Sunday, June 11, 2017

Interview with Clara Carija from Victoria's Kingdom

With a unique design aesthetic inspired by Japanese lolita and all things gothic and vintage, Clara Carija's work stands out with it's antique  charm and dark glamour. Her indie jewellery label Victoria's Kingdom shows a passion for ornate details. More recently she has been working with designer Julianne Ting for her fashion line, set to launch later this year.

When and how did Victoria's Kingdom get started?
Vk started over coffee and cake with my friend Samantha, we enjoyed craft projects and making Lolita jewellery and a Lolita shop approached us and asked us to make items for them to sell. That was in 2010.

What kinds of things inspire your work?
I love everything about Lolita Fashion and the inspiration of the subcultures are Victorian and Rococo period clothing, often many things like clothing and jewellery styles from the periods 1500 through to the 1940s. I find a lot of the Belle Epoch and romantic eras heavily influence my work as a jeweller.

What kind of people buy your products/what kind of people do you envision buying your products?
I have regular customers that commission work for crystal therapy and I also have boutique customers that spend a lot each time I release a new collection. I make my jewellery to suit people like me who may have allergies to anything less than Silver and gold. And the same goes for my fashion brand, I want to cater to people my size. Make the best quality fashion from what I can source and make it in Australia. I make sure it's sustainable and ethically made and sourced.

Tell me a bit about the design and production process.
My first collection was inspired by a book and film, the jewellery was styled after the Victorian mourning era. The clothing after the dresses in the film. I make all the jewellery myself, Julianne designs the clothing. We select designs we would wear ourselves.

How do you manage your time?
I dedicate 2 days a week from 9am-5pm to vk work, other days I care for my two children. Currently everything is commission work and by appointment. But it isn't uncommon for me to work weekends at the studio if I get a lot of orders.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own brand/label?
Read up on as much as you can about tax, business plans, the creative part is easy. It's costly and time consuming if you don't take the time to educate yourself. Initiative is important to your success and happiness.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wilde Life webcomic review

It's been a while since I discovered a new webcomic that really took my interest, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard about Wilde Life through my friend's Tumblr.

The comic, written and illustrated by Pascalle Lepas, follows the story of protagonist, Oscar (yes, surnamed Wilde) as he moves from Chicago to Podunk, a quaint and sleepy little town in Oklahoma.

What comes next is a series of weird - sometimes good, sometimes terrifying, encounters with the unknown and supernatural - including wolves, ghosts and monsters - which are depicted in a fresh and engaging way.

What I really like about this comic is the seamless mix of warmth and familiarity, present in the characters' expressions and depictions of common everyday interactions, and the fantasy elements. Throw in a bit of humour and suspense, well fleshed-out characters and a great semi-realistic art style, and you've got yourself a story that leaves you eager to read more.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Interview with Hong Kong illustrator and street artist, Bao Ho

Hong Kong's street art scene has been slowly but surely blooming. Like the greenery in this city, bits of it have been gradually peeking out from behind the greyness of the sidewalks and skyscrapers, adding splashes of colour that brighten up this concrete jungle. With international street artists like French mosaic master Invader contributing their pieces to the walls of the SAR, and street art festivals such as HKWalls being held around town, the people's appetite for visual stimulation amid the concrete jungle has been whetted.

Bao Ho is one artist whose bright and cheerful work captured my attention. A recent contributor to the HKWalls event in Stanley, her art is filled with unusual and whimsical characters, with warm and quirky expressions that contrast their unusual and sometimes twisted designs.

I was lucky enough to speak to the humble artist about her work, which can be seen at H'and. If you're interested you can also donate to her Patreon, Simple Bao.

1. How long have you been actively involved in art?

I've liked drawing since I was little, but I did really get involved in art since 2013 when I travelled in Australia. So, 2 years?

2. Tell us about the evolution of your style and influences.

At the very beginning (when i was a kid) my style was so much influenced by Japanese Comics. Then I was in love with some children's book styles. I tried to mix both together but I found that is not enough of me. I'm quite greedy for art. I like different styles and I did try to do different styles. But still I hope people can recognize all those works are from me. After all I put everything together, mix different things and different style on one paper, or canvas or mural. It turns out like this.

