An all-round visual artist from Taiwan

Taiwanese visual artist Baw Lu does it all. From a very young age on, she’s dedicated herself to drawing, painting and photography. These days, an international breakthrough is looming. ‘I’m very much inspired by Western art and design.’

As a student at the National University of the Arts (NTUA) in Taipei, she specialized in computer design en started designing her first t-shirts. While adding radio and tv production to her curriculum, she produced the videos SupomanPresto and Ego with motion graphics as a basis.She describes her all-round portfolio as ‘rock style’: ‘I feel free to choose from all kinds of influences, hence the term. Plus the fact that I’m friends with a lot of musicians and love rock bands such as Sigur Rós from Iceland.’

More and more Taiwanese bands such as Slimo, Tizzy Bac and Frida Li have approached Baw Lu to design their cd covers and music videos. Recently, she produced a concert video for Malaysian singer Fish Leong and designed the motion graphics for Asian superstar Jay Chou’s concert tour. ‘Together, we went through my sketches from which we made the definite choice. When I’m sketching, I play a lot of hardrock and alt rock to get inspired.’

Her t-shirt designs are characterized by a lively, eclectic style. ‘I combine all kinds of images and designs and thus create a new, fresh style,’ she explains. ‘I’d like to draw from pop culture and cartoons, urging people to think about the visual story I’ve created. I see the world as a funny place. Hopefully, I manage to make people laugh, with the themes in my work making them think as the same time. For instance, my popular design with the starry-eyed tiger refers to the dangerous reputation of the animal, but no one really knows what a tiger is thinking.’

Baw Lu grins when talking about the popularity of her t-shirt designs. ‘My t-shirts are popular with young and old that feels attracted to the orginal style, but the term ‘older’ is very relative in Taiwan. I mean, most girls feel old when they’re 22, claiming that their beauty is fading from that age on. At the same time, a lot of people say that ‘life starts at 70’. Typical Taiwanese, I suspect.’

In her hometown Taipei, specially designed murals by Lu can be seen at the Cama Café, a franchise with twelve locations whