East Asia’s new wave: day #2

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Alfred Ng, 23, Hong Kong

As a student, tattooist Alfred Ng had no interest in art, but a bet to match his friend’s final grades in art class changed all of that. Not only did Ng win the bet, he tapped into an undiscovered talent and passion for painting. This turned into a fascination with tattoos, and Ng got his first taste of ink when he was 18. He hasn’t looked back since.

Describe your personal style in three words.
Punk. Raw. Black.

Name three songs that you can’t live without.
Zeds Dead – Eyes on Fire / Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon / Nero – Innocence

What is the most exciting part of Asia’s young creative arts scene?

Asia’s arts scene had always been slightly different to the rest of the world; for me, art should be appreciated in terms of its creative/artistic/historical value. Asian art, on the other hand, has always been aimed at making money, hence why I see ‘art’ in Asia always being incorporated with different media elements, such as music and live-shows, for greater commercial value. It seems, as long as it provides a certain commercial gain, you’ll suddenly become ‘artistic’. 

How do you think the perception of Asian pop culture has changed in the last 10 years?

The development of technology and social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Weibo has influenced the way in which people communicate with one another. The immediacy of thoughts, pictures and songs being posted online has allowed for much quicker integration and transfer of information between people. Whereas, ten years ago, information might have been limited within the local community, it is now possible to know what’s happening thousands of miles away, thanks to the Internet. I think it has helped the liberation of Asian pop culture, and how Asian pop culture is being perceived nowadays. For example, anything with sexual, violent connotations would probably not have been seen as ‘art’ ten years ago, or someone with tattoos might have immediately been viewed as a criminal or a gangster—nowadays however, these narrow-minded views are slowly changing and there has been greater diversification in Asian pop culture.

How does the city influence your creativity?

Hong Kong’s diverse culture and buzzing nature provides a very interesting dynamic and energy that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The British colonial buildings and Chinese buildings, the old streets of Hong Kong, local market stalls and art galleries never fail to provide inspiration for ideas in terms of my illustration, photography or creative thoughts.

Best hangout spot?

Austin Road West in Kowloon. There is a park with a running track. It is a lesser-known spot with very nice views of Victoria Harbour and the Peak.

Favourite website?
Lost at E-Minor.

What do your parents think of what you do?
Being stereotypically Asian, they are against tattoos and body art. I respect their views but life is too short – I want to be true to myself, be who I am and do what I love.

Matcha, 20, Tokyo

Nicola found 20-year-old Matcha at Candy, one of Tokyo’s stores of the moment, and cast him for his Nicopanda project at Isetan. He works at that store and models for its website daily, wearing Phenomenon, Gareth Pugh, KTZ and many other exciting designers’ collections. “Matcha” means “green tea” in Japanese – “I always eat this ice cream called Supercup Matcha,” he says, “and one day my friend named me Matcha, haha.”

Describe your personal style in three words.
Free. Moody. Self-satisfaction.

Name three songs you can’t live without.
Azealia Banks: ‘212’. / Jason Chance: ‘Sober Talk’. / TLC: ‘Come Get Some’.

How do you think the perception of Asian pop culture has changed in the last ten years?
It’s getting more exciting in both the music and fashion industries.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
When Nicola cast me for his Nicopanda pop-up store shoot at Isetan.

What’s the best hangout spot in Tokyo?
Fashion boutique Candy in Shibuya.

Favourite website?

Who’s the wildest person you follow on Twitter?
Lady Gaga.

What do your parents think of what you do?
They don’t care.

Excerpt from: 

East Asia’s new wave: day #2


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