Tag Archives: art

Climbing Higher with Bao

Street art in Hong Kong is still very young, and Bao is one its leading lights. Even though she’s only been painting for the past three years or so, she competes with the globe-trotting artists who headline festivals worldwide.

Her cartoon murals bubble and roll like waves, with characters spilling over one another in a constant rhythm. Inspired by Japanese manga comics at a young age, Bao could be found with a pencil in her hand for most of her life. But until recently, she was stuck behind a computer in an uncreative design job. “Our generation says, if you do art you can’t survive or make money. So they ask you to study design instead,” she explains. The artist eventually found herself bored with her job, so a couple of years ago she up and quit, deciding instead to travel overseas and try living off her art.

在香港,街头艺术还很年轻,而 Bao 正是其中一位领军人物。尽管 Bao 创作街头艺术只有三年左右,但她早已和全球各地参办艺术节的街头艺术家不相上下。

Bao 笔下活泼可爱的卡通墙绘,像波浪一样翻滚着,人和物以流动的方式漂浮着。从小深受日本漫画的启发,Bao 热衷画画,并且在生活中大部分的时间里,她都会手握一支铅笔。但其实直到不久前,她还在电脑后面做着一份毫无创造性的设计工作。“我们这一代人常说,如果你从事艺术行业,就不能生存或赚钱啦。所以很多人会让你改学设计。” 她解释说。最终,Bao 实在发现对自己的工作感到厌烦,所以几年前她放弃了,决定去国外旅行,尝试以艺术为生。

It turned out to be a good move. She discovered her talent for street art in Italy, thanks to some local artists, just as the scene started blossoming back home. Space Invader had visited, leaving behind his trademark pixelated characters, and when the government began removing them, it caused something of an outcry, bringing even more attention to the murals. This was also around the time when Hong Kong Walls, the city’s premiere street art festival, was launched.

Although things were off to a good start when she returned, it was still an uphill battle: “My first year back, I was trying to find walls to paint everywhere. Begging people. No one would give me walls!” Undaunted, Bao persisted, and these days clients come to her.

这个放弃的决定,结果证实下来还不错。她在意大利发现了自己在街头艺术方面的天赋,这多亏了一些当地艺术家。这边,得益于Space Invader 曾经来访,在意大利留下了他标志性的像素人物,但当政府开始逐步清除它们时,却引起了一片哗然,更大成都上引起了人们对街头墙画的关注。而与此同时,在她的家乡香港,正逢当地的街头艺术节——“香港墙涂鸦”(Hong Kong Walls)开始的时候,墙绘也开始新兴发展。

Bao 回港时,适逢香港墙上涂鸦不错的开始阶段,但这仍可说是一场艰难的战斗。“第一年,我一直在找墙,到处找,到处求人。但没人给我墙!” Bao 却不气馁,一直坚持,以至最近都有顾客找上门来。

While she paints mostly at home, she’s been attending more international festivals of late, recently landing a Simpsons-themed project in Bristol. Originally she wanted to paint her own mural, but they were out of wall space. When they returned with an offer to have her paint Bart and Homer characters, she jumped at the opportunity. She and two other artists painted the yellow cartoon murals, while the rest of the artists did separate projects. Her murals look a lot like the very early Simpsons characters, but that’s just a coincidence. “I don’t really watch the show, but I started to watch it when I got the mural and I quite like it,” she admits with a laugh. “The style isn’t a reference to any period, it looks like the old Simpsons, but it’s actually just my style.”

虽然 Bao 大部分时间是在家里作画,但她近期一直在参加更多的国际性活动,最近她获得了由布里斯托尔政府委托的一系列以《辛普森一家》人物为主题的作品。本来她只想自己选择主题来画墙绘,但因为种种空间限制,最终她负责了“辛普森一家项目”创作机会。当他们带着她画的 Bart 和 Homer 的人物回来时,她欣然抓住了这个机会。她和另外两位艺术家画了黄色的卡通涂鸦,而其余的艺术家则从事个人的不同工作。她的墙绘看起来很像早期辛普森笔下的人物,但那只是一个巧合。“我以前并不怎么看这个节目,但当我拿到画时我就开始看了,我还真的喜欢上它了。” 她笑着承认。“这画的风格并不像我任何时期的作品,它看起来像最初版的辛普森一家 (《辛普森一家》的第一季绘画风格和后续季有点不一样,人物形象更饱满可爱一些,但实际上这正是我的风格。”

The large-scale, full-color works represent a new stage for Bao. In the beginning, she’d do monotone pieces, sometimes just bold outlines on a blank surface. But as she’s gotten more comfortable with the medium, she’s started adding more and more elements. In Shanghai she recently did a five-story mural. Since she’s still rather new to things, she still uses paint brushes for outlines and only picks up spray cans to fill in larger pieces. Her background in design drudgery has come in handy too, helping her manage clients and organize work.

大规模且全彩的作品,代表了 Bao 一个新阶段的开启。一开始,她会做单调的作品,有时候只是在空白的表面上画一些粗体。但是,随着她对这种媒介越来越适应,Bao 开始添加越来越多的元素。她最近在上海了一面五层楼的墙。因为 Bao 对这样作画还比较陌生,她仍然用画笔画下轮廓,然后拿起喷壶来填充较大的部分。她原先在设计工作上的背景也派上用场,能够帮她管理客户和整理工作。

Street art has turned out to be a surprising source of income in a city with a notoriously high cost of living, allaying fears that art isn’t a viable career path. “There’s a living to be made now,” she says. But the public is still coming to terms with it. “I’ve only had good experiences, but I have friends who say people complain a lot. Some people hate it, they don’t care what you’re painting, they just don’t like it. Haters gonna hate.”

