Tag Archives: art

Unconventional Fairy Tales

Using fairy tales as the foundation of her work, Taiwanese artist Chang Chia-ying creates colorful oil paintings steeped in a wondrous sense of mystery and innocence. Many of Chang’s paintings are unexpectedly large, with some being more than two meters tall, a surprise for people who assume her delicate brushwork is done on a smaller canvas. The size of her paintings help accentuate one of the most prominent features of her works – her doe-eyed characters. With penetrating gazes that demand a viewer’s full attention, these characters invite viewers to immerse themselves into Chang’s surreal world. Chang beckons viewers to use their own imagination to fill in the blanks, form their own interpretation of her work, and essentially create a fairy tale of their very own. Describing her art, she says, “Like Moebius’ illustrations, my paintings are a fairy-tale paradise without an entrance or exit, a fantasy that goes on infinitely, stories without a beginning or end.”



To see Chang Chiaying’s paintings in person, the Project Fulfill Art Space in Taipei, Taiwan is currently showcasing her solo exhibition.


EventMini Me
Exhibition Dates: October 20, 2017 ~ November 25, 2017
Opening Hours: Tuesday ~ Saturday 11am~7pm (Sunday by appointment only)

Project Fulfill Art Space
1F., No.2, Alley 45, Lane 147, Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd.
Da’an District, Taipei



活动: 迷你谜
展期: 2017年10月20日——2017年11月25日
时间: 周二至周日 早上11点至晚上7点(周日仅供预约)

信义路三段 147 巷 45 弄 2 号一楼

Facebook: ~/Changchiaying


Contributor: Chen Yuan
Images Courtesy of Project Fulfill Art SpaceChang Chiaying

脸书: ~/Changchiaying


供稿人: Chen Yuan
图片由就在艺术空间Chang Chiaying提供

Searching for the Self

Yuqing Zhu is a Chinese American artist, writer, and Ph.D. student in neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Using materials including pencil, chiyogami paper, origami paper, and magazine cut-outs, Zhu creates colorful self-portraits that examine the nature of identity and culture. Neocha spoke with Zhu to learn more about her life, art, and studies. Check out the conversation below.

朱禹清(Yuqing Zhu)是一名美籍华裔艺术家和作家,目前在芝加哥大学攻读神经学博士学位。通过铅笔、千代纸(Chiyogami)、折纸、杂志上剪下的图片等材料,她创作了一系列彩色自画像,以此对自我身份和文化本质进行审视。Neocha和朱禹清聊了一下,进一步去了解她的生活、艺术和学业。一起来看下这段对话吧。

Neocha: As a neuroscience student, how do you balance your art with your academic studies?

Zhu: Before beginning my program, someone told me that finding a hobby as soon as possible is the best way to keep sane. Luckily for me, I already had something. I think the key to finding balance was by assigning equal importance to both art and science. It’s truly a matter of mindset. I’m serious enough about neuroscience to be part of a five-year-plus Ph.D. program, so it’s quite a struggle to match that level of dedication in my art! I may need to spend more time in lab or in lecture, simply due to the nature of the work, but I try to think about and create art consistently as well.

Some days I recognize that I’ve been neglecting creating art for too long. On those days I simply put down my science and draw. This usually rejuvenates my work on the science side as well. Scientific research can devolve into a lot of drudgery and grunt work but doing something creative reminds me to think broadly and reassess where I’m at. My most inspired periods in the lab usually match up with my most productive periods at the easel.

Neocha: 作为一名神经科学的学生,你如何平衡自己的艺术创作与学业?

Zhu: 在我开始修读学位之前,有人劝我尽快找个爱好,这是让自己保持理智的最佳方式。幸运的是,我早就有这样的爱好。我觉得,找到平衡的关键是对艺术和科学赋予同等的重要性。这确实就是心态的问题。我对于学神经科学是很认真的,所以才会决心读一个5年多的博士学位课程,所以要在艺术方面也投入同等的专注,确实不容易。我可能会花更多的时间在实验室或上课,主要是因为这个专业本身的需要,但我会尽量保持不断地去思考和创造艺术。


Neocha: What are some of the parallels between art and neuroscience?

Zhu: I’ve had a lot of people ask me this question, and I’m not sure if I can give a satisfactory answer even to myself! Here’s my shot at it: art and science are both part of an abstract search for the balance between beauty and complexity. Self-portraiture and neuroscience are both part of an abstract search of the core of one’s identity beyond one’s own biases.

I adore complexity. It wasn’t always obvious that the complex system I wanted to study was the brain. I used to, and still do actually, love things like M. C. Escher’s prints and delight in the extremely dense inkwork of Edward Gorey and more recently of Manabu Ikeda. Complex interactions in anything from ecology to musical scores are still fascinating to me.

