Meet the Flabjacks

January 15, 2016 2016年1月15日

Ton Mak is an illustrator based between Hong Kong and Shanghai. She originally graduated from University College London, majoring in Anthropology. Ton never actually studied art, she just has always loved to doodle. When she was a kid, she says, “I had major anxieties dealing with school stuff I sucked at. The school back in Hong Kong was super strict and it was a lot of ‘watch, copy, repeat’ in everyday teaching.” For Ton, this kind of learning environment was pretty intimidating. Her mother wanted her to learn in a much more relaxed environment, so they all later moved to New Zealand. Ton says, “I would just doodle and experiment with artsy fartsy stuff all the time. My family was all about finding passion through exposure, and I feel like this has helped pave the way to what I am doing today.”

Ton Mak是常居香港和上海两地的插画师。她毕业于伦敦大学学院,主修人类学。Ton从没真正学习过艺术,她只是喜爱涂涂画画。还是个孩子的时候,她说,“我对学校里自己不在行的东西焦虑无比。香港的学校十分严格,教学中有很多‘观察,复制,重复’的东西。”对于Ton来说,这种学习环境令人胆怯。她的母亲想让她在一个更轻松的环境里学习,所以随后他们全家移居到新西兰。Ton说: “我总是信手涂鸦,对那些艺术兮兮的东西进行试验。我的家人最在意的就是在过程中寻找热情,我觉得这一点为我今天所做的开辟了最初的道路。”

In her artwork, themes and expressions often just occur intuitively. Ton Mak enjoys giving everyday mundane objects a new kind of spirit or emotion. “Whether it’s a meatball or a spud,” she explains, “giving these seemingly soulless objects some human-like qualities silently puts into perspective the emotional connection that we may have with these little things.” Her creative process is actually quite fluid and meditative, and it shows in the style of her work. It’s not about representing what is “right”, but more about being able to tell a story freely. In our interview with Ton below, we talk to her about Flabjacks and what inspires her.

在她的作品中,主题和表现总是直觉性的。Ton Mak乐于给日常事务添加一种新的神情。“不论它是个肉球还是土豆,”她解释道,“给这些看似没有灵魂的物体加上人类般的气质,就悄无声息地多了一种我们和这些小东西之间的情感连接。”她的创意过程事实上相当的流畅的和令人沉思,并且这点在她作品的风格里一览无余。它不关乎展现什么是“对的”,而是更多关乎自由地讲述一个故事。在以下的访谈中,我们和她将谈到Flabjacks,以及启发她创作的事物。


Neocha: Who are the Flabjacks?

Ton: Flabjacks is a friendly collective of chubby creatures. They tend to have fat lips, an occasional mole, and some kind of “flab”. They all live in an imaginary wonderland that is full of good vibes. It’s free entry. Anyone can be a “Flabjack”.

Neocha: Flabjacks是谁?

Ton: Flabjacks是一个胖乎乎创造物的友好群体。他们通常有着厚嘴唇,在某个地方有颗痣,总似软趴趴的。他们都住在一个有着正能量的想象世界中。谁都可以是一个 “Flabjack”。


Neocha: What inspires you to draw Flabjacks and other “friendly creatures”?

Ton: My anthropology backbone has a lot to do with my obsession in observing people and objects. If you have a funky haircut, I could be drawing you right now. The creatures may be chubby and imaginary, but they definitely have a sense of agency. I love it when people point at a fatty and go “That’s me!”. It completes the doodle tale a little more. Even if you take away all information on the artwork, you may find relevance in it. I want people to participate in this mystical world, create their own narrative, to find a common connection.

Neocha: 是什么启发你画Flabjacks以及其他的“友好创造物”呢?

Ton: 我的人类学支柱和我对观察人与事物的着迷有着很大关系。如果你有一头很时髦的头发,我现在可能就在画你。创造出来的形象可能会是胖乎乎的想象物,但是他们绝对有一种独立意识。我喜爱当人们指着一个小胖子说:“那就是我”。它让涂鸦故事更完整了一点。哪怕你拿掉作品上的所有信息,你也可能在其中发现与之的关联。我想要人们参与到这个神秘的世界中来,创造他们自己的故事,去找到一个共同的连接。


Neocha: Why are you especially drawn to elephant seals, fat, moles, and root vegetables?

Ton: My favourite animals since childhood are elephant seals and kunekune pigs. Root vegetables have this stubborn shape to them and I love how each and every one look awesomely awkward. And as for moles, you can’t escape moles. They are a living reality. They have character. All these have uniquely fantastic curves and features that inspire the creation of Flabjacks. At the end of the day, some doodles are unintentionally autobiographical.


Neocha: 你为什么特别被大象、海豹、肥胖、痣和根用蔬菜所吸引?

Ton: 我自童年起最喜欢的动物就是大象和酷你酷你猪。根用蔬菜有着这么一种固执的外形,我爱的就是它们每一个看着都尴尬得棒极了。至于痣,你逃不掉痣的。它们是活生生的现实,它们都有个性。所有这些东西都有着独一无二的曲线和特征,正是这些曲线和特征启发了Flabjacks的创作。归根结底,有些涂鸦是种无意识的自画像。


Neocha: Who are some of your favourite artists who have inspired you?

Ton: David Choe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and David Shrigley. All of their works are marked by liberating, informal, somewhat obsessive strokes. They taught me back in school that it’s totally okay to not draft everything till the cows come home.


Neocha: 启发了你的艺术家中,有哪些是你最喜欢的?

Ton: David Choe、Jean-Michel Basquiat和David Shrigley。所有他们的作品都印记着解脱的、轻松的,甚至有些执着的笔触。求学时期他们教会了我不用花费太多时间在画打稿上。


Neocha: Tell us about some of your side projects. What are some future projects that you have planned?

Ton: I am working on giving Flabjacks a more tangible presence. Something that you can poke. This includes new soft toys and some installation art projects for real estate spaces that are under development right now. In the more immediate future, I am also working on a new series of greeting cards, a tote bag and some tee shirts. In the immediate, immediate future, I am going to take a nap.

Neocha: 说说你的一些编外项目吧。在未来你都计划了哪些项目呢?

Ton: 我目前正在给Flabjacks塑造一个更实体的形象,你可以用手指头戳的东西。这包括了新的软体玩具,和为目前正在开发的地产空间所设的一些装置艺术项目。在更近一点的计划里,我要做一系列的问候卡片、一个手提袋和一些T-恤设计。在更更近一点的将来里,我要打个盹。
Instagram: @theflabjacks
Facebook: ~/flabjacksart
Weibo: ~/flabjacks


Contributor & Photographer: Leon Yan

Instagram: @theflabjacks
脸书: ~/flabjacksart
微博: ~/flabjacks


供稿人与摄影师: Leon Yan