在一个以生活成本极高而出名的城市,街头艺术成了一个出人意料的收入来源,这减轻了人们对 “艺术不是一条可行的职业生涯” 的担忧。她说:“现在生计有了着落。” 但公众仍需要一个接受的过程。“我有些朋友告诉我说,对墙绘现在人们有很多抱怨。有些人讨厌墙绘,他们根本不在乎你在画什么,就是不喜欢它。愤世嫉俗的人看什么都不顺眼。” 

Website: simplebao.com


Contributor: Mike Steyels

网站: simplebao.com


供稿人: Mike Steyels

Water and Ink

For the artist known as Lost Mountain Man, just a few strokes is all it takes to evoke meandering brooks, learned scholars, or gatherings of old friends.

The artist’s light, elemental brushwork—the antithesis of overwrought illustration and design—combines traditional ink painting with modern sensibilities. Traditional Chinese ink paintings usually leave empty space on the scroll, and Lost Mountain Main, fascinated by eastern aesthetics, uses a understated, gentle, pleasantly flowing technique to add a touch of the mystical.



In most of his works, the artist conveys a certain feeling, one that arises from the dialogue between humans and nature and appears at both the individual and the monumental scale. Watercolor and ink compose and rearrange these subtle relationships, creating an intriguing effect. “Ink and watercolor both involve a play between pigment and water. With practice on the page, with long-term perseverance, you can achieve harmony, coordination, and control. All that remains is the emotion you want to give voice to.”

The landscapes in these works are a reflection of the artist’s own idiosyncrasies. “I’ve always felt I lived in a state of utter loneliness,” he says. “I often reflect on the impermanence of the world and the insignificance of human life. Time passes and stillness persists in the boundless universe above me. And in the contrast between the minuscule and the vast, I find an outlook that teaches humility, that teaches reverence.”



Instagram: @lostmountainman

Contributor: Chen Yuan

Instagram: @lostmountainman

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Pow Marin’s Floral Portraits

“Floral” might be the first word that pops into your mind when you see Manila-based artist Pow Marin’s work. Everyone’s face is a profusion of flowers and corals, arrayed so dramatically that they seem to be clamoring for your attention. Marin’s obsession with repeating patterns, along with a strong influence from Yayoi Kusama, one of his favorite artists, give his work a distinct and dazzling style.

眼花撩乱,也许是你看到 Pow Marin 作品心中浮现的第一个形容词,这些团簇的花和珊瑚绽放在每个人身上,戏剧性的程度就好像它们在放声地呼喊,以争夺你的目光。来自菲律宾马尼拉的年轻艺术家 Pow Marin,说自己是受到喜欢的艺术家草间弥生影响,再加上自己对重复图案的执着,最后总结出这样令人目眩神迷的画风。

The subjects of Marin’s paintings seem to be posing for a photograph, standing still and looking directly at the camera. His works give off a heady scent of nostalgia as if he were conjuring happy moments and preserving them in physical form on a canvas. “Sometimes I use my own family photos as reference,” he says. “Being around friends and other people is a huge comfort for me.” His paintings, like memories, pay tribute to significant people and happenings from the past.

除此之外,近似照片的构图,画面里的人看向镜头静止不动——你还可以从他的作品里品味出浓郁的怀旧情感。如同回忆被提领出来,帧在画布上,过往的美好时光就此留存在他下笔的那一刻。“我经常使用家庭合照作为参考,因为朋友和其他人的陪伴对我来说是很大的安慰。” 就像回忆录一样,他感性地用画把重要的人与事都纪念下来。



Contributor: Yang Yixuan

Instagram: @powmarin


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

A Diary in Comics

“I guess you could call my work a dumping ground of uncensored thoughts.”

For Ji Sub Jeong, aka Geesubay, a Korean-Canadian artist working in New York, art has been a passion since childhood. “I’ve been drawing obsessively as long as I can remember,” he says. “I’d doodle on anything I could get my hands on, from textbooks and magazines to the walls of my room (which my mom did not appreciate!). Drawing was something that I enjoyed tremendously, and I could never get enough of it.”

“我想你几乎可以把我的作品称为 ‘一团没有经过审查的思想垃圾堆’。”

韩裔加拿大籍插画家 Ji Sub Jeong aka Geesubay,目前在纽约发展艺术事业。他对于艺术的热爱从小就展露无遗,自从有记忆以来,画画就一直是他最着迷的事情。“我会在任何我碰得到的东西上乱画,从课本、杂志、到我房间的墙壁,虽然对此我妈妈很不高兴。我一直非常享受画画,我想我永远不会有觉得画够了的那一天。”

Window Thoughts /《窗边随想》
Everything Is A Blur /《世界是模糊的》
Naked And Shy /《裸体与害羞》
Not Fall Yet /《還沒掉下來》
Getting Over The Hurdle /《跨栏》

Jeong’s art is simple and free, full of a humor that brings a familiar smile your face. The mischievous, pudgy little boy in his drawings, out exploring the world, seems to be a creature of his imagination. As he plays and gets into trouble, he discovers life’s smaller joys. “I’ve never been one to keep a steady diary, but I’ve realized that I feel the most satisfied when I draw something I’ve had on my mind for a while,” he says. “So I guess my illustrations can be viewed as a visual diary that showcases my most private and honest feelings about the world.”