A lot of times neurobiology gives you extremely elegant solutions to complex problems. How do we hear? How do entire nervous systems develop from embryonic stages into adulthood? How can we sense things like temperature, and how do we perceive things like colors? When systems like these come to be understood and explained, we realize how logically elegant they are! That doesn’t mean the solutions are simple or straightforward or even the most efficient, but nonetheless, they work, and I find them beautiful! A large part of the time we don’t know the full answer yet. For me, the process for finishing a work of art is the same as for finding a piece of evidence in the framework of a scientific theory.

Neocha: 艺术与神经科学之间有什么相似之处?

Zhu: 已经有很多人问过我这个问题,即使是回答自己,我也不确定可不可以给出一个满意的答复!不过我可以试一下。艺术和科学都属于为寻找美丽和复杂性之间的平衡而作出的一种抽象性探索。自画像与神经科学都属于为寻找一种超越自己偏见、核心的自我身份认知而作出的一种抽象性探索。

我崇拜复杂性。以前我没搞清楚原来自己一直想研究的复杂系统就是大脑。我以前(现在也仍然)很喜欢M. C. Escher的版画,Edward Gorey以及最近很喜欢的池田学(Manabu Ikeda)他们那些极其细腻的钢笔画。从生态学到乐谱,任何事物间复杂的相互作用对我来说都充满魅力。


Neocha: Expanding on that, are there any other similarities between the creative process for art versus science?

Zhu: I think the creative process is crucial for good science. You can’t create good art or do good science by being dogmatic about it. Scientific research is all about finding something new that’s never been known before. Art is about creating something that has not existed in the world before. Paradigm shifts occur in science as well as in art! New movements emerge when individuals dare to look at things in vastly different ways. The move from geocentrism to heliocentrism, from Lamarckian inheritance to Darwinian evolution (and now to a complex epigenetics that is beyond me), all happened because scientists dared to think differently!

Neocha: 进一步说,科学与艺术创作的过程之间有其它的相似之处吗?

Zhu: 艺术创作的过程对于进行科学研究也是关键。如果太过于教条主义,你不能创作出好的艺术,也不能进行很好的科学研究。科学研究就是要寻找人们未知的新事物。而艺术是要创造出世界上之前并不存在的事物。范式转变在科学和艺术上都会发生!当个体敢以截然不同的方式看待事情时,就会催生新的运动出现。从地心说到日心说的转变,从拉马克获得性遗传到达尔文的进化论(再到现在超越我理解的复杂的表观遗传学)的发展,都是因为有科学家敢于从不同角色思考而发生的!

Neocha: What does your personal creative process usually look like?

Zhu: The process of creating a portrait is very straightforward. I can pull up a piece of paper and simply start drawing. Sometimes I’ll draw myself without much thought. Those are usually sketches to be filed away. Other times a specific idea will come to mind, and I’ll act on it. I like to finish pieces in one long breath – I’ll think of something as I eat breakfast and by the time I go to sleep that night it’ll be finished. Of course, I usually don’t spend that whole stretch of time literally drawing. Almost every portrait involves a little bit of research about the historical period I’m assuming in my clothing or looser web browsing for inspiration and references.

I’m terrible about finishing something that I started on a different day. I guess it’s possibly because when I wake up the next morning I feel like a brand new self and the half-finished piece no longer has power as a part of me. I rarely sit and ponder or actively brainstorm for a portrait. The pieces fall together as I work.




Neocha: How does heritage influence your work?

Zhu: I try to learn as much as I can about something before I incorporate it as a facet of my portraits. This is especially important for Chinese history – if I don’t understand something sufficiently (it’s the science researcher’s mindset), I feel like a fraud, like I’m wearing a “Chinese Halloween costume.” Sometimes I feel very far removed from China and its peoples and their rich history. Creating these self-portraits is a way to look at myself and see who I may be inside or the ancestors I contain.

The color palettes that I use are definitely inspired by the colors of modern metropolitan China as well as the dynastic past. Sometimes I have misgivings about using chiyogami. I try to pick patterns that are in common with traditional Chinese textiles and not ones that are uniquely Japanese since that culture is not part of my heritage. I got the idea of dressing my self-portraits from my paternal grandmother. She used to cut out patterned paper to decorate or altogether recreate scenes from children’s books, creating beautiful, intricate collages. Right now, I use a similar technique to what she did with tracing paper. I draw myself, get a rough sense of which collage elements I will need to overlay, and then use tracing paper in order to get the outlines exactly right. Then I use that as a stencil to cut shapes out of patterned paper.

Neocha: 你自身的文化背景如何影响你的作品?

