Make Art That Sells (A): Gift


This is the final week of our 5 week journey in Lilla Rogers’ “Make Art That Sells” (A) class. It is bittersweet. Bitter because I was learning so much, and I don’t get to bug Lilla anymore for my ten thousand questions every week, which she actually answers every single one of them (!!). Sweet because I was getting a bit burned out and I couldn’t absorb anymore. I need some time to go back, re-read and organize all the class material. It is also nice to get a bit of a breathing room from weekly assignments and do something uncreative for a bit, such as scrubbing the toilet. Wait. I haven’t done that yet.

Without further adieu, the last week is for the gift market, and the subject matter was “A Collection Of Things”. Namely, things that we personally collect and are obsessed with. Whatever this collection is, it should carry a theme (eg. shoes, stamps, duck figurines…etc.).

I don’t really collect anything personally. I do buy a lot of souvenirs when we travel, so I started looking at that. Within all sorts of junk I have, I gathered an “oriental” pile (image above). It spans from an old book from my dad, to items from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Thailand. I also had a collection of letters and cards too, when dinosaurs still walk this planet and people still wrote letters by hand.


Illustrations by Kiichi Tsutaya

I am not exactly obsessed with these things. They are just there, and I liked them OK. Amongst these items, I do especially cherish these vintage postcards I have by the Japanese illustrator Kiichi Tsutaya. He drew really beautiful coloring pictures from the 1940s, and I think he was one of the pioneers before the actual Japanese anime style kicks off. I owned several of his coloring books when I was a child.

Thinking about what I am obsessed with at this moment of my life, it has to be my 2-year old son. There is a picture of him in a Japanese style sleepwear, so I wanted to draw him in the Kiichi Tsutaya style. I also drew out a few of my items and make it into more of a Japanese collection (although the ducks are from Korea, but hey, I like them).

We were asked to create a lush, ink-blot style piece for a zipper pouch, that you would either make it for yourself or gift it to someone. It is meant to be a personal piece that you create for yourself with objects of your affection. Lilla gave us beautiful visual references to high fashion amongst other brands and products (I wish I could share those beautiful images, but I would be leaking class material!). Needless to say, I was very inspired to create a lush piece, even though “lush” is not something I normally do.


The above was what I submitted. It was well received (Thanks Lilla for the mention!), but I was slightly bummed because this doesn’t quite say “me”. It is not exactly my style, and the subject matter is not what I am obsessed with (I was obsessed with Japanese anime when I was a teenager. Not anymore).

I would love to redo this assignment if I ever find the time. I think I am obsessed with aliens, traveling, Paris, horses, and anything that is funny. Maybe I’ll create a piece where aliens abduct horses in Paris? Yeah, For sure that will sell like hot cakes.

After MATS (A), we will be heading back to our monthly bootcamp assignment until July. I am allowing myself a few days before picking up the sketching again. Besides, there is so much I have set out to do. I just sent out my order to print some mini business cards, and I am aiming to relaunch my website with my MATS illustration work BEFORE Surtex (May 18-21). I know, I am only walking the show and not exhibiting, but you never know what may happen, right? Maybe someone bumped into me, I fell down, and all my business cards fell out of my bag, and all these hot shot art directors picked them up and started calling me after I got home. Yes. You should never give up dreaming.

Until next time!


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