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HOME > TAIPEI > ARTICLES

TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE > May 2009
 

Cowparade Taipei 2009

Cowparade Taipei 2009

21st Century Creative Design Studios: Innovative design for everyday use

Written and translated by Diva Yang

Street public art turns Taipei into Spain
Over the last 10 years, Taipei's landscape has become increasingly beautiful with time. This past February, "Cowparade Taipei 2009" decorated the city with 107 cows in 13 most popular tourist attractions, from Taipei Zoo to National Palace Museum, from Ximending to XinYi Shopping District. These colorful public artworks not only beautified Taipei and provided artistic expression but also turned the city into a giant art museum!

2009 marks the 10th anniversary for Cowparade, and also happens to be the Year of Ox. This international public art festival is very diverse and encourages professional and amateur artists to create works of art. This helps illustrate the fact that everyone can create art, as it shortens the distance between everyday people and artistic creations. In other words, anyone can be an artist as long as they have creativity.

For several years now, street art in Taiwan has evolved and gone from public art to individual creative art. Street fairs have sprung up all over Taiwan, from schools to communities, from art festivals to outdoor concerts. The number of attendees can range from a few hundred people to over 1,000. Going to street fairs has become new but increasingly popular pastime in Taiwan. However, some street artists are tired of moving from one street fair to the next like nomads, and decide to instead find a permanent location to set up a shop for their creative products. This not only helps customers locate them, but also allows shoppers to browse in a comfortable, spacious environment. Currently, there are too many street fairs in Taiwan. Creative designers who can afford to open up their own studios or shops are more likely to offer better quality design products. Therefore, this edition introduces a series of unique lifestyle brands, with special thanks to Art and Lifestyle Association of Taiwan for assistance searching for innovative designers.

Cowparade Taipei 2009 Cowparade Taipei 2009


Yellow Family

Yellow Family

 

 

Mom's seamstress skills create one and only fashion accessories
Big Yellow and Yellow are sisters. In their younger days, they worked as street vendors, selling women's clothing and accessories. When street fairs first sprang up, they encouraged their mother, a former seamstress who used to work in a garment factory, to sew handmade bra straps (NT$190), using colorful fabric to replace ordinary traditional-looking straps. While their business boomed, they introduced their second product, women's shoulder bags (small NT$1,680, large NT$1,980) made of artificial sofa leather. These were an overnight sensation because they possessed the style of luxurious handbags at a fraction of the price. These have been such a hot item that even celebrity models have tried to get their hands on them. The material is also lightweight, so you won't feel it on your shoulder while carrying it. You can choose your favorite color to make a bag. If you're considered tall, buy a large one, as it will make you look more slender!

Within six months, Yellow Family set up two retail locations to promote their products. Originally just the two sisters and their mother were in the business together. Soon enough, their cousin and father also joined the family business. Their newest collection includes coin purses, cell phone cases, makeup bags and women's handbags. For all of the above, you can choose your favorite patterns and colors to make a bag, ensuring you'll never have to worry about running into someone with the same bag!

Yellow Family Yellow Family


Seven EQUAL one

Seven EQUAL one

Seven EQUAL one

Seven EQUAL one

 

 

Six good friends build a dreamland of handmade art works together
Six young designers met in street fairs and became close friends. They had one common goal--to collaborate in a retail store. The reasons were simple: 1. There is power in numbers and together they could appeal to a broad spectrum of clients; 2. They were simply tired of being chased by the police. Last December they opened 7=1 and, even though one of the seven designers got cold feet and backed out at the last minute, they insisted on keeping the name, hoping that someday the seventh designer will come along and join 7=1.

On the day of this interview, Mr. Lin Shi Chang, who created Da Xi Tang, was organizing clothes on a shelf; Eileen, who set up iamsefs, was sewing handmade bags at an open work station, while Dada, who's in charge of Daladdda, sat against the wall and chitchatted with them. When asked whether they spent every day in the shop, Lin replied with a smile, "We're always here. If not, we're on the way to a street fair somewhere."

Lin majored in costume design when he was in school. Now he creates handmade T-shirts with Hakka floral patterned fabric (floral pattern NT$590, double happiness characters NT$690) as well as tank tops (floral pattern NT$590, double happiness characters NT$690). His clothing is unisex and does come in small, medium and large sizes. For two years in a row he was a regular seller of his designs at the Red House Market, and he has already earned a steady following. Originally, his clothing was mainly in black and white, while lately he's crossed over to vibrant colors. In addition he works on improving packaging by enclosing wash care instructions so that customers won't have to worry about discoloration.

Eileen spent five years working as a 9-to-5 office worker. Her craftsmanship and high sensitivity with colors have attached YKK zippers to colorful pen bags, makeup bags, coin pouches, reusable chopsticks bags and more. The hottest-selling item is the multi-function bag, such as a cell phone bag that comes with a pocket for a battery and another pocket for an EasyCard. The next time your mobile is out of battery, you won't have to search everywhere looking for it. With quick access to an EasyCard, you can go in and out of MRT stations without looking for it. Eileen says, "Customers are welcome to come in and choose their favorite colors to make a bag. It's best if they can specify what they will use the bag for, and then I can design a multi-functional and easy-to-use bag accordingly."

It is purely accidental that Dada is now in the creative design business. With encouragement from Lin and Eileen, she started Daladdda, a handmade jewelry brand. Dada calls her necklace and bracelet designs (NT$290 to NT$590) "installation art" because she simply assembles different pieces together. She often goes to school markets and discovers that students are prone to favor her line of creative products. She also randomly developed a collection of Chinese Chess cell phone accessories (NT$150 each) which are now selling like hot cakes!