他的创作简单、自由、充满令人会心一笑的小幽默。一个拥有浑圆身躯的小男孩喜欢到处闯荡,也许这个顽皮的男孩就是 Ji Sub Jeong 想像的投射,他总在无趣的规则边缘探索,惹一点事,嬉闹之间发现生活微小却显而易见的乐趣。“我从来不是能每天按时写日记的人,但我发现如果可以用画的把想法记录下来,这让我感到好满足。所以我的作品也可以被看作我的图像日记,诚实地展现了我个人对世界的看法。”

Headspace /《头上空间》
Cig Thought /《烟与随想》
Don't Ground Me/《不要拉我》
Clapping My Own Hands /《和自己击掌》
Peace Sign /《和平标志》
Finger Print /《指纹》
Who Am I /《我是谁》



Contributor: Yang Yixuan

Instagram: @geesubay


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

Intimate Strangers


In the lens of Chinese American photographer Jesuuna, the air is always suffused with a heavy grief. She captures wounded people who are only a camera’s distance away and gently lays their wounds bare before our eyes.

在美籍华裔摄影师 Jesuuna 的镜头下,空气中总是弥漫一股挥之不去的忧伤。她捕捉到那些受伤的人,与我们隔着一台相机的距离,把伤口轻轻揭开在我们面前。

Doi Kim
Doi Kim
Doi and Head

Of all photography’s charms, the most enigmatic is how it binds together subject and the spectator—utter strangers in real life—in an intimate relationship through the photographer’s gaze.

In the series Ache,  we see that the model is not smiling and has dropped all masks and defenses. Her expression is by turns vacant and estranged. We’ve never met the grief-stricken girl in the photographs, but we can almost touch her pain; when the pictures were taken, she must have felt a deep mental anguish. Jesuuna says the model is a good friend of hers from college, someone who always encouraged her to take the leap and pursue her dreams. When she first moved to Seoul, she stayed with her friend, who was then in a state of deep malaise. “One morning I woke up, saw her curled up on a yoga mat, and was immediately struck by her beauty,” Jesuuna recalls. “I then asked if I could take photos of her, and she obliged. We shot them a few days later on a humid afternoon with no plan in mind.”


在《Ache》(《伤痛》) 系列里,我们看到模特儿脸上没有笑容,她脱下一切防备和掩饰,眼神时而空洞、时而疏离。我们不认识照片中这个悲伤的女孩,却仿佛能触碰到她的伤痛,在拍摄这组照片的同时,她饱受精神不适所苦。Jesuuna 说模特儿是她大学时期的好友,也是一直以来鼓励她去勇敢追求梦想的人。“我现在住在韩国,当我在首尔与她同住时,一次早晨醒来看见她蜷缩在瑜珈垫上,当下我觉得她好美。我问能不能拍下这样的她,她答应了。几天后在一个潮湿的下午,我们没有任何计划的拍了这组照片。”

From Ache / 《伤痛》
From Ache / 《伤痛》
From Ache / 《伤痛》
From Ache / 《伤痛》

“A week later, when I first viewed the scans from the negatives, I teared up immediately, because I could see the affection I felt for her and the heartache she had suffered through,” she says.


From Ache / 《伤痛》
From Ache / 《伤痛》
From Ache / 《伤痛》

At age eight, Jesuuna was diagnosed with a hearing problem, and since then she’s had to live with hearing aids. As a child she began to search for a different way to experience the world. One day she took her mother’s camera and discovered photography. “The camera became an extension of me,” she says. That’s how Jesuuna describes the medium’s meaning to her. It became a third sense, beyond sight and sound, and ever since that discovery she’s given herself body and soul to photography.

“Most of the time an image or feeling will be very strong and vivid in my mind until I create it. These ideas are uncontrollable, and only by manifesting them can I feel at peace, even if I’m not clear on what the meaning is,” she says. “I hope to create works that stand the test of time, and tell stories that are complex and evoke a myriad of emotions.”

Jesuuna 八岁时被诊断出听力有问题,从此需要戴着助听器生活。不能好好听见,她开始向外寻找另一种感受世界的方式。直到她从妈妈那里偷来一台相机,接触到摄影,Jesuuna 是这么形容摄影对她的意义:“相机就像是我身体的延伸。” 所见所闻之外,摄影成为她的第三个感官,从那时候开始她就全心将自己投入摄影。


Instagram: @jesuuna


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

网站: jesuuna.com
Instagram: @jesuuna


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

Self-Portraits in Clay

Masayo Keizuka, who lives in Sapporo, makes clay sculptures with an almost magical therapeutic effect: spend a while looking at them and you’ll come away with a deep sense of calm. These crafted figurines all have the same bobbed hair, the same long neck, the same sunken shoulders. Asked who the character is supposed to be, Keizuka readily replies, “It’s me.”