Zhu: 在我将某种元素融入我的肖像画时,我都会先尽可能多地去了解它。尤其是关于中国的历史,如果我不能充分地了解某种事物(这是一种科学研究者的心态),我会感觉自己像个骗子,仿佛我披了一件“中国的万圣节服装”。有时,我会觉得自己与中国、中国人和他们丰富的历史隔得非常遥远。而创作这些自画像就变成一种审视自己的方式,让我去了解自己的内心,了解我所来自的文化。


Neocha: How have art and science changed your perception of self and identity?

Zhu: We are so, so biased in our conception of our brains because our thoughts can never escape them. Oftentimes, we fall into the trap of “this is so obvious,” when actually our firsthand experience is quite wrong. For example, our visual perception of the world is just a useful approximation of what is truly there. The perception of color – a biological representation of the electromagnetic spectrum across animal species – is the most fascinating thing to me (not to mention the phenomenon of consciousness, a taboo topic for most neuroscientists still). Working past, and sometimes outright rejecting the ideas that we hold based on our own brainy experiences is central to the practice of good neuroscience.

Self-portraiture is the exact same. We as individuals don’t, in fact, have an accurate idea of what we look like, much less of who we truly are. Someone once told me that, while I was pretty accurate at drawing other people, my own portraits were lacking. This was perhaps a year ago. That’s the point at which I began to draw myself in earnest and to strive for self-understanding and representational accuracy. I try to portray different aspects of what I understand as my actual self in my self-portraits. More and more, these are buried aspects – split open my face and what would you find? An octopus – an organism that is remarkably intelligent yet with an altogether alien nervous system. Do they operate at similar levels of cognition as humans? What would that mean in practice? Put my past in front of me, dress me in Qing Dynasty robes, and what do we have? The truth or still a self-distortion? As a young Chinese American, when I assume the attire of Communist-era China, am I connecting to my parents’ generation, or am I romanticizing a past that I do not have any true ownership of? These are questions I can’t yet answer.

Neocha: 艺术和科学如何改变你对自我和身份的看法?

Zhu: 我们大脑里的观念充满了偏见,因为我们的思想离不开大脑。很多时候我们掉进一些所谓“显而易见”的陷阱,但实际上,我们的亲身经验却是错的。例如,我们对世界的视觉感知只不过是真实世界的近似值。对色彩的感知——电磁频谱在动物物种间的生物表述——是对我来说最有趣的事情(更不用提“意识”这个在大多数神经科学家中仍然是禁忌话题的现象)。要进行有效的神经科学实践,我们要抛开,甚至直接否定这种我们根据自己自以为是的经验所得出的想法。


Website: yqzhu.com
Instagram: @yq_z


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao

网站: yqzhu.com
Instagram: @yq_z


供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

✧*。(Single KTV)✧*

“Hi~~I’m*٩(Guo Pinjun*aka*٩(Σ>-(Pin Jun★Future))♡→*aka*。Pin Pin Future*。” – this is Taiwanese artist Guo Pinjun’s self-introduction. Through her preferred mediums of installation art, video, photos, and performing arts, Guo transforms Asian pop culture into a visual language of her very own. Her style is self-described as a blend of “infinite narcissism and an obsessive, cult-like sense of self-adoration.”

~我是*٩郭品君*)و*aka*٩(Σ>-(品君★未來)♡→)و*aka*٩( ピンピン未來)و*这是一段来自台湾艺术家郭品君的自我介绍。装置、视觉、行为艺术是她创作的主要形式。她将大众流行文化做为视觉语言,呈现“无敌自恋自溺自爱的邪教教主风格 ”来自品君自己的描述)。

✧*。(Single KTV)✧* is Guo’s recent art piece, combining installation art with performing art. “People don’t need a reason to go sing karaoke in Taiwan. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a good mood or a bad mood. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer or a bad singer. You can just go out and sing,” she says. “One night, I went to sing with my friends, and I sang a bunch of sad, lovesick songs in a row, such as SHE’s ‘Not Yet Lovers’ and Twins’ ‘Jian Xi Ai Shen.’ I was getting really into it and dancing around when I noticed one of my friends was staring at me in a pitiful way. She asked me, ‘Pinjun, are you desperate to meet a boyfriend?’ It was then that this idea came to me. Does singing love songs, after seven years of being single, look really sad in front of people? Does being single mean I can’t sing love songs?” For this art piece, she set up a unique KTV booth in a public space, inviting strangers to join her or watch her sing karaoke. By doing this, Guo hopes to initiate a conversation on the subject of loneliness with her audience and explore how society views “single” people.