In 7=11 there are three other creative brands--Lazy 20, Crazy Horsepower, and Yellow Family. In fact, this is the first retail location that Yellow Family established before having a boutique store exclusively for its designs.


Art4pcom Shop

Art4pcom Shop

Creative space hidden in rock 'n' roll venue
Art4pcom is a design company that provides retail channels for design products. The majority of the products are sold online and its website is like a virtual department store. In addition to online shopping, there's also an Art4pcom shop right next to the entrance to The Wall Live House. You'll find more than 10 different design brands and T-shirts featuring rock bands that regularly perform at The Wall. Some music fans often rush into the Art4pcom shop to look for T-shirts from their favorite bands to show their support!

At the Art4pcom shop, the best-known design brand is Foufou-a hand- sketched rabbit with all kinds of facial expressions. This brand was founded in 2005 by a group of young amateur artists, and the name "Foufou" originated from a French word meaning "crazy people". Foufou's design is cute and adorable with some dark humor. The mission of this brand is to offer people some light-hearted humor and make daily life less boring. The latest innovative product from Foufou--a new and improved ID holder (NT$250)--comes with a self-stabbing rabbit and its "roaring" appearance is amusing. This ID holder can be used to keep your company identification and EasyCard, or also use as a luggage tag when you travel abroad.

Dr. Evil is another dark-humor design brand, which aims to transform good and noble fairytale characters into something slightly evil. For example, Dr. Evil has turned Snow White into an ill-intentioned rocker-style princess, and Uncle D. from a well-known fast food chain into a villain. The handmade Uncle D. villain notebook (NT$100) can be used as a sketch book or pocket book when you need to jot something down quickly. When you run out of pages, be sure to tear off the notebook cover and send it off as a postcard.

It seems like most of the design brands at the Art4pcom shop are rebellious by nature, perhaps because the shop is adjacent to a venue for live rock. The next time you go to The Wall to show your support for Taiwanese rock music, feel free to stop by Art4pcom shop to browse through some unique brands.

Art4pcom Shop Art4pcom Shop


MOART

MOART

Four professional designers launch creative brands representing Taiwan Spirit
When they joined Taiwan Graphic Design Association, four well-established designers became friends. Ajue Wu, Martin Yang, Grace Shih and James Chen each run their own designing firms as their day jobs. Together, they formed new brands MOART (More + Art + Chinese character "Mo" means silence) and "Hei Quan" (means "black dog"). This brand's mission statement is defined by the characteristics of the energetic and loyal Taiwanese Black Dog and, for them, the true Taiwanese creative force comes from silence that speaks louder than words. Their slogan design is a living attitude.

Ajue Wu was inspired by Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to create "Chiang's Talk". The brand specializes in exquisite gift designs that can best represent Taiwan and cater to foreign tourists. "Fu Gui Tea Cup Set" (NT$3,880), a china set exported to Japan, is a delightful present that signifies Chinese traditional culture. The cup designs represent male and female shapes, each imprinted with a Chinese character on the bottom. The male cup has "Fu", meaning "wealth", and the "Gui" on the female cup signifies precious goods. "Laozi Says Herbal Tea" (NT$500) is exported to Europe and currently on sale at the famous Lafayette Department Store in France. It contains Taiwanese green tea, including the "Tie Guan Yin" and Jin Bao Oolong varieties.

Martin Yang established the brand D.Yang in 2007. He used Chinese ink and wash painting to portray three of the world's tallest buildings--the Empire State Building in New York, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, and Taipei 101. He then transferred the paintings onto canvas (NT$1,600 for one painting, NT$4,200 for all three). Meanwhile, Grace Shih introduces "uGuts" and "Show Me Wa", two Taiwanese aboriginal brands incorporating aboriginal symbols into necklaces, notebooks and coffee mugs. James Chen introduces "Yoga bobo", a brand utilizing the basic 12 poses from yoga to design products. The most inquired-about products are skateboards (NT$950) and surfboards (NT$8,500). Yoga bobo, using white and bright orange, is a very eye-catching symbol!

MOART opened in late February, featuring four major design brands, with products representing the creativity of these four partners. Gradually, more items will also be added to the shelves. These quality design products not only showcase Taiwan's creative culture but also are ideal souvenirs and gifts for foreign visitors and residents. Before your next trip back to your home country, stop by MOART and shop for presents that will give friends and family a better understanding of your home away from home.

MOART
(02) 2312-1189
10, ChengDu Rd (XiMen Red House Studio #16)
Hours: 2-9:30 pm (closed Mondays)

MOART MOART


Support original designs and cultivate creative cultures in Taiwan

Support original designs and cultivate creative cultures in Taiwan
In Taipei, readily-accessible public art has shortened the distance between everyday people and fine art. The growing popularity of often-crowded weekend street fairs also illustrates the accessibility of creative designs that beautify our lives. We've guided you through a wide variety of design studios with different backgrounds. One has formed a family business, thanks to a mother's seamstress skills. One is a promising group project made up of ambitious young designers. There's also a creative space combining music and design into one, and professional designers who aim to take design products inspired by Taiwanese cultures to the world. Each and every one of them represents Taiwan creative art.

More recently, the proliferation of counterfeit products at street fairs has hit such designers hard. This infringement has violated copyrights and will not stimulate the creative design industry. Please support original designs so that more and more Taiwanese designers can participate in international competitions and show their talents abroad. This way, the world will understand that there is a lot more to Taiwan than its high-tech industries!

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