3. You do both illustration and street art - tell me about how you first started getting involved in a) illustration and b) street art in Hong Kong.

I can't remember my first illustration in Hong Kong but the reason why I get involved in this, its because I lived on my art when I travelled in Australia. I was depressed by my job. I quit everything and I went to Australia with nothing but my dream. I wished I could live and travel with drawing and busking which I did.
The first street art in Hong Kong was a jamming work in Tuen Mun with some local artists. I met them in an event called Roofest.

4. Lastly, what are your thoughts on the art scene in Hong Kong and the difference between Hong Kong art scene and international scene?
Peoples' tempo are too fast in Hong Kong. Sometimes it is easy to catch their attention but it's easy to lose that as well. But art is something you need to spend more time and mind, gotta get inside deeply. Like our life. The biggest difference between Hong Kong and international is tempo, I think.

Bonus question: what did you think of Melbourne and how was your experience there?
I LOVE Melbourne.
I used to have an exhibition there. I busked quite often as buskers are welcomed there. You gotta know if you busk with drawing, most of the cities in Australia are not allowed to sell your artwork. You can only do some work which people can't take away, like chalk art. 
And Melbourne people LOVE art, lots of lovely and nice people around. And of course lots of art and many artists too.

Monday, August 4, 2014

POMCH- industrial-style bags and accessories

POMCH are a relatively new player on Hong Kong's independent fashion scene. Having recently opened up a shop in the trendy and newly refurbished Police Married Quarters (PMQ) in Sheung Wan, this new bags and accessories label is set to do great things.

The label's style is inspired by an 'industrial' theme, with the colour scheme being largely in black, white, grey and metallics.

According to the label's designers Jeffrey and Felix, around 80% of the customers that come into their PMQ store are female, but the products are designed with a unisex audience in mind. The 'Saw' bag, priced at $488 USD is eye-catching, but personally I'm a bigger fan of this design which I think will go great with most things.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview with illustrator and digital artist, Viet-My Bui

Viet-My Bui, formerly known by her psuedonym Ravenskar on digital art platform DeviantArt, is a talented digital artist and illustrator residing in Melbourne. Her work has gained a lot of exposure through DA and her blog, Recently she has been involved in Fly the Colour Fantastica, an exciting new comic anthology funded through Kickstarter.

1. If you had to identify your number one artistic inspiration, what would you say it is?
 That is a difficult-ass question. Probably... being around people who are passionate about something and are striving towards it.

 2. Name your top three artistic achievements so far. 
Finally pursuing my dreams and starting art/design school is definitely the top artistic achievement thus far. As for the other two achievements... hmm, probably trying to paint for the first time last year. And also just drawing at all. Is that lame? That's an achievement for me, since I've had great difficulty with that for the past few years.

3. What is the best cure for art block?
Not letting it define you. It's okay if you don't have any ideas, or you don't feel like drawing. Take it easy on yourself and be encouraging. For some, continuing to produce artwork regardless is something that will eventually cure them of the art block. But I also think pouring energy into other positive parts of your life (family, friends, other hobbies, your own wellbeing, etc) will eventually lead you back to your own creativity.

 4. What projects are you currently working on and what future aspirations do you have for your art?
Right now, I'm just focused on getting through my first semester of uni. I want to do well because this means so much to me. Once I settle in, I plan to start posting on my blog again. I hope to get into freelancing again (properly, this time). But also, I am really looking forward to finally finding the time to start drawing personal pieces again. I feel a significant amount of personal and artistic growth will come from those personal projects.

