From lost Intern to full time studio manager in 9 months.

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Early last year, we decided to get an intern to help us all out at the studio. After we put out a call on Instagram, we had a few inquiries but one stood out and it was from a UBC Sauder business student named Aiken Lao. Although she was a business student from UBC, she had a real strong interest for creativity. She was a rare breed. A business student with a visual arts portfolio, showcasing her illustration, photography and design work. The diversity in her work made her an ideal candidate as she was able to help all three of us out at the studio. With Hubert Kang, a photographer, Annie Chen, a surface designer and myself an illustrator and art director. She was a rising triple threat with an opportunity to be able to sample all three disciplines under one roof. It’s sort of like getting whisky flights but for jobs without the hangover.

Over the course of just a few months, Aiken proved to be a real asset at the studio by helping out on photoshoots, painting murals, drawing storyboards, designing logos, researching visual references, attending client meetings and even taking the most detailed notes in lightning speed. It wasn’t long before we decided to raise her rates for the remainder of the year until she graduated in December of 2018.

Interestingly, Aiken’s parents were never a fan of the idea of her pursuing a creative career. Although she initially applied to Emily Carr, she ultimately chose UBC’s Sauder School of Business to please her parents. Fast forward to post-graduation, Hubert Kang, and I decided to offer her a one-year full-time contract gig at the studio to become our Studio Manager. She now oversees our projects, manages our workflow and helping out with a variety of tasks such as running the retail store and doing actual work like drawing storyboards, designing logos, painting murals and much more.

When Aiken first started, she had no clue how the creative community worked but she’s now a little less lost (we hope) and is now convinced that artists don’t need to fit the ‘starving artist’ stereotype to make a creative career work. Personally, I was lucky enough to kick start my own career in advertising as an art director for almost 2 decades which helped me get exposed to countless artists, musicians, photographers, animators, writers and more. Over this time, I saw budgets, managed artists, supervised shoots, managed creative teams, worked with countless directors on tv shoots and it was through this experience that I learned how to now run my own art and design studio.

Knowing how many young and talented creative folks are out there trying to break into the business but unsure how to, I hope this little blog post will help shed some light into your career path. Read More »

2019 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards Winning Entries.

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We’re a little late to announce but we’re thrilled to have three of our projects selected as winners for this year’s Applied Arts Photography and Illustration Awards. Both of these projects we worked on for Kabam and Deloitte are hands down one of our top 10 favourite projects of 2018. Super happy that both of these projects got selected as winners. We have a total of 3 awards this year.

I-017: Mega Marvel Mural [IL/10 Corporate Illustration – Single]
I-020: Mega Marvel [IL/11 Corporate Illustration – Series]
I-021: Wonderful World Of Discovery [IL/11 Corporate Illustration – Series]

Here are the winning entries. Read More »

Black Bean design agency’s mural: An illustrated map of Kelowna.

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Excited to share our latest mural work for Black Bean Creative, a creative design agency based Kelowna. This mural is an illustrated map of Kelowna packed with hidden fun easter eggs. It was so fun working on this guy! Here are a few close ups of this intricate map. Photos by Jon Adrian.
Project management by Aiken Lao.

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Hong Kong Sketch Book Diaries. The Black Ink Series.

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Here’s a quick and small black ink series of Hong Kong. We’ve been here for almost 2 months now but it really feels like we just arrived last week. There’s just so much to do here! Hong Kong is seriously an incredible city. So vibrant and rich with culture, arts tech and more. You can be in central surrounded by the hippest cafes and restaurants and then you can be literally in another world within 15-20 min. by boat to a quiet fishing village (more on that in another post). We feel like we’ve only seen 1% of HK during this entire time here.

We’re here until the 27th and then we’ll be back in Vancouver to jump back into the thick of it. If you need immediate assistance with any current projects with us, please contact our incredible Studio Manager, Aiken. She’ll sort you out. Thanks for reading our blog.

Follow our journey on IG.

Blade running with my Nikon in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

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Had a free night to walk explore and walk around Wan Chai district in Hong Kong after a nice meal at Osteria Marzia (thanks for the dinner Pak!) and captured these pics with my Nikon D600 and vintage Nikkor glass (50mm F1.4 non-ai). Without a tripod, I used hand rails and any flat solid surface I could find for these 8-15 sec. long exposures. I swear, I can spend months here just shooting in HK. What a beautiful and vibrant city.

Follow our adventures on IG.

Gong Hay Fat Choy! All the best for the year of the Notorious PIG

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Gong Hay Fat Choy! Happy new year! Wishing everyone a very prosperous and healthy year of the notorious PIG from beautiful Hong Kong! All the best everyone!

Short listed! Communications Arts Illustration 2019 short list announced.

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Every year we enter the prestigious Communication Arts illustration competition for the work we proudly handcraft and create in our Vancouver studio in hopes to be recognized among the best in the world. Out of over 3940 entries submitted, only 934 entries were shortlisted. 2 our entries were shortlisted out of only 3 submissions. Congratulations to everyone that got on the list. Final winners will be announced by Feb 8th.