルーツもその作品に痕跡を残しており、その影響は詩的で繊細な細部に明らかな形で伺えます。彼は単に名作を再解釈するのではなく、現代文化に即した技術を駆使して制作しているのです。NeochaはMasakiに、その夢のような作品、アーティストとしての軌跡、そして、これまで彼が受けてきた影響について聞いてみました。

Neocha: Can you tell us about your journey into art?

Masaki: Initially, it was my mother who inspired me to paint. She is a trained painter, but didn’t really pursue a career as an artist. She graduated from an art college 45 years ago in Japan. At the time, it was generally agreed that women were supposed to get a stable job – they weren’t encouraged to become artists. So she had worked as an art teacher for 35 years. However, when I was born she named me Ya Yun in Chinese, which means elegant and artistic, and hoped that I would one day fulfill her dream of becoming a professional artist.

Neocha: アートの世界に足を踏み入れた経緯を教えていただけますか?

Masaki: 最初に絵を描くきっかけとなったのは母でした。母は熟練の画家なのですが、プロの芸術家の道に進んだわけではありませんでした。45年前に日本の美大を卒業した母ですが、当時、女性は安定した職に就くものと考えられていました。芸術家になるよう奨励されることはなかったのです。そのため、母は35年間美術教師を務めました。それでも母は、生まれた私に中国語で優雅で芸術的という意味のYa Yunと名付け、いつか息子がプロのアーティストになることを願ったのです。

Neocha: How was your work influenced by both Eastern and Western culture?

Masaki: I grew up seeing traditional Japanese and Chinese paintings because of my mother. I was exposed to the likes of Itō Jakuchū, Kanō school of painters, and Hasegawa Tōhaku. My mother was trained in a very traditional way in Japan. My first Western idols were Vermeer, Jan Van Eyck, Bruegel and other realist painters from the 16th century. I particularly love the Dutch and Flemish masters from the Dutch Golden age. I like their ethos of trying to break away from the religious constraints, and their eagerness of choosing more democratic themes really interests me. We tend to group old paintings as classical or simply “old”, but back then there were also many different styles, and many new ideas being formed and presented. I also like history paintings that comment on other paintings within the painting. For example, Vermeer’s paintings often does that. A lot of contemporary painters do it as well. I guess we are all fascinated with the idea of engaging in a dialogue with the masters from the past – it’s like how Renaissance painters wanted to engage in a dialogue with ancient Greek artists. My paintings are constantly evolving and are constantly being influenced by my surrounding environment as well as the people around me.

Neocha: 東洋と西洋の文化がどのようにあなたの作品に影響を与えたのでしょう?

Masaki: 母の影響で、日本と中国の伝統絵画を見て育ちました。伊藤若冲や狩野派、また、長谷川等伯といった画家の作品に触れました。母は極めて古典的な日本の手法で絵を学んだのです。私が最初に憧れた西洋の画家は、フェルメール、ヤン・ファン・エイク、ブリューゲル他、16世紀の写実画家でした。中でも、オランダ黄金時代のオランダやフランドルの巨匠らが好きです。宗教的制約から脱却しようとする彼らの気風に共感しますし、より庶民的な主題を選んだ熱意に興味を引かれます。昔の絵画を一様に古典あるいは単に「古い」ものと一括りしてしまうものですが、当時は数多くの画風や新しい画法が編み出され、発表されていました。また、絵画の中で他の絵画について解説する歴史的絵画も好きです。例えば、フェルメールの作品によくあるものです。多くの現代美術の画家も同様です。あたかも、ルネサンスの画家達が古代ギリシャの芸術家達との対話を望んでいたのと同じく、過去の巨匠との対話を通して繋がるという考えに誰もが興味をかき立てられるのではないでしょうか。私の絵は常に進化し、常に自分を取り巻く周囲の環境や人々に影響を受けています。

Neocha: What has been the biggest challenge during your creation process? What do you feel like has been your biggest achievement so far?

Masaki: My biggest challenge has been trying to find the “cross section” of who I am and what the world wants to see from me. If I try to be who I am not, then the discrepancy eventually catches up with me. But if I just make work that is purely self-indulgent, it’s like masturbation. To find the balance between them is an art in itself. The biggest achievement has always been the moment when I see the looks of the collectors who buy my paintings. For me, contributing to the happiness of people through my craft is way more important than any personal accolades. I feel like having the ability to enrich people’s lives through art is the greatest achievement, and I would like to continue doing that.

Neocha: あなたの制作過程において、これまでで最も大きな課題とは何でしたか?また、これまで達成した最大の功績とは何だと思いますか?

Masaki: 私の最大の課題は、自分という存在と人々が見たいと思うものの、いわば「断面図」を探し求めることでした。私が自分ではない者になろうとすると、いずれは食い違いが出てくるはずです。しかし、自己中心的な作品を作るだけなら、それは自慰行為のようなものです。その間でバランスを見い出すもの、それはアートそのものなのです。最大の功績は常に、私の作品を買ってくださるコレクターの様子を伺う瞬間です。私にとって、自分の作品を通して人々の幸せに貢献することは、どんな個人的栄誉より重要なものです。人々の生活を豊かにできると感じることが何よりの功績であり、これからも続けることができればと思っています。

Neocha: Do you think artists have the social responsibility to change the world or even change society?