住在日本札幌的雕塑艺术家 経冢真代,她的雕塑作品有种神奇的疗愈作用,看着久一点,可以感受到一股深深的平静力量。这些被捏造出来的小生命看起来是同一个人,鲍伯短发、倾斜的肩膀、长长的脖子,问到她们的身份,经种真代毫不掩饰地回答 “她就是我。”

Keizuka says her earliest inspiration came from a pet dog who passed away ago. Later she moved on to human shapes, and eventually settled on this pensive, delicate little girl who, like an actor, is constantly trying on new costumes and stepping into new storylines. “I pour everything I’m feeling into her. She may not look like she has any emotions, but really I just hide them and try not to let them show,” she explains.


A rough surface gives the figures a worldly or even world-weary air. Keizuka specifically chose this natural, unpolished texture. “I tried out a lot of different materials, but in the end I went with clay. I really like how its grain gives the sculptures the sense of being fully alive,” she says.


Perched on each figure’s head is an object or animal that’s whimsical and impossible to ignore. Some of these are random or just for fun, while others are designed for a specific brand or exhibit. Keizuka describes these items as hats, a way of diverting the viewer’s attention. “When I shape these characters, it’s as though I’m putting myself on display in front of a crowd. Sometimes it makes me feel quite vulnerable,” she explains. “I add something to the figure’s head, as if they were wearing a hat. It draws the viewer’s attention away, so they’re not just looking at me at first glance. Maybe I’d rather not have people see through me.”


Website: www.masayokeizuka.com
Instagram: @keizuka masayo


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

网站: www.masayokeizuka.com
Instagram: @keizuka masayo


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

Faceless Portraits by Norris Yim

If everyone were a color, which one would you be? Hong Kong-based painter Norris Yim specializes in abstract portraits — unlike most portraits, his have no faces. Looks are not a person’s most important distinguishing feature in his art — which is perhaps to say, looks are not what’s important about a person. He likes to view people through color. “Every work uses different colors. Those abstract pigments represent my current feelings and mood. I use my own mood to get to know and define each person I paint. My mood forms the basis of the work. Even if I painted the same person a hundred times, I’d still get 100 different results.”

如果每个人都是一种颜色,你有想过自己是什么颜色?来自香港的抽象画家 Norris Yim 擅长人像画,但与一般作品不同,他画的人一律没有脸孔。在他的画里,长相不再是区分一个人的重点,或者说,长相根本不是一个人的重点。他喜欢以色彩去观看一个人,“每一幅作品用的颜色都不一样,那团抽象的颜料代表了我当下的感受和情绪,我用自己的心情去认识、和定义画笔下的每一个人,心情就是我的创作依据。 就算是同样的人我画一百次,也会有一百次不一样的结果。”

Painting, for Yim, is purely a means of self-presentation, a process of transforming his observation of others and internalizing it as creative inspiration. “I’m always painting for myself, and what I seek is my own spiritual satisfaction,” he says.“But this satisfaction is often tinged with loneliness.”

While Yim has always enjoyed flexing his creative muscles, he never realized how deep his love for art truly was until college. After this self-revelation, art became an essential part of his life. “In college, I found that painting was the one thing I could concentrate on, the one thing I always wanted to do. At first, I just wanted to take an extra arts course, but when I came into contact with painting, it was like finding my own long-lost soul,” he recalls.“Ever since then, in a very natural way, I feel I have to pick up a brush every day, even if it’s just to tweak a color. That’s how painting became fundamental for me.”

画画对 Norris Yim 而言,是纯粹用来阐述自我的工具,一个从观看他人、内化到创作灵感的转变过程。“我一直都是为了自己在画,求的是个人精神上的满足,心境上甚至是带点孤寂的那种。”从小在香港长大,Norris Yim 说自己一直都喜欢创作,尽管途中迂回了一些,最后依然幸运的走回纯艺术的道路上。 “大学时期发现,画画是唯一能让我专注下来,而且渴望一直去做的事。本来只是想多学一门手艺,一碰触到画笔,就像意外找回自己许久不见的灵魂。从那时候起,很自然地每天都要动动笔,仅管只是调个颜色也好。就这样画画成了我的基本。”

In his Portraits series, some of the subjects are based on real people while others are completely conjured up from the depths of his imagination. Who they are is unimportant, because they exist solely in Yim’s mind. Occasionally, he paints with a specific subject in mind, but even then he’ll often still title the work as Someone or Untitled. He does this to avoid any link to the outside world, and to make the painting solely a tool for recording his mood.

Among his early works are some portraits with distinguishable faces. He moved toward his current approach because he wanted his work to be unconstrained and offer more space for creative freedom. “Looking back at my past pieces, I always think they feel too much like portraits. Anyone can paint a likeness. While the human figure is there, the painter’s soul is missing. I don’t want to limit my own work to someone else’s standards. I’m often asking myself, is my imagination unlimited? This question is the basis of all my art. I want to seek more possibilities in painting and color, more possibilities in myself.”

在人像画《Portraits》系列里,人物有些是真实存在,有些是出自凭空幻想。至于他们是谁,也不太重要,因为这些人都只存在在 Norris Yim 的一刻想像里。即使有时候有明确画的对象,Norris Yim 还是会以《Someone》(《某人》)或《Untitled》(《无题》)来命名,为的是不让以外的事件碰触,让画纯粹作为一个记录自己心情的工具。


Behance: ~/norrisyim
Instagram: @norrisyimyn


Contributor: Yang Yixuan

Behance: ~/norrisyim
Instagram: @norrisyimyn


供稿人: Yang Yixuan

My Language Proficiency

Okui Lala, real name Chew Win Chen, is a fourth-generation Chinese Malaysian. Living in a country well known for its multicultural makeup, Chew is a multimedia artist who explores issues of language, migration, and identity through photography, video, and performance art. Today, we meet up with her in Penang’s Komtar Tower, a once iconic landmark in George Town that the state’s tourism board does not want to give up on despite dwindling public interest.