*(单身KTV)*》是郭品君最近创作的装置行为艺术作品。关于如何萌生创作这件作品的想法,品君这样告诉我们:在台湾去唱卡拉ok是不需要理由的,不管你心情好或心情不好、唱的好或不好,只要找到机会就可以开唱,有一次和朋友约唱歌,我一连唱了好几首恋爱情歌,例如SHE的《恋人未满》、Twins的《见习爱神》等等,当我唱的超投入跳超嗨的时候转头看到我朋友竟然用一个很悲悯的眼神看着我,然后问我说,品君,你是不是很想要交男朋友阿?,这时我脑中闪过的是,难道单身已经7年的我唱起情歌来的样子在别人眼中原来是很可悲的?难道单身就不能唱情歌吗?” 因此,她创作了这件装置作品,在公众地方建立了这个粉色主题的开放式KTV包厢,邀请陌生人和她一起唱K。品君希望通过与观众的互动和交流,测试大众对于单身这个身分的反应。

Taiwanese pop culture at the turn of the millennium is one of the most prevalent influences in Guo’s art. In the early 2000s, as Guo sought to figure out her own identity as a teenager, a Japanese craze was sweeping through Taiwan, introducing things like Ganguro fashion, old school Decora style, anime, and sticker photo booths. “The interesting thing is that I absorbed these elements of Japanese pop culture after Taiwan had localized it,” she says. “So in a way, my work is a fusion of Taiwanese and Japanese styles.”

千禧时期的台湾流行文化对品君创作影像风格带来很深的影响。2000年开始,她渐渐进入脱离爸妈全权掌握,有点想要自己决定喜欢什么、爱追随流行的青少年时期,而当时台湾正在风靡一股非常强烈的哈日风潮。109辣妹、old school Decora视觉系、动漫、拍贴机等等的这些日本流行文化,影响着她的成长。有趣的点在于,我所吸收的都是台湾‘在地化’过后的日本流行文化,因此从我的影像中可以看到的是一种台日混血的风格呈现。

Aside from her own artworks, Guo was eager to share with us a list of some of her favorite modern creatives, including Japan’s Magma, Taiwanese designer JennyFax, British filmmaker Nadia Lee Cohen, Japan’s creative collective ChimPom, and French conceptual artist Sophie Calle. “My favorite art is art that’s very decorative, with aesthetics that people might consider kitsch. I also enjoy the inclusion of some dark humor, a little playfulness, and a bit of craziness. My own work is also moving in this direction.”

品君还和我们分享了一些她最近注目的艺术家,有日本的Magma,台湾的旅日设计师JennyFax,英国的Nadia Lee Cohen,日本的艺术家团体ChimPom 和观念艺术家Sophie Calle。“我喜欢非常装饰性、媚俗、黑色幽默、有趣、带点疯狂行为的作品,我自己的作品也是朝这样的方向前进的。

Flickr: ~/pin_chun7


Contributor: Ye Zi
Images Courtesy of pin_chun7



供稿人: Ye Zi
图片由 pin_chun7提供

The Collage Art of He Chong

Collage art has been a long-established form of art, a versatile medium that’s unrestrained by conventional artistic expression and also can be used as a way of documenting time, history, and change. Beijing-based artist He Chong is one of the few Chinese artists who work primarily in this medium. But aside from his collage art, He Chong is also an avid photographer whose weapons of choice are Lomography cameras. In a way, his style in both mediums is quite similar, psychedelic and surreal but presented in a unique retro aesthetic.


When talking about the current state of collage art in China, He Chong tells us: “Most of the collage works that people know of are made by foreign artists. In China, there are only a few artists that work in this medium, and most of them are art students who might learn about or use collage for a class assignment. But I feel that in both the fields of art and design, collage is a medium that has impressive visual potential, so I think it has a bright future.”


A self-described reclusive artist, He Chong spends his free time with his wife creating collages, taking photographs, or walking in the park, finding happiness in living a laid-back lifestyle. He Chong’s work is much like his attitude towards life, relaxed and unconstrained. The creative freedom of collage art seems to perfectly go hand in hand with the mellow, carefree attitude that He Chong has lived by.




Contributor: Sonic Yuan



供稿人: Sonic Yuan

Vans Custom Culture Asia

Vans has brought the Custom Culture Competition to Asia for the first time ever this year. With a well-established reputation for individualism and self-expression, the Vans brand spirit is perfectly embodied through this competition. Working with the goal of rallying Asia’s creative community and providing a new platform to help showcase the region’s burgeoning creators, the contest invites everyone to flaunt their creativity for a chance to see their design make its way onto a pair of these iconic canvas shoes.

今年,Vans 首次将 Custom Culture 鞋履设计比赛带到亚洲。这一比赛充分体现了Vans 一向推崇个性化和自我表现的品牌精神,致力凝聚亚洲创意社区,为新兴艺术家提供一个新的创意平台。比赛邀请一众亚洲艺术家,尽情发挥他们的设计创意, 获奖者的设计将会被用于设计该品牌的全新帆布鞋产品。

For the competition, Vans has invited various respected artists from around Asia as both mentors and judges. Mentors will help the selected finalists to flesh out and complete their final design. These mentors include Chinese visual artist Lin Wenxin, South Korean illustrator Original Punk, Hong Kong-based woodworking atelier Start from Zero, Singapore-based husband-and-wife creative duo Sabotage, self-taught Malaysian street artist Fritilldea, and India-based street artist duo Varsha Nair. Judges include renowned San Francisco-based illustrator Jay Howell, Nini Sum of the Shanghai-based artist duo IdleBeats, plus many more.