Masaki: My primary interest lies in the engagement in dialogues with the masters from the past and understanding people at a deep level. But I do believe that art has a power and influence to change the world. For example, in 2003 the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a public announcement when the U.N. decided to intervene in the regional matters of the Middle East. Behind Colin Powell, a tapestry with the image of Picasso’s Guernica was hung on the wall as if sending out an anti-war statement. The following day that painting was covered up as to not to send out a mixed message. So to some extent, art definitely has power. It can be highly effective when raising awareness of certain issues. But at the same time, art is also powerless. I spend a lot of time in Berlin now, so I see the influx of refugees from the Middle East. Art cannot help them directly. Art cannot give them food, accommodation, means of integration and so forth, but these are things they desperately need. As corny as it sounds, I believe in love and the power of creating positive energy that reduces conflicts amongst people through art. I am trying to do that on a small scale and in my immediate environment rather than trying the change the whole world.

Neocha: アーティストは、世界や社会を変える社会的責任があると思いますか?

Masaki: 私の基本的な関心は、過去の巨匠達と対話して繋がること、そして人々を深く理解することです。それでも、アートには世界を変える力や影響力があると信じています。例を挙げると、2003年に国連が中東の地域問題への介入を決定し、米国務長官のコリン・パウエルが正式発表した時のことです。コリン・パウエルの背後の壁面に、まるで反戦メッセージを送るかのようにピカソのゲルニカのタペストリーが掛けられていたのです。矛盾したメッセージと取られないよう、翌日にあその絵が覆い隠されていました。つまり、確かにアートにはある程度の力があります。ある特定の問題への関心を高めるにあたり、高い効果を及ぼすことがあります。ただ、同時にアートは無力なものでもあります。私はベルリンで過ごすことが多いため、中東からの難民の流入を目の当たりにします。アートで難民を直接救うことはできません。アートは、食べ物、宿泊施設、地域への同化手段といった、難民らが切望するものを何も提供することはできません。陳腐に聞こえるでしょうが、アートを通して、人々の争いを軽減する愛と正のエネルギーを生み出す力を信じています。私は、全世界を変えようというより、自分の周囲の環境内で小規模にそんな変化をもたらすよう努めています。

Neocha: What do you think the aim of art should be?

Masaki: The role of art is to determine the “cross section” of an artist’s self expression and how the world can be a better place through art. It may pertain to provoking thoughts, evoking emotions, and giving a sense in which we feel “alive”. When I was still an art student, I went through a phase where I believed in the role of art as a vehicle to change the world, and my work had a strong sense of socio-political elements. I still think of it as important to some degree, but recently I tend to distance myself from the emotions that I had then. It is because a little while ago I realized that perhaps I was driven by anger and frustration towards society as a whole. But now I understand that everyone is working hard, striving for their own survival, and to some extent, trying to do something good as well. With that realization, I now want to make art with positive emotions and an intent of brightening up people’s lives just like Liang Kai’s, Jan Eyck’s and Vermeer’s paintings did to me when I was as a child. I realized that positive energy, light, and smile can bring to us more good than anger, frustration, conflict and violence. I’ve gotten a bit older so that has made me wiser and more mature, but it does not mean that I deny all the processes that I have gone through thus far. Everything I’ve been through was necessary for me to get to where I am right now. Without experiencing them all, then I would not feel what I feel now. So I’m really thankful.

Neocha: アートの目的はどうあるべきだと思いますか?

Masaki: アートの役割とは、アーティスト自身の表現の断面図とアートによっていかに世界をより良くするかを決めることにあります。それは、思考を刺激すること、感情を喚起すること、また、「生きている」と感じる感覚を与えることと関係するでしょう。私がまだ美術学生だった頃、世界を変える手段としてのアートの役割を信じ、自分の作品が強い社会政治的要素を反映していた時期がありました。今でもある程度までは重要だとは思いますが、最近では当時のそういった感情から自分自身を遠ざける傾向にあります。それは、自分が全体としての社会への怒りや不満に突き動かされていたのかもしれないと少し前に気づいたためです。今では、生き残るために誰もが懸命にもがき、何かしら良いことをしようと努力していることがわかっています。それに気づいた今、かつて子供だった自分を梁楷、ヴァン・エイク、フェルメールの絵が元気にしてくれたように、ポジティブな感情で人々の生活を明るくする目的でアートを作りたいと思っています。正のエネルギーや光、そして笑顔は、怒りや不満、争い、暴力より人々のためになると気づいたのです。少し歳をとった分、賢く成熟したわけですが、だからといって自分がこれまで歩んできた全ての過程を否定するわけではありません。私が経験したことは、今ある自分にとってどれも必要なものでした。過去に経験したことが少しでも欠けていれば、今の感情はなかったわけです。ですから、自分の経緯には感謝しています。

Neocha: How do you handle the balance between creativity and financial incentives?