Okui Lala 原名 Chew Win Chen,是第四代的马来西亚华裔。 在这样一个以多元文化著称的国家里成长,Chew作为一名多媒体艺术家,喜欢通过摄影、影片和表演 艺术来探讨语言翻译、移民和身份认知等问题。今天,我们和 Chew 约好到槟城的光大大厦(Komtar)见面。这幢大厦曾经是槟城首府乔治市的标志性地标,尽管近年来这幢建筑对公众的吸引力已不断式微,但当地旅游局仍然不想放弃它。

Inside the shopping mall, 80s brutalist architecture adds to the grimness of the unoccupied storefronts. It’s here where many of the city’s migrant workers set up their grocery stores, restaurants, and hair salons. It’s also here where many of the city’s Filipino workers send parcels and remittance back home to the families they left behind. Young Burmese men gather in the poorly lit eateries sprinkled throughout the mall, chatting over cigarettes and tea on their only day off.

在这幢购物中心里,80 年代的野兽派建筑让空置的店面显得更加萧条。在这里,许多移民工人开起了杂货店、餐馆和美发沙龙。也正是在这里,许多菲律宾工人往他们家乡里的亲人寄送包裹和汇款。年轻的缅甸男人在他们唯一的休息日里,聚集在商场内各个灯光昏暗的就餐角落,一边抽烟、喝茶,一边闲聊。

In 2015, Chew started working with Burmese migrants on a piece called Let’s Drink and Eat Tea! One of the standout tutorials of the series was a live performance of making lahpet thoke, a simple Burmese appetizer. In the tutorial, Chew learned how to prepare the dish via translated instructions. The normally quick-to-prepare dish took thrice the time to cook as Burmese was translated into Malay, and then Malay translated into English. The video aims to demonstrate the possibilities and limitations of using translation as a tool for understanding.

2015年,Chew 开始以缅甸移民为对象,进行名为《Let’s Drink and Eat Tea!》的系列项目。其中她还试过现场制作茶叶沙拉(Lahpet Thoke)的表演。茶叶沙拉是一道制作简单的缅甸特色开胃菜,但 Chew 要通过翻译后的说明来学习如何准备这道菜。因为多了先将缅甸语翻译成马来语,再把马来语翻译成英语这个步骤,最后 Chew 完成这道原本很简单的菜式花费了比平时多三倍的时间,以此说明,翻译作为交流理解的工具的可能性和局限性。

Let’s Drink and Eat Tea! kickstarted Chew’s thought process on her latest project – My Language Proficiency, a short film in which she holds a panel discussion with herself in Malay, Mandarin, English, and Hokkien. Confronted with an art scene that’s often segregated by language barriers, Chew wanted to explore what intellectual discourse would sound like in a multicultural society if everyone could have a seat at the table and speak in the language that they are most comfortable with. The project also examines the deep influence that history, education policy, migration, and upbringing have on a person’s choice of language.

《Let’s Drink and Eat Tea!》这个项目启发 Chew 开始思考自己的最新作品《My Language Proficiency》(我的语言能力)。她分别拍摄下自己说着四种不同语言的四部短片,用马来语、普通话、英语和闽南语与自己进行一场小组讨论。面对一个经常被语言障碍所隔离的艺术场景,Chew 想探究在多元文化社会中,如果每个人都可以坐在一起,用他们最熟悉的语言来交流,这样的“知性对话会是怎么样的”。此外,这个项目还会探讨历史、教育政策、移民和家庭教育对一个人语言选择的深刻影响。

An excerpt from My Language Proficiency / 一段来自《My Language Proficiency》的影片



As we wander around Komtar, Chew notes how the two waves of Malaysia’s migrants intersect – the “official faces” of Malaysia’s multiculturalism (Malays, Chinese, Indians), and the second influx of foreign workers from Myanmar and the Philippines. “There is xenophobia among our rakyat,” Chew says, using the Malay word for citizens, a word that is usually associated with patriotism and unity on a national front.

In light of recent news of Malaysia’s racial segregation, the country was slapped with a temporary ban from the Indonesian government, stopping the intake of Indonesian workers as a reaction to cases of abuse and the death of an Indonesian maid. Penang itself, with its cosmopolitan past as a trading port, enforced a ban last year on foreign cooks in efforts to protect the authenticity of its famed hawker fares. But Penang’s food, a tourist draw on its own, is a byproduct of Chinese and Indian Muslim traders assimilating with the local culture. The irony was lost on a majority of Malaysians who voted in favor of the ban.

“We’re in George Town, and we have a lot of fixed ideas about what George Town’s heritage is,” says Chew, reflecting on the almost aggressive ownership Penang’s heritage center holds on what it deems as authentic. She says that the new wave of migrant workers is viewed by many locals as “the ‘others’ who will come and take over our jobs”.

