Tag Archives: artist

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

Inkee Wang’s Strange, Quirky World

A master’s graduate from the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Inkee Wang is a Shanghai-based illustrator with a lovable and colorful style. Her quirky sense of humor shines through in her characters and their strange, elongated limbs. In recent years alone, she’s collaborated with notable publications and brands such as Bloomberg, Art Bazaar, and ONE.

从伦敦皇家艺术学院硕士毕业的Inkee Wang(王颖琦)目前居住于上海。她的插画风格很受欢迎,活泼欢乐的主题、长手长脚的画中人,怎么看都有一种奇妙的幽默感。近年来,她与Bloomberg、Art Bazaar、“一个”及其他各大商业或文艺媒体都有过合作。

With regard to her unique style, Inkee tells us that it developed almost accidentally. “My older works were more rigid because I was just learning how to use the Path tool in After Effects and creating twisting motions was the best way to express this tool’s features so I created a dancing black cat. The long limbs came about because I thought they were aesthetically pleasing.” Inkee has always enjoyed sharing the untold stories of different individuals. While the characters in her works are not necessarily direct portrayals of people in real life, they’re nevertheless subtly inspired by the mannerisms and personality traits of the people that surround her.

对于这样的诙谐画风,Inkee表示它来自偶然,“我之前的画比较僵直,因为那时候我刚学会在 After Effect 里面用 Path 做动画,扭动比较能体现这个工具的特征,所以就创作了一只舞动的黑猫。而长手长脚是因为我觉得相对有美感。” Inkee一直想要展现人物背后的小故事,画中的人们在现实生活中虽然没有一对一的参照,但其性格特征、说话方式,都会受到长期生活的身边人所影响,所以也都会在她的画中潜移默化地展露出个性。

For Inkee, inspiration comes mostly from people and plants. Even in a piece that was clearly themed around music, Inkee is able to find a way to incorporate her favorite subject matter. “I wanted to use the boiling of of my four favorite vegetables to depict the rhythmic qualities of music – together, they become a healthy and tasty quartet.” (QUARTET was featured in the Soft Candy manga series published by ONE)


From attending school to working full-time, Inkee has persevered with her illustrations. “The most simple reason is that I like it,” she says. Inkee describes herself as “still having a lot of questions about the world” and plans to improve on her visual storytelling, learn more about 3D art, and create more works by hand. But for now, Inkee says that her most important task at hand is to read more books so that she can satisfy her sense of curiosity.


Website: cargocollective.com/inkeewang
: ~/InkeeWang


Contributor: Chen Yuan

网站: cargocollective.com/inkeewang
: ~/InkeeWang


供稿人: Chen Yuan

Femininity, Vectorized

Yuschav Arly is a graphic designer and digital illustrator from Bali, Indonesia. After half a decade in the graphic design world, he now primarily focuses on digital illustration. His stunning, vector portraits of women are minimalistic and clean, yet elegant and full of restrained emotion.

Yuschav Arly是来自印度尼西亚巴厘岛的平面设计师和数码插画家。他曾在平面设计行业工作5年,现在主要专注于插画创作。他所创作的女性矢量肖像画令人赞叹,风格简约利落又优雅,更蕴含着饱满的情绪。

Arly’s creative process is simple – it involves a lot of procrastination along with some coffee and music in a comfortable place. “Daydreaming is always my first step,” he says. “It’s basically making a finished artwork but just in my head. Once I get a full picture, I grab my pen and do a rough sketch in my notebook, but with a little description just so I don’t forget about the initial idea. And after that, it’s just long, fun hours with a pen tool and eraser.”


Drawing from diverse sources such as illustration, photography, modeling, architecture, and design, Arly’s images make use of clean shapes and lines to frame his subjects and their surroundings. With elegant women, symmetrical compositions, and muted tones being the common denominators throughout his work, Arly humbly describes his creative process as simply piecing all of these different elements together. “It’s all connected somehow in a mysterious way when I start to visualize an image,” he says. “It’s like playing a game of Connect the Dots.”


Instagram: @yuschav
Behance: ~/yuschav


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao



供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

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

The Major Arcana

The Empress (III)

Tang Xiao Ming is a Malaysian illustrator with a passion for editorial illustrations and visual storytelling. His illustration series, The Major Arcana, is an editorial approach to the twenty-two card tarot suit. Often used for divination and occult purposes, the Major Arcana has been understood as an archetypal system for psychological and spiritual advancement and has been reinterpreted by numerous artists since its invention in the 15th century.