Masaki: When I think of creativity now, I often think of constraints as well. It is like yin and yang. Particularly now, the more limitations and restrictions I face, the more creative I have to become. In fact, when people face restrictions and complain about the lack of freedom, I see the lack of creativity in them. For me, creativity is the ability to reconfigure unthinkable combinations and ideas that have never been connected before. Creativity is to explore the infinite possibilities of synthesizing different ideas. Splashing paint on canvas is, therefore, not quite creativity for me. True creativity actually involves diligent investigation of the past and deep understanding of the field, and finding a possibility that has never been explored before. True creativity is built on the contradictions. I think creativity and financial incentives can, therefore, be dealt with in proximity. Suffering and struggles should not be too romanticized. But of course, the main motive should be to make great art that moves people in a significant and emotional way.

Neocha: 創造性と金銭的報酬とのバランスをどう処理していますか?

Masaki: 創造性について考える時、制約についてもよく考えます。いわば陰と陽の関係のようなものです。特に今は、制限や制約に直面すればするほど、ますます創造性が問われます。実際、人が制約に直面し、自由のなさを訴える時、そこには創造性の欠如が伺えます。私にとって創造性とは、それまで何の繋がりもなく、思いもよらなかった組み合わせやアイデアを再構成する能力なのです。創造性は、異なるアイデアを合成して限りない可能性を探るものです。ですから、キャンバスに絵の具を飛び散らせることは私にとって創造性ではありません。真の創造性は、過去についての飽くなき探求とその分野の深い理解力、そして、それまで開拓されなかった可能性を見つけ出すことです。真の創造性は、矛盾の上に成り立つものです。そのため、創造性と金銭的報酬は近接して対処することができると思います。生活のため葛藤することはあまり美化されるべきではないでしょう。ただ、もちろん最も重要な動機は、人々の感情に強く訴える優れた芸術を生み出すことです。



Contributor: Shanshan Chen
Images Courtesy of Masaki Yada





寄稿者: Shanshan Chen
Images Courtesy of Masaki Yada

The Man in Between Two Phrases



Shun Kawakami is a Japanese artist and designer known for his signature style and ingenious approach that adopts the beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics. He was born in Fukugawa, the old town of Tokyo, where Edo-era culture is still deeply engrained into the daily life of residents there. “Being born in that town and being raised by my grandfather who was a traditional craftsman influenced me a lot. He was the typical Edokko and actually used to wear a kimono everyday.”


After working several years as a designer for a small company, Kawakami left and began working independently. He did a bit of graphics design for +81 Magazine, which was generating a lot of buzz in Japan at the time and is now regarded as one of the most innovative art and culture publications. Kawakami’s work started to receive attention overseas, and that recognition eventually turned into numerous prestigious international awards. Not complacent in the success, Kawakami continued to explore different creative methods of self expression. Also around this same time, Kawakami set off on his tour that took him around the world exhibiting his art.

デザイナーとして数年間会社勤めした後に独立した川上氏は、「+81 magazine」等のグラフィックデザインを手がけ、国内で注目を浴びるようになる。やがて、海外からも目にとまるようになった氏の作品は、国内外からの賞を数々受賞するようになった。同時に、川上氏は独自の表現を追求し続けるため、精力的な個展巡礼を始めた。

Kawakami is actively involved in a wide array of creative endeavors: he dabbles in interactive art, film, product design, and installation art, among others. “To me, there isn’t much difference between art and design,” Kawakami says. He says that even though these two forms of expressions are completely different things, the approach feels the same.

今日に至っての川上氏の領域は多岐にわたり、 アート、 デザイン、タイポグラフィック、インタラクティブ、映像、インスタレーション、空間演出など、アートとデザイン双方から多方面へアプローチを続け、国内外問わずグローバルに活動を行っている。「僕にとって、デザインとアートって、そんなに違いはなくて」と自信のアプローチについて語った川上氏、表現に違いはあれど、彼にとって、向き合い方は同じものだと言う。

The majority of Kawakami’s artwork involves Japanese pines trees. He’s fascinated in the asymmetrical nature of their form, and the organic flow of their lines. In the disarray of leaves and branches, he’s able to find a sense of beauty. Kawakami combines the unique features of these Japanese trees with his masterful use of negative space to create beautiful pieces of art.


Kawakami still tours alongside his art and hosts exhibitions around the world. He says that traveling not only exposes him to different cultures, but it also provides him a huge amount of artistic inspiration. Kawakami considers his travels to to be a crucial aspect of his work. “By traveling to many places, you’re exposed to new experiences and knowledge. I can then convert them to my ‘phrase’ and that inspires me to produce new pieces of art.”


Website: shunkawakami.jp
Facebook: ~/shunkawakami
Instagram:  ~/shunkawakami

ウェブサイト: shunkawakami.jp
Facebook: ~/shunkawakami
Instagram:  ~/shunkawakami

Contributor, Photographer & Videographer: Yasuyuki Kubota
dditional Images Courtesy of Shun Kawakami

寄稿者、カメラマン&ビデオ撮影: Yasuyuki Kubota
Additional Images Courtesy of Shun Kawakami