 5. Is there a subject matter that you' would like to explore more that you haven't yet?. More personal and conceptual themes. I would like to learn how to unlock my thoughts and articulate them through art. Also! I want to learn how to paint! With real paint! I'm quite excited about that. Thanks for askin'!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interview with artist Christiana Aprozeanu


Christiana Aprozeanu is a Melbourne-based artist I have known since primary school. Working with traditional media, her work stands out for both its incredible detail and for the emotion and sensitivity it conveys to the viewer.
1. Tell us a little about your artistic background- how your style originated and evolved? This one’s still a mystery to me. I never ‘studied’ art; I like to think that art found me. And boy, it was a reunion of sorts! We perhaps first met many moons ago in the first grade. Our art teacher encouraged creativity to a level that I soon endorsed and escalated to overshadow other homework tasks such as mathematics or literature, much to my parents’ chagrin. So I filled my scrapbook full and beamed with all the A+ marks. Ironically, my mum and dad are both heavily artistically gifted but neither did anything about it. I remember sifting through old suitcases dad kept under his bed in our 7th storey ‘shoebox’ concrete apartment in Bucharest, Romania. A multitude of loose papers heavily painted with watercolour and acrylic paints depicting landscapes, dinosaurs, plethora of fauna and flora. These caught my attention on a weekly basis and my 5 year old self promised myself that I would one day be capable of same. My mum’s cacti landscapes and aquarium fish sketches drawn by her to adorn my dad’s Plant and Animal Collector’s monthly magazine, left me repeatedly mesmerized. We migrated to Australia when I was 9. I had a battle ahead of me to assimilate in new surroundings, learn a new language and more importantly, make friends. Breaking the stereotypical ‘spoilt only child syndrome’, I instead grew up with the ingrained outlook that art was not a livelihood; I was guided instead to excel academically. This resulted in an unhappy career; art subsequently lost out, and a little of my soul with it. It is only now that I am on the cusp of realising that I can no longer deny my true path in life. Despite the pressure to come out top of class, I spent (and spend!) every spare second looking at art, researching artists, buying art books, buying art, reading biographies, frequenting exhibitions and galleries, and sketching. I often say that I have both a 9 – 730 career, and a 12 – late calling. I keep occupied with commissions but of course the main satisfaction comes from following my own themes and exhibiting my artwork in galleries.

2. Your artwork is often quite emotive and evocative- what sort of events or inspirations influence your work from an emotional angle? I love realism and live in constant fear that it is becoming extinct especially in this technology-driven era. Realism is real, it is universal, it is aesthetically pleasing and is best for expressing emotion, truth and connecting with your audience. There is no sugar coating, nowhere to hide: it is raw and exposed. At first I wished to focus my artwork on getting the technique right as any beginner does. Being self-taught, this carries with it the respective self-doubts, and I often have to obtain clarification from independent members of society as to whether for example, the hair that I have drawn, actually resembles ‘hair’, and enquire as to whether viewed on its own and not positioned on top of a head, the viewer would form the same opinion (yes, qualms, got many!). Once I felt comfortable that my subject matter resembled its actual real-life counterpart and not just an incomprehensible blob, I ventured into integrating the concept of feeling in my works. Realism can have its drawbacks in being too photorealistic and commonplace. I wished to evolve my work to a greater level, so then appealed to emotion. It’s something that appeals to me in artworks.

Reboot, and hello

After a very long hiatus, I decided to give this little corner of the web a much-needed re-boot. I've been working as a sub-editor for a monthly art and lifestyle mag here in Hong Kong for about half a year now covering wine and mostly large-scale art exhibitions such as Art Basel, but neglected my writing outside of that- tried to write for other blogs, but flopped partly due to not making the time, partly due to motivation/anxiety/silliness- been a non-conducive headspace to anything productive or creative for a bit.

I did make a compilation/porfolio of my other online work though.

But now, no excuses! I've been wanting to showcase some exciting artists and inspirations both from Melbourne and HK here, and have some interviews with a few artists done up already.


A few things I like lately: Word Crimes by Weird Al

It's really fun- both for the lyrics (perfect for writers/editors and English teachers) and use of animation/typography.

Caring is Creepy by the Shins

 This song is a perfect mix of memorable lyrics and wistfulness. It seems to be about the nature of words and truthfulness? But I'm not 100% sure. It's also super catchy.

Fly the Colour Fantastica

 The Colour Fantastica is a project started by a few of the people I did Stage Fright with including Viet-My Bui - a charity art event I was involved with in 2012. It looks super awesome and I can't wait to see the end results.