在今年比赛中, Vans邀请了亚洲各地备受推崇的艺术家作为导师和评委。导师将帮助决赛选手改善其设计作品。这些导师包括来自重庆的视觉艺术家林文心, 韩国插画家Original Punk, 香港木艺画室Start from Zero, 新加坡夫妻组合艺术家Sabotage, 自学成才的马来西亚街头艺术家Fritilldea和印度街头艺术家组合Varsha Nair。评委则包括来自旧金山的著名插画家Jay Howell,来自上海 IdleBeatsNini Sum等等。

Now, the six talented finalists from China, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and India have all finished their designs alongside their respective mentors. The final round will decide who will win a trip to House of Vans London and have their creation debuted in stores Asia-wide next year! See the final entries below and vote for your favorites by clicking here.

现在,六位来自中国、韩国、香港、马来西亚、新加坡和印度才华横溢的设计师分别在各自导师的帮助下完成了最后的鞋履设计。最后一轮比赛的结果将会决定谁最终能赢得前往参加House of Vans伦敦站的机会,获胜的设计还将在明年亮相亚洲地区的Vans门店公开发售!下面是所有最终入围的决赛作品,来看看哪一款是你的最爱,点击此处,为它投上一票。

Felix / China

“The initial idea of this design is to make it appealing to a large audience while also bringing the Vans spirit alive. The reason I used this color combination is because I wanted to design a pair of summer shoes. It’s mainly green, dotted by red, with a little watermelon feeling.”

Felix / 中国


Kim Young Hyun / Korea 

“My design is inspired by comics. It’s a bit different from what people see in popular comics. This idea I came up with can be easily executed on a pair of Authentic shoes. I wanted to make a scary character in a witty situation, in order to maximize the humorous atmosphere.”

Kim Young Hyun / 韩国


Taka / Hong Kong 

“First things first, it’s got to be something I would wear. I like to wear simple colored shoes for ease of outfit matching. I wanted to create something for everyday use, yet as an artist, it has to be a recognizable shoe that was designed by me.”

Taka / 香港 


Khiddir Baharudin / Malaysia

“My design was inspired by how Vans has influenced the people in different parts of Asia. The design portrays different cultures in Asia, with people from Malaysia, Singapore, China, India, and Korea,  focusing on traditional outfits, transportation, and architectures from the ’60s and ’70s.”

 Khiddir Baharudin / 马来西亚


Edmund Seah / Singapore

“As an artist, I paint on various platforms, bringing the style and flow of the Japanese craft onto different media apart from the skin. I do not merely want to create a pretty image without flow and form.”

Edmund Seah / 新加坡


Anaghaa Chakrapani / India

“My inspiration for the shoe comes from the local essence of places I’ve traveled. I’ve traveled to many major cities in Asia. The elements in my shoe are inspired by the things I’ve observed and loved in the Asian region and my motherland India.”

Anaghaa Chakrapani / 印度


Website: houseofvansasia.com


Contributor: David Yen
Images Courtesy of Vans

网站: houseofvansasia.com


供稿人: David Yen

Juli Baker & Summer

Image Courtesy of The Jam Factory

The first time I saw Phaan’s artwork was on accident. I was scrolling through Instagram when her bright and colorful images caught my attention. I felt like I had discovered some kind of modern embodiment of French painter Henry Matisse, reincarnated in the hot and bustling streets of Bangkok, but with a dash of femininity and Southeast Asian flavor.

第一次看到Phaan的作品是无意间在Instagram上“滑”到的, 她的作品色彩缤纷亮眼,会让人有一种Henry Matisse 活在2017年并穿梭在曼谷热闹街区作画的一种南洋感受,当然还多了一点少女情怀,实在令人难以错过这个曼谷插画艺术家的作品。

Phaan (whose real name is Chanaradee Chatrakul Na Ayudhya) is a 23-year-old artist who graduated from Bangkok’s Chulalongkun University. Despite having graduated with a major in fashion design, she realized that fashion design wasn’t as she imagined when she first began attending school: designing clothing involves much more than simply conceptualizing designs and fashion sketches. It also entails pattern making, deciding on materials, brand marketing, and sales operations. In the wake of these realizations, doubts toward her pursuit of becoming a fashion designer had begun to fester. Phaan found that she only enjoyed the early stages of the design process, such as collecting image inspirations, forming creative concepts, and penciling drafts. In her sophomore year, she took the opportunity to partake in a student exchange program to the UK where she began taking illustration courses. This affirmed her interest for illustration, and Phaan began shifting her focus towards art, but she didn’t exactly intend on abandoning fashion design as she saw that fashion and illustration were closely linked with one another.