“目前马来西亚人(rakyat)中存在一种仇外心理,” Chew 说道。“rakyat”一词是马来语中“公民”的意思,这个词往往还意味着爱国主义和团结。


Chew 说:“我们生活在乔治市,关于这座城市的文化遗产,我们有很多根深蒂固的想法。”她认为,乔治市作为槟城的文化中心,当地人对维持所谓地道文化的态度几乎可以说是“咄咄逼人”。她说,在许多当地人眼中,新的外来务工人员只是“一些来抢工作的外人”。

“We haven’t really overcome xenophobia on a social level. How are we going to handle these issues [related to migration policies]?” she questions when asked if she feels pressure to take a social justice angle to her work with migrant workers. Chew’s work urges one to turn inwards with self-reflection to better understand and receive others, to see that their cultural influences are equally important contributions to the make-up of a Malaysian identity.

“Myanmar migrants are new migrants but can the culture that they bring with them be considered heritage? I like this old and new contradiction,” she muses. The constant stream of languages that appear in Chew’s work, be it familiar or foreign, holds a lens to the complex identities of old and new migrants that have chosen Malaysia as home. And perhaps importantly, in an age of Brexit and Trump, Chew’s work implores for acceptance of self and of neighbor.

Chew 的作品试图从社会正义的角度出发,探讨移民工人的现状和问题。被问及 Chew 是否对此也会感到不少压力时,她说:“我们的社会还没有真正克服仇外心理的问题。我们到底应该要如何处理(与移民政策相关的) 问题呢?” Chew 的作品敦促人们自我反省,去更好地理解和接受所谓的“外人”,也去明白他们的文化影响对马来西亚人身份的有着同样重要的贡献。

“缅甸移民是新移民,但他们带来的文化是否可以被视为(本土)文化遗产?我喜欢这种新与旧的矛盾。”她沉思着说道。Chew 的作品中充斥着源源不断的语言元素,无论是当地人熟悉的母语或是外语,其实都为我们提供了一种视角,以探讨那些马来西亚新老移民复杂的身份问题。重要的是,在这个对移民不够友善的整体环境下,Chew 的作品更是在呼吁人们要去包容和接纳自身的移民文化,而非抵触。

Website: cargocollective.com/okuilala


Contributor & Photographer: Adeline Chua
Video Courtesy of Okui Lala

网站: cargocollective.com/okuilala


供稿人与摄影师: Adeline Chua
视频由 Okui Lala 提供

Deciphering the Human Experience

Born in Taipei and raised in Shanghai, Jocelyn Tsaih is an illustrator, animator, and designer currently based in New York City. Her artistic style is defined by a distinct, minimalist approach that’s complemented by her quirky sense of humor.

More often than not, Tsaih’s work features a mysterious, amorphous character that’s meant to embody the various facets of modern life. The character, initially based on a stick figure, evolved as a way for Tsaih to convey abstract concepts derived from her own experiences.

在台北出生,在上海长大的 Jocelyn Tsaih 目前长居在纽约,是一名插画家和设计师。她的作品风格简约,且充满着古怪的幽默感。

Jocelyn 的大部分作品里会出现一个神秘的、不定形的角色,意在表达现代生活的方方面面。而这个角色最初是她以火柴人为原型创作的,后来演变成她从自己的经历中传达抽象概念的一种方式。

“It sounds kind of cheesy, but I started drawing it as a way to express my internal conflicts and to represent anything human,” she shares. “As I explored different ways of conveying what I was feeling, I started to use the figure in ways that are more abstract. I think my thought process is that even though we are human, a lot of things about us are intangible, like emotions and feelings.”

“虽然听起来有点俗气,但我一开始画这个角色是为了抒发内心的冲突,表达关于人类的一切。” Jocelyn 说,“随着我尝试用不同的方式来传达自己的感受,我也开始用更抽象的方式来表现这个火柴人。我的想法是,作为人类,很多关于我们的事情都是无形的,譬如情感和感觉。”

Tsaih currently works at WeWork as a full-time graphic designer and illustrator. Outside of her full-time job, she’s equally busy with a constant juggling act between personal and freelance projects. She’s already accumulated an impressive list of clients including Adobe Photoshop, Condé Nast, Nickelodeon, Tictail, and GIPHY. But despite her professional accomplishments, there was a time when Tsaih felt uncertain about her future as an artist. As a teenager, many of her peers discouraged her desire to pursue a career in the arts. It was only after a period of self-doubt and confusion that she decided to trust her own judgment: “I believed that art was valuable, and I pushed myself because I didn’t want people’s skewed perceptions to be validated.”

Jocelyn 目前作为一名全职平面设计师和插画家任职于共享办公空间 WeWork。不上班的时候,她会去创作自己的个人项目和自由职业项目,她曾经合作过的客户里包括 Adobe Photoshop、康泰纳仕集团(Condé Nast)、美国儿童节目频道 Nickelodeon,以及 Tictail 和 GIPHY 网站。虽然如今在事业上获得成功,但曾经有一段时间,Jocelyn 也不确定自己是否真的能成为一名艺术家。十几岁的时候,她的许多同龄人都不鼓励她去追求艺术事业。在经过一段时间的自我怀疑和困惑之后,她才终于决定相信自己的判断:“我相信艺术是有价值的,我不断推动自己去努力,是因为我不希望证明人们扭曲的看法是对的。”

For Jocelyn, creativity comes from being open-minded; it comes from a willingness to dive head first into new experiences, whether it’s interacting with different people or being in an unfamiliar environment. She tells us, “A lot of my work represents my reaction to things, so the more experiences I have, the more ideas I’ll have to turn into drawings.” These days, she’s begun dabbling with ceramics and paintings – processes that, for her, require a lot more time and deeper reflection on the underlying concepts she intends to explore. Patience is a fundamental part of her creative process. “90% of the time is spent thinking an idea over and 10% of the time is spent making the actual work,” she explains, “The final result often looks simple, but it usually takes a long time for me to get to that point, although I know it doesn’t look like it.”

