Talent Spotlight: Spring Creators 2021
Championing creativity, community and circularity in the Year of the Ox
Over the past twelve months, TONG has been forced to reflect and adapt to changing times. The upheaval for many in our industry has spurred us to rethink our processes and partnerships as a business operating across creative, technology, arts and culture.
As we enter another testing year, we find inspiration in the Ox for determination, positivity and transparency. Championing creativity and generating sustainable prosperity, we strive towards ethical circular practice and environmentally conscious decision making.
'Spring Creators 创造·春' is a new program dedicated to supporting five young Chinese talents around the world in their personal projects across music, fashion design, art, digital animation and more. As an organisation that informs and connects others with Chinese consumer culture and communities, we understand that many at the beginning of their career journey are currently facing challenges and setbacks.
Throughout the year, we will be keeping in close contact with each of our creators as they manifest their ambitions and document their processes. Upon completion at the end of the year, TONG will guarantee a platform to showcase all projects in the form of a digital exhibition.
Sounds of Cross-Cultural Exchange, Community and Chaos
Patrick Wu sets his sights on releasing his first EP under moniker JD X, all while simultaneously balancing his studies as a Economics student at LSE. Having cut his teeth at Shenzhen's most infamous venue OIL, he currently curates a monthly show on Internet Public Radio billed as ‘Unknown Dielectric’ which focuses on creating a local community platform.
From Shenzhen to London, the music producer has finally found his playground, drawing influences from London’s eclectic music scene and inspiration from the capital’s diverse community. His EP, set to be released later this summer, will feature a range of tracks capturing cross-genre sounds from hip hop to jungle, guided by instinct rather than direction. The tracks reflect on his journey as a self taught DJ and his interpretation of a time and place that embraces multicultures from both London and his home in Shenzhen.
Inner Voices Inside of a Mind Materialised
Yun-Chin Wang aka Raw2.2 balances her time between Taipei, Shanghai and London. Having graduated from her Fine Art degree at Central St Martins, her works span mixed media across video, performance, music and installation. She continues to push the boundary on digital experiences to leverage new media and technology, distinctly dreamlike and thought-provoking.
Currently based in Taipei as a result of Covid-19, Raw2.2 is dedicating the Spring Creators fund towards her upcoming project ‘Misery of the Abstract Dinner’. This short film follows a fragmented young girl as she sees the inner voices inside of her mind materialised in humanoids, all attending a dinner together. The project explores themes of physical detachment, disposable identities, fantasy, and fragmentation through the artist’s lens. Using VFX and 3D effects to transpire these voices, married with inspiration drawn from the Japanese New Wave cinema, the narrative is threaded together by a performance piece set within a surreal landscape that is visually captivating.
Outer Clothing to Express the Inner Face
Yumeng Zhu is a postgraduate student at the University of Westminster studying Digital Media and Communications, but presently held up in her native Hunan Province due to travel restrictions. Yumeng specialises in mixed media, drawing and portrait photography with a particular pursuit across fashion photography and installation experiences. His previous work is motivated by a wide span of topics including the intricate relationships between gossipers, acne and its influence on appearance, and the notion of ‘masculinity’ portrayed as a series of delicate paper dolls.
Yumeng is currently immersing himself in fashion photography, exploring the relationship between exterior appearance and internal self. He challenges himself to dive deeper in order to surface and portray this dissonance. Why is it that in reality, the outer and inner personas of individuals are often so different, perhaps even opposite?
Finding Common Ground in Self-Expression, Story-Telling and Character Building
Masters student Helen Cheng is a young fashion designer from Shanghai. Having graduated from her Bachelors Degree in Fashion from Donghua University, she made the move to Arnhem, The Netherlands, to further her studies and take on a Masters degree in Fashion at ArtEZ The University of the Arts. Her portfolio includes collections inspired by a wide variety of sources, ranging from war and conflict, to the Nowave movement of 1970s New York City, to male infidelity within romantic relationships.
Having focused predominantly on womenswear in her Bachelor’s degree, Helen’s current Masters degree aims to broaden her spectrum of learning and creative output, with a particular agenda to find a common ground among storytelling and character building. In her words, ‘fashion is more than what we wear to keep warm and it is essential to unearth how fashion is used as a tool of self expression’. Her project around the LGBTQ+ and ballroom scenes in The Netherlands is set to uncover the people and stories that have built the community through art, design and image-making.
Light and Melancholy
Zi Cheng Wang is a Goldsmiths student studying Fine Art. Experimenting with oil painting, photography, virtual installations and performance art, this multidisciplinary talent taps into his personal experiences to bring forth his unique outlook on life to evoke emotion.
In the calendar for Zi Cheng Wang is a virtual exhibition produced for launch at the end of 2021 exploring many members of the LGBTQ community in China, in particular young men who may be victims of male authority figures. Having witnessed instances of this throughout his life, this collection of work captures his own dark yet memorable experiences, and an awareness of the emotional consequences which inevitably influence his perspective on life. A world once full of light shifts towards a darker message of melancholy.