Phaan,本名Chanaradee Chatrakul Na Ayudhya,23岁,毕业于曼谷 的第一学府朱拉隆功大学,主修应用美术系的服装设计部门,对于服 装设计有着强烈的喜好。在校阶段,她发现服装设计不仅仅是前端的设计发想,还有到材质选用、版型制作,甚至到后端的品牌行销及销售经营等,这样一连串的学问让她对服装设计的热诚感到有些怀疑, 开始发觉自己好像比较享受服装设计一开始的灵感搜集、创意发想及设计草图绘制部分。大二那年有机会到英国交换学习,在那边修习插画课程,才更加确定自己对于插画的热情,从那个时候她更着重在插画艺术方面的创作,但仍旧不完全脱离服装设计产业,对Phaan来说, 服装设计和她的艺术创作是息息相关的。

In college, Phaan already began paving the way for her future career in art, even though her work was inconsistent at the time. Depending on her mood, she switched from subject to subject on a whim. But in terms of technique, there was a sense of consistency that can be observed in her use of bold, contrasting colors and the fluidity of her lines. In junior year, she became a columnist for Thailand’s independent magazine Cheeze, where she contributed articles as a writer and illustrator. This was the first of many steps she took in becoming the successful artist that she is today. Phaan’s big break happened when she was commissioned to design the cover art for Stay at Home, an album by the Thailand-based Plastic Plastic, a highly popular local indie band. This opportunity helped her become a recognized name in the local creative community and has contributed massively to her fanbase on both Instagram and Facebook.

大学时期, Phaan就开始自己的创作生涯,作品的主题经常因为自己的心情转变,不变的是使用大胆的对比色、随性的线条,介于现实及插画间完成一幅又一幅多采多姿的佳作。大三那年,为泰国独立时尚杂志《Cheeze》撰写关于电影及服装的专栏,并为该专栏绘制插画 ,借此渐渐打开的人气。一直到被泰国著名的独立乐团Plastic Plastic邀约设计《Stay at Home》专辑封面后,Phaan立刻受到泰国年轻族群的瞩目,让她不管在Instagram和Facebook都拥有一票死忠追随者。

Recently, Phaan invited me to visit her studio space on the outskirts of Bangkok. The vibrant studio was quite revealing of Phaan’s child-like sense of wonder and playfulness. Inside, an entire wall is used as a mood board, covered with an assortment of visual inspirations: Polaroid snaps of daily life, rough sketches, cut-out pages of magazines, and various movie posters are all pinned up in disarray. The rest of the studio is populated with vintage furniture, toys, and various patterned textiles. The entire feel of the space, which is actually located in Phaan and her parents’ house, was warm and joyful, a feeling native to her own artistic style. Phaan shares with us that she’s always had a close relationship with her family and this has been an integral part of her creative development. Growing up, she often enjoyed watching all kinds of movies and would watch foreign films with her father. To her, a movie is like a journey. Each scene and narrative helps her to understand, or at least fantasize about, the different cultural stories and backgrounds depicted in the films. With cinema at the root of her creative interests, she felt it the name Juli Baker and Summer to be perfect for her art and crafts label. In Rob Reiner’s comedy film Flipped, the main character, Juli Baker, shared a relationship with her dad that reminded Phaan of her own relationship with her parents. As for the word “summer,” Phaan tacked that on as she felt like bright and summery vibes characterized her own art perfectly.

来到Phaan在曼谷郊区的工作室就像来到一个大孩子的房间, 处处充满童趣。一整面墙宛如她的mood board,上面贴着日常生活照片、草图、杂志内页、电影海报等,工作室内摆着复古家具、玩具、充气沙发和各种花样的布料,完全和她的个性及作品相吻合,是那么地温暖、欢乐。事实上,Phaan的工作室就在她的住处内,和父母关系极为融洽的她仍 和家人同住,对她来说和家人相处的和乐感也是自己创作的来源之一 。受到爸爸的影响,从小就喜欢观赏各种电影,经常和父亲一起欣赏各国电影,对她来说看电影就像是旅游,由电影的场景与剧情,Phaan 可以了解或是幻想不同的文化背景及故事。电影启发了她的创作,她 的网站名为Juli Baker and Summer,就是源自于Rob Reiner所执导的青少年浪漫喜剧片《怦然心動》(Flipped)。片中女主角的名字就是Juli Baker,电影里Juli Baker和她爸爸的相处模式让Phaan联想到自己和父亲的亲子关系,至于为什么后面还会加上Summer则是反映她的作品随时让人感受到阳光正面的夏日清凉感。

“In October, I plan on releasing an illustrated travel book,” Phaan shares of her plans for the remainder of the year, speaking with the same sense of optimism and excitement that’s found in her art. “As for the rest of the time, if I’m free, I’d like to travel. I want to refuel myself with a trip and find more inspiration so I can draw more for the people who like my work. For me, art is both cathartic and a medium for self-expression. I hope that my art can bring people happiness.”