对于 Jocelyn 来说,创意来自于开放的心态和尝试新事物的经历,或是与不同的人互动,或是置身于异国的环境中。她告诉我们:“我的许多作品都表达了我对事物的反应,所以,我的经历越丰富,我才能有越来越多的想法来创作成画。”近来,她一直在涉猎陶瓷和绘画,对她来说,这些艺术创作过程需要花大量的时间对作品内在概念进行反思。Jocelyn 表示,耐心是她创作过程的关键。她解释说:“ 90% 的时间是花在思考上面的,只有 10% 的时间才是花在实际的创作中。最终的作品看起来很简单,但我其实需要很长的时间才能画出来,虽然我知道它看起来不像。”

After six years in New York City, Tsaih is now planning a move to San Francisco in the coming year. She sees this as an opportunity to explore a new environment and experience a change of pace. She shares with us, “Having come from Shanghai to New York, I feel like I’ve only known how to live in very stimulating, fast-paced environments. It might be a little challenging to shift to a slower pace of life, and I might end up hating it, but I hope some good things will come out of the experience either way!”

在纽约生活了六年后,Jocelyn 计划在新的一年搬到旧金山,体验新的环境,转换一下生活节奏。她说:“从上海来到纽约,我觉得自己好像只在紧张刺激、快节奏的环境里生活过。要转变到一种较慢的生活节奏,可能会有点挑战性,甚至我可能最终会讨厌这种生活。但我希望不管怎样,都能在这次经历中取得一些好的收获。”

Customs pins and a tote bag by Jocelyn Tsaih are now available in limited supply on the Neocha Shop. Click into our Shopify below for product details.

Jocelyn Tsaih 限量特供版胸针和帆布袋,现在上线 Neocha 商店,点进微店即可查看商品详情。


Jocelyn Tsaih “Into Yourself” 胸针




Jocelyn Tsaih “Shapes” 帆布袋



Instagram: @jocelyntsaih


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao
Photographer: Nick Korompilas

Instagram: @jocelyntsaih


供稿人: George Zhi Zhao
摄影师: Nick Korompilas

Bendang Studio

At the edge of the quiet, unassuming village of Kampung Sungai Petai, a half-hour drive out of the rich historic hub of Malacca, lies Bendang Studio, a contemporary ceramics workshop that is making waves in the industry. Having started from humble beginnings, its founder Rozana Musa has developed her own brand and a style of tableware ceramics that’s now highly sought after in Malaysia. Not complacent in entrepreneurial success alone, Musa aspires to mold and fire the Malaysian ceramics scene into a new era.

双溪大年(Sungai Petani)是距离马来西亚历史文化中心马六甲一个半小时车程的村庄,在这个平静的村郊地区,就坐落着Bendang工作室——这就是在业界掀起了不小波澜的当代陶艺工作室。工作室创始人Rozana Musa从零开始,成立了自己的陶瓷餐具品牌,形成自己的独特风格,塑造且推动了马来西亚的陶瓷产业进入一个全新的时代。

Musa’s initial encounter with ceramics came early in her childhood when she unwittingly stumbled upon the core ingredient of ceramics – clay. As a child, she often played with the carmine, clay-rich mud on the riverbank, behind her grandmother’s Malaccan home, sculpting skyscrapers and drawing shapes in the sand and silt. Little did she know, this childhood pastime of hers would translate to a deep-seated love for ceramics in her adulthood. Now, rather than building transient sculptures in the sand, she creates intricate ceramics with a touch of modern flair.


At Musa’s studio, each piece starts off as a specially tailored clay mixture, containing a blend of silica, feldspar, kaolinite and a slew of other minerals. Then, depending on the particular piece, the clay will either be cast in a mold, shaped by hand on a pottery wheel, or cast and then finished off by hand. The product from the shaping process is then left to dry for several hours before being baked in a kiln at 840°C for six hours through a process known as biscuit firing. The brittle “biscuits” are then cooled for a day before being colored with a glaze through a subsequent firing process at 1100°C for eight hours. All the recipes for the glaze are developed by Musa and her team, using metal oxides such as cobalt, copper, sodium, and calcium as dyes. Though each piece is somewhat planned, Musa admits she and her team often improvise on the fly, especially when they’re struck by moments of artistic inspiration.

