It is usually a taboo for an artist to mix business in the past as most believe that artists should be ‘pure’ to create. However, when talking to Iven Lee, a renowned multidisciplinary illustration artist from Xiamen China, founder of Xiamen Yan Tan Orange Culture Creative Co. Ltd and Fearless Trend Art, his answer was that he is different from a normal artist, creator or businessman in general as he sees himself as an all rounder that blends art and business into his artistic journey. Creator of SummerMew, IVEN, SCREW and many more, this artist described himself as a typical Gemini. When it comes to work and creativity, it is not only about passion but also the persistence to meet the end goals.
Iven and partners started a design studio from scratch and began with just some small advertising jobs. The break came in early 2002 when he was selected to create SummerMew, the Xiamen Tourism Ambassador for BRICS and was later interviewed live by CCTV (China Central Television). He believed that his dad was proud and happy for him although the latter was very ill and passed away three days later. They were very close. Another milestone was the formation of Fearless Trend Art Exhibition In 2018 where he answered the calling to contribute back into the society for the creative art industry. “It was not an easy task and I funded the project myself as I believe there is a potential for this but only time can tell,” said the artist.
Iven is of the opinion that artists today are no longer just about creating but must be equipped with EQ, IQ and AQ (Art Quality). Unlike the old traditional one-direction artists, Iven believes that artists should behave like a tricycle and have three wheels where one represents EQ that is the study of society, second is about communication and last but not least, there should be a team involved business of creating value to one’s artwork. It is no surprise that Iven has very high expectations as he is benchmarking himself to his idols namely Murakami Takeshita, Andy Warhol and Jeff Khoons. His ideology is to bridge both Eastern and Western art from different perspectives including lifestyle, culture, business, etc.
“Western art is usually more positive that involves continuity, whereas Eastern art is more about looking to the past and focusing on traditional culture,” he opined. He continued saying that Western creatives are more matured and the Eastern presentations are still very much in the development stage. He is a regular speaker in Tsinghua University and conferences including those organized by Alibaba and many more. He believes that creative art is very important in today’s hectic and intense world as the former can help balance and ease the tension between real life cruel expectations and the harmony within. Ivan advocates the up and coming generation to stay focus and stay original of what one has set out to achieve. “Don’t be too emotional and end up killing the enthusiasm!” he continued saying “Learn to respect both the consumer and the market. A Coke is a Coke, all Cokes are the same and as good.”
Lastly when asked about the future of creative art, Iven answered with confidence that the future of creative art looks promising as it is not only about trendy culture and art, it is also about patriotism. “It is a good sign when a country has its own cultural identity and spirit. This shows that the upcoming generation have achieved its very own branding and will no longer blindly follow big brands but quality brands that communicate in the same wavelengths”. Iven believes that with the current fast communication systems and platforms, creative art has already started its penetrations and influences into the society. It is inevitable that soon this industry will play a very important role in the sustainability and the future of the society and the world.
Text by CHT