问到这个年轻艺术家的下一步是什么?她笑说,”十月预计出旅游游记绘本, 接下来剩余的时间就看看自己有没有机会到处旅游了。希望可以到国外充电一下,带回更棒的题材呈现给喜欢我的观众。艺术对我来说就是展现自己最佳的方式也是一种心理治疗,我希望藉由我的作品人们可以放松而有开心快乐的感觉。”这位随时充满笑容的艺术家, Phaan,如同她的画作一样,总是让人心情愉悦、充满活力。

Image Courtesy of The Jam Factory

Website: julibakerandsummer.wordpress.com
Facebook: ~/julibakerandsummer
Instagram: @julibakerandsummer


Contributor & Photographer: Etty Liu
Additional Images Courtesy of Juli Baker & Summer and The Jam Factory

网站: julibakerandsummer.wordpress.com
脸书: ~/julibakerandsummer
Instagram: @julibakerandsummer


供稿人与摄影师: Etty Liu
附加图片由Juli Baker & Summer与The Jam Factory提供

Strawberries Will Save the World



Japanese director Yoko Okumura’s Strawberries Will Save the World is a short and whimsical documentary that takes viewers into the life of Yuko Okumura, an avid strawberry enthusiast and the director’s own mother. Yoko’s main instruction to her production team was to make the film “Make it cute. Make it really really cute! ” Strawberry mugs, strawberry socks, strawberry glasses, strawberry spatula, and even a strawberry-related chatroom – Yuko’s life and home is filled to the brim with anything and everything strawberry related. In Japanese, the word for strawberry is ichigo, which can be dissected into ichi (meaning one) and go (meaning five). As a result, the number 15 is considered to be related to the fruit. And whether it’s checking the time or driving around, Yuko feels like the number 15 shows up everywhere she goes even though she’s not looking for it. This became affirmation that, all along, it wasn’t her searching for strawberries – strawberries are naturally drawn to her.

居住在美国的日本影片制作人 Yoko Okumura拍摄了一部记录短片,讲述了一个草莓疯狂痴恋者的故事,而影片的主人公 ——Yuko Okumura,正是她的妈妈。短片以一种轻松可爱的手法讲述了Yuko女士对草莓的痴狂。拍摄的时候,导演Yoko Okumura给团队的要求就是:“拍得可爱一些,拍的非常非常可爱。” 草莓杯、草莓袜、草莓眼镜和草莓锅铲甚至是草莓聊天室,Yuko女士家中塞满了和草莓相关的一切,或者说,她的生命也是和草莓紧紧关联在一起的。在日语中,草莓的发音与数字“15”的发音一致, Yuko女士说每当她拿起手机或开车的时候,总能自然地看到”15“这个数字,仿佛不是她在找草莓,而是草莓进入了她的生活。

The internet has allowed Yuko to connect with other like-minded strawberry lovers and share her impressive collection with them. She’s now a member of a Japanese association of strawberry enthusiasts and is even brainstorming on how to shoot an entire movie about strawberries. As this simple fruit has brought so much joy to her own life, Yuko feels compelled to spread this same happiness to more people around the world. Watch the documentary above to see how Yuko plans to channel more positivity into the world with the power of strawberries.


Website: yokofilm.com
Vimeo: ~/yokookumura


Contributor: Ye Zi



供稿人: Ye Zi

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

The Line Between Fashion & Art

Every year, London’s Central Saint Martin hosts the BA Fashion Show, featuring collections from the year’s graduating designers. This year, Chinese designer Xiaoming Shan received special mention at the end of the show for creativity, making it the first time that a designer, aside from the winners, was given recognition in the speaker’s notes. Looking beyond Shan’s bold use of colors and shapes, deeper themes are present in his work, often based on his observations of modern times. “Everyday, you encounter different people, things, and events,” he says. “Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, they become catalysts for inspiration.” For Shan, finding creativity from his life experiences seems to come quite naturally.

Xiaoming Shan毕业于世界最负盛名的的时装设计学院之一的英国中央圣马丁艺术设计学院,今年,他的设计获得了年度毕业秀的特别创意提名。回看他的作品,引人瞩目的不仅仅是他对颜色和图案的大胆运用,背后的设计理念也远超越了这些强烈的视觉元素。他在不同时期的作品也往往带着当下的影子,叙述着当下发生的事。“每天接触到的不同的人,物,事,都会成为日后创作的良药,即使你不会特别留意他们。”在他眼里,一切积累与输出发生得如此自然。

Discussing some of the biggest changes he’s undergone since attending CSM, Shan shares: “I suppose it’s the way I view clothing. I feel like I’m slowly breaking away from this preconceived notion of what clothing can or can’t be, and it’s allowed me the freedom to pursue what feels right to me.” His eccentric and colorful designs are a clear departure from conventional fashion – it’s a visual representation of his understanding of pop culture, style, himself and his relationships. When viewing Shan’s work, perhaps we can temporarily set aside the idea of how certain things “should” be done and learn from how Shan creates what he wants to create.