在Rozana的工作室,每一件作品都是用专门定制的粘土混合物制成的,需要通过复杂的配方,将硅土、长石、高岭土和其它矿物混合而成。然后,根据不同的创作理念,将这些粘土或盖上模具定型,或在轮盘上进行手工拉坯,或先用模具定型,再手工处理完成。定型之后,这些陶坯需要先被放置风干,再放到一个840℃的陶瓷窑里焙烧6 个小时,这个工序被称为“素烧”(biscuit firing)。素烧好后的坯体需要冷却一天,然后施釉,再经历一次烧制工序,这一次需要在1100℃下焙烧8小时。所有釉彩的配方都是Rozana和她的团队亲自研究出来的,采用的是钴、铜、钠和钙等金属氧化物作为染料。虽然每件陶瓷作品都是按照预定设计制作的,但当灵感突然闪现的时候,Rozana说她和团队也经常会即兴发挥。

This free, unshackled approach can be seen throughout her studio – a splash of cobalt blue on an ivory plate, a shimmering gold brushstroke on the lip of a teacup, an embossed batik print on a china tray. Even her studio itself exudes this sense of unbridled freedom; The airy, glass-fronted facade, the high ceilings and brick walls painted in hues of white, the plates and bowls haphazardly stacked on low tables, all the while her cats sashay around the displays, jumping from table to table, weaving in between the dishware, while her apprentices, Nisa and Aliah, work with quiet focus and intent at their pottery wheels.

Browsing through her wares, one gets the sense no two pieces of Musa’s ceramics are the same. Each of her creations has its own beauty, its own flaws, and its own identity. At first glance, they all seem too beautiful to use, but their beauty belies a utilitarian sturdiness. Perhaps this combination of beauty and utility is the driving factor behind the surge of demand for her line of ceramics, so much so that she’s now often booked up months in advance with order requests from renowned restaurants throughout Malaysia, and even some from Paris and Japan!



Despite Musas’ current success, her road to where she is was wrought with challenges. Like most young Malaysians, pursuing such an unconventional career wasn’t really on the cards in her young adulthood. But then, through perhaps a stroke of serendipity, she enrolled in the art and design program at the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), choosing to major in ceramics. When she graduated, however, Musa found it difficult to advance her skills or come across opportunities for work, largely due to the immaturity of the Malaysian ceramics industry. Finding a mentor was difficult, demand for handcrafted ceramics was slow, and the equipment and barriers to entry were high (a ceramics kiln alone can cost upwards of 3,000 USD). According to Musa, of the dozen or so students who graduated along with her at UiTM, only one or two still remain in the craft. Fortunately for her though, she eventually found a mentor in Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail, an established Malaysian ceramics artist whose works have been featured in exhibitions in Japan, Korea, and Pakistan.

尽管Rozana目前很成功,但一路走来,她也经历了很多的艰难挑战。和大多数年轻的马来西亚人一样,要追求这样非传统的职业,在她年轻的时候都会觉得是很不现实的事情。后来也许是机缘巧合,她入读了马拉工业大学(Universiti Teknologi MARA)的艺术与设计课程,选择主修陶艺。但是毕业后,Rozana发现很难能找到提升的机会,主要是因为马来西亚的陶瓷产业尚不成熟。要找到导师很困难,社会对手工制作的陶瓷需求很少,进入这个行业还需要一定的设备,也有很高的壁垒(一个陶瓷窑炉价格至少3000美元)。Rozana说,从马拉工业大学毕业的十几名陶艺专业学生,只有一两个还留在这个行业。她很幸运,因为她最终找到Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail作为自己的导师。Umibaizurah Mahir Ismail是马来西亚著名的陶瓷艺术家,她的作品曾在日本、韩国和巴基斯坦展览。

After just several months of apprenticeship, Musa was inspired to start her own business, and thus Bendang Studio was conceived. She started off small, selling trinkets and accessories to a very niche market. Not long after, she wanted to expand her business, but being bootstrapped, buying an industrial ceramics kiln was out of the picture. Undeterred and being the self-starter that she is, Roza enlisted the help of her ex-lecturer at UiTM to build a fiberglass kiln from scratch. This move not only saved money, but her design was so innovative it won them an award that came with more than 4,000 USD in prize money from the government. And for the past seven years, Rozana has continually reinvested her profits, along with the winnings, back into her studio, buying a new kiln, and more recently, refurbishing the whole space. Rozana’s dedication and innovativeness have turned Bedang Studio what it is today – an impressive studio that’s leading the way for Malaysian ceramics.


Musa’s studio sits right by the through road between Malacca City and Kampung Sungai Petai, two vastly different places, one being a bustling, cultural city, and the other, a secluded, relatively unknown village. The location is perhaps fitting, as Musa’s brand of handcrafted ceramics has connected two similar yet separate worlds – the commercial, utilitarian mass-market ceramics industry, and the niche artistic, dreamy space of ceramic artists. Over the past years, Bendang Studio has brought glimpses of that artistic world to the mass market, with restauranteurs clamoring over her wares before they are even made. Perhaps it is a sign of changing times, of a greater artistic appreciation for ceramics, of the fledgling state of the handcrafted ceramics scene in Malaysia maturing into something significant. Musa certainly hopes so, and if her recent growth is anything to go by, there will certainly be more cobalt splashes and golden brushstrokes to come.


KM 20, Kampung Sungai Petai
78000 Alor Gajah
Malacca, Malaysia

Website: www.bendangstudio.com.my
Facebook: ~/bendangstudio
Instagram: @bendangstudio_official


Contributor & Photographer: Yi Jun Loh

78000 亞羅牙也
KM 20, 双溪大年市

网站: www.bendangstudio.com.my
脸书: ~/bendangstudio
Instagram: @bendangstudio_official


供稿人与摄影师: Yi Jun Loh