Well there’s plenty of vinyl toys, and customs, there’s even a movie made about them, so here’s a nice change, towards customising other items. Klomp!...
If you’ve been to Hong Kong, you’ve probably seen their graffiti, their characters. Witty, humorous, dark, thoughtful and always questioning our sensibilities; We welcome back Tat and Vi from Graphic Airlines (G.A.L.) who contributed to the TC Xmas project last year. We have managed to drag them away briefly from their busy schedules to answer a few questions for us. Please board the Graphic Airlines, and I hope you enjoy the journey into their minds.
Roger, roger, Graphic Airlines clear for landing, over!!! Welcome to Thunder Chunky International airport, how are you today?
Tat: So glad to land on Thunder Chunky International airport.
It is our pleasure to have you here. So you guys are pretty famous in the Hong Kong Street and graphics scene, but for those that aren’t familiar with you, please tell us a bit about your backgrounds?
Tat: I am totally from Hong Kong. As a Designer, illustrator and street artist,
I started the Graphic Airlines from a web site since 2002. I was looking for a space to express my own design and drawing apart from my boring office design work. I obsessed in drawing ugly characters and tee print designs.
Vi: Then I started to do some doodles and clay dolls by Tat influenced, so I joined GAL from 2004. From 2005, we started to stick some hand drawn stickers on the street. Then we found their new creative life on the street. The fat face with big chests is her icon character. Those fat and big chest characters represent the metropolitan’s excess material life and distending desires.
Ah, so how did you meet each other? Was it initially from through the website?
Vi: We meet each other from my 1st job in Sing Tao Daily as a web designer after I graduated. We become good friends because we both are comics and toy lovers. At that time Tat was obsessed in doing graphic design and web design, learning new techniques and cool styles. So he start a web site called “Graphicairlines”. I started to read more design and illustration books, so I started my creations and uploaded to the GAL web too. That’s why we became a group.
OK, now that everyone is better acquainted, how was 2007?
Tat: 2007 was a very exciting year for me, we contributed in many different projects, met many new people. We are very happy that more friends and people are supporting us.
Vi: From the past year we have two solo exhibitions and we started to produce our own design and hand-made products like tee, badge, cushion, and tote bags. The feedback is good so we will continue to make new things this year.
What are the best and worst things about working with each other?
Tat: The best thing of working with each other is we can always share any ideas and then we can discuss a lot and turn them in to some workable things
Vi: We have a similar sense in art; we appreciate each other work a lot. From now I can say there is nothing bad to work with each other.
There is the bunny characters from Tat, and the big cheeks characters from Vi, what is the story behind these, what do they represent?
Tat: I love to draw some ugly bunny and people characters because sometimes I feel myself like a little animal running in a cage. We have something that wants to control us, like advertisements, media and government. I am drawing to release my feelings.
Vi: My characters usually have white or grey faces with fat cheeks. They are not beautiful, they are fat and a little feeling sad. They don’t have much emotional expression. I am drawing some creatures that are animals, human beings, monsters or freaks. They represent some people in our civilized world, including me. We have everything they want, we ate too much, we owned too much in the material world. But we are not happy. They are boring and unfeeling to everything happening around us.
Right, I know that Tat is the influence of Vi, but who has influenced you Tat? And is there anyone you would really love to work with in the future?
Tat: I influenced her to have the passion to create. In graphic design, I was influenced by Buro Destruct at the beginning. Later by the comics “Death & Candy” by Max Andersson.
G.A.L. has been established since 2002, creating and designing a crazy amount of work. What has been the greatest and the absolute worst project G.A.L. have worked on so far?
Tat: My favorite project is our published book called “Trash Talk” in 2006. That’s so important to us. It collected our artwork from the earlier days and it’s started to draw more people’s attention after the book released. And I don’t like working with some brands, which don’t know what style we use to draw and just ask you to draw in any kind of style.
Vi: My greatest work so far was the “Not in X’mas Mood” exhibition I held last year because this is my 1st solo exhibition and I don’t like those seasonal promotional projects for shopping malls.
Not in X’mas Mood
Ok, if you were to describe each other, but using animals, what animal do you think the other is?
Tat: I can say Vi is a horse because she is so productive, she never hesitates with her thought. Besides she was born in the year of the horse and she is a Sagittarius.
Vi: I think he is a bunny (look like the one he draw), because he is nice, kind and sensitive. Sometimes smart, sometimes naive. Also he was born in the year of rabbit.
Taking about animals, I know there’s another member of G.A.L. Iggy the French bulldog. Has Iggy contributed to any of the G.A.L. projects in anyway?
Tat: He doesn’t really do any projects but he likes to take group pictures with us. He is so sensitive to the camera, each time when we are taking pictures; he can stand still in the front of the camera.
Vi: Iggy is my sketching object at the beginning of my drawing time but now I don’t draw him much after I found my fat cheek guys.
I was extremely jealous last year when I saw the HOCC music video, HOCC being one of my favourite Hong Kong singers. What was it like working on this project, and seeing your worked animated? Are there any plans to produce more animation work?
Vi: HOCC is also one of my favorite singers in Hong Kong. I’m so happy that I can have a chance to join her video project “What Really Matter” last year. She would like to have an animated music video which is rare in Hong Kong. When I know that I will work for this music video, the song still did not have the lyrics, it was just a demo version with a temporary name of “Small Matter”. After Wyman Wong have done the lyrics, it’s about “sense of humor”, telling us to have a different point of view to those bad things. I really loves the lyrics and I think it’s very suitable to my drawing style. The schedule for the production was tight, I only had 2 weeks to draw all the elements and I had to draw 4 sketch books in A2 size. But I really enjoyed the project.
So how has 2008 been so far, any interesting projects coming up that you might be able to disclose to the Thunder Chunky audience (maybe some work in progress shots)?
Tat: Our most recent exhibition is the “In Progress Exhibition” in Delay No Mall. A new mall organized by GOD, a HK famous creative brand. This exhibition properly is our first solo and the first time we have a huge space with all our artworks showing.
Vi: This show is different because the Mall not only provide the space for us, they let us paint, drip on every blank wall and ground. This is not usual in a HK shopping mall. But they let us do this because they understand, appreciate and support our style. I think we are so lucky!
In Progress exhibition
What music is usually playing when the 2 of you are hard at work?
Vi: I like Sonic Youth, The Raveonettes, Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentines, !!!…
Tat: I like Rufus Wainwright, Joy division, Yeahs Yeahs Yeahs, Bauhaus, The Smiths…
Finally, what’s the one thing that everyone should do today?
Vi: Anything you enjoy
If you’ve yet to travel G.A.L. go to www.graphicairlines.com to find out more info, and see more of their wonderful work.
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