谈及自己求学期间最大的改变,Xiaoming Shan表示:“看待服装的态度吧,感觉自己慢慢从“服装”这个字眼中走了出来,可以更自由的做你认为对的事情。”他的作品也的确有别于我们一贯理解的服装概念,它们戏剧性的呈现了他对当下流行文化的思考,关于我们对自己风格的取舍,关于本我与他我。也许我们也可以暂时抛下我们认为“应该做”的成见,看看Xiaoming Shan呈现的他“想要做”的。

Weibo: ~/XIAOMINGSHAN_official


供稿人: Shou Xing
Images Courtesy of Xiaoming Shan

微博: ~/XIAOMINGSHAN_official
Instagram: @xiaomingshan_official


供稿人: Shou Xing
图片由Xiaoming Shan提供

Liuba Draws

Based in Beijing, Russian illustrator Liuba Vladimirova draws romantic, idyllic images of the Chinese capital. Originally, Vladimirova moved to China to study Chinese and completed her master’s degree in the city of Shenyang. After graduating, without any jobs lined up, she made the move to Beijing. Looking back, she says, “It was a bold decision. But I guess I was so young, so I didn’t really think about it.” For five years, she worked a full-time job unrelated to art. During this time, her interest in illustration continued to grow, and so, to satisfy her creative needs, she began exploring the many nooks and crannies of Beijing with a notepad in hand.

俄罗斯插画家Liuba Vladimirova目前在北京生活,她以这座中国首都城市为灵感,绘画了一幅幅浪漫和诗意的城市画像。Vladimirova最初来中国是为了学习汉语,在沈阳修读完硕士学位后,在没有任何工作邀请的情况下,她还是毅然去了北京。回忆起当时,她说:“那真是非常大胆的决定。可能自己当时还是太年轻了,也没有想这么多。” 五年来,她做着一份与艺术无关的全职工作。期间,她对插图的兴趣越来越强烈。为了满足自己的创作欲望,她拿起一个本子,开始去探索北京的各个角落。

As Vladimirova continued to spend hours on her art each and every day, she began receiving more and more positive feedback. After much perseverance and hard-work, she eventually became a full-time freelance illustrator and now even runs her own company. Today, her time is split between completing commissioned work, conducting art workshops, and of course, drawing for her own pleasure. But as a self-taught artist, Vladimirova admits that she often still feels lacking in confidence. Regardless, she feels that any anybody who learns a skill by themselves is committing to an admirable endeavor. She says, “They consciously made the choice. They taught themselves. They invested their time to being something purely because they wanted it.” As time went on, her style continued to mature. Now, she’s honed in on an aesthetic that’s uniquely hers, one that’s been sharpened and evolved through countless hours of practice. In her artistic journey, the only thing that’s stayed consistent since the beginning is the preference of using watercolor.


In terms of technique, Vladimirova is inspired by artists like Carson Ellis, Lizzy Stewart, and Yelena Bryksynkova. Outside of these big-name artists, she speaks fondly of conversing with other like-minded professional illustrators in her early days as a working artist. “These were people similar to me,” she recalls with excitement. “They thought in similar categories as me! They saw the world through the same artistic lens and appreciate colors and shapes from the aesthetic point of view.”

在创作技巧方面,Vladimirova的灵感主要来自于Carson Ellis,Lizzy Stewart和Yelena Bryksynkova这些知名艺术家。除此之外,还有她早期与其他志同道合的专业插画师之间的交流。她说:“他们都是和我一样的人,我们有相似的想法,会用相同的艺术角度看世界,从审美的角度来欣赏颜色和形状!”

For subjects matters, much of Vladimirova’s inspirations come from the city of Beijing, or more specifically, the hutongs of the city. In her works, she beautifully depicts the day-to-day life and persevering traditions of the ancient city. She describes the attraction to these scenes as a fascination with the “romantic side of a simpler life.” Today, as the city continues to grow, many of the places that she’s drawn in the past or planned to draw in the future have completely changed or altogether disappeared. However, Vladimirova remains optimistic, excited by the dynamic nature of China. With a smile, she proclaims, “You never know what is going to happen next!”


Instagram: @liubadraws


Contributor: Anastassia Ilina

Instagram: @liubadraws


供稿人: Anastassia Ilina