马来西亚插画家Tang Xiao Ming热爱刊物插画和视觉叙事创作。他的插画系列《Major Arcana》(大秘仪)就是以塔罗牌中的22张主牌Major arcana为灵感创作的刊物插画。Major Arcana 通常用于占卜和其它神秘的用途,一直以来,它被人们视为是一个有关心理和精神层面发展的原型系统,自15世纪问世以来,已经被无数艺术家重新诠释过。

The Hanged Man (XII)
The Hierophant (V)
The Sun (XIX)
The Magician (I)

Tang’s interpretation of the Major Arcana series was a stepping stone for his personal style, which brought about its own challenges and rewards. He tells us about the creative process behind the series: “As an artist, sometimes you’ll run into a brick wall creatively, but it’s only temporary and it has the potential to change your life. It’s only from being stuck that you will start to think differently, and your creative process is forced to change. Because of this, it will unlock further possibilities in life and work.”

Tang以自己个人风格来演绎《Major Arcana》,当中也带来了相应的挑战和收获。他跟我们分享了这一系列创作过程的故事:“作为一名艺术家,有时候你会碰到创意方面的瓶颈,但它只是暂时性的,并且有可能会改变你的生活。只有当你感觉遇上了瓶颈,你才会开始有不同的想法,从而迫使你改变自己的创作思路。正因为如此,它会为你的生活和工作带来更多的可能性。”

Temperance (XIV)
Strength (VIII)
The Emperor (IV)
Judgment (XX)

Growing up in Malaysia, Tang was influenced by his society’s lack of awareness towards mental health. Instead of drawing influence from local Malaysian art and culture, he focuses on the psychological struggles of young people as a consistent theme in his work. Tang says, “In Malaysia and most of Asia, mental illnesses and psychological factors are not widely talked about – because of this, I think that many of my illustrations are themed around the mind and the emotions, because many of us do not know how to express ourselves or understand who we really are inside.”


The Chariot (VII)
Death (XIII)
The Star (XVII)
The High Priestess (II)

Some of Tang’s early influences include notable comic artists Olivier Coipel and Stuart Immonen, as well as graphic novels like Watchmen. Currently, he identifies his primary influence as visual artist James Jean: “Jean’s paintings deal with the unknown – they are very emotionally driven. They relate to me and inspire me to do what I’ve always loved to do, which is to create. I hope that my creativity will, in turn, inspire others and allow them to understand the way that I feel.”

Tang的早期影响还包括著名漫画家 Olivier Coipe和Stuart Immonen,以及《守望者》等漫画。目前,他说自己最主要的影响是视觉艺术家James Jean :“Jean的画作都是有关未知的主题,蕴含着饱满的情感,让我很受触动,也激励着我去做自己一直喜欢做的事情,那就是创作。通过我自己的创意,我希望可以反过来激励他人,让他们明白我的感受。”

Justice (XI)
The Devil (XV)
The Fool (0)
The Lovers (VI)
The Moon (XVIII)
The Hermit (IX)

Instagram: @imtxm


Contributor: George Zhi Zhao

Instagram: @imtxm


供稿人: George Zhi Zhao

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

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

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

Endangered Species

Manila-based creative director Patrick Cabral began his Delicate Papercuts series in 2016. His desire was to explore and develop new techniques in the age-old art of paper cutting. Working with layers of vellum board and watercolor paper, Cabral creates stunningly intricate artworks that range from stunning portraits to intricate typography.

2016年,马尼拉创意总监Patrick Cabral开始创作名为《Delicate Papercuts系列的精致剪纸。他的愿望是从古老的剪纸艺术中探索和研究出新的创作技艺。Cabral通过薄纸板和水彩纸的层叠,创造出肖像或艺术字体剪纸等令人惊艳的精致艺术品。

In 2017, Cabral launched a special series in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature and Acts of Kindness, extending his original project to include some of the faces of the world’s most endangered animals. Many of the animals in his Endangered Species series are native to Asia, including tigers, pangolins, elephants, dholes, tamaraws, rhinoceroses, snow leopards, and pandas. Upon completing the series, Cabral happily remarked that the star of his final portrait, the panda, was no longer listed as an endangered species as of 2017. Scroll down and see the complete project below.

2017年,Cabral 携手世界自然基金会Acts of Kindness机构,为世界上最濒危的稀有动物创作了一系列头部剪纸作品。这个名为《Endangered Species》(濒危动物)系列中的许多动物都来自亚洲,包括老虎、穿山甲、大象、亚洲豺犬,塔摩洛水牛、犀牛、雪豹和熊猫。完成这个系列的创作之后,Cabral高兴地表示,他最后创作的大熊猫在 2017 年已经不再是濒危物种。下面一起来欣赏Cabral完整的动物剪纸系列吧。



供稿人: Whitney Ng



供稿人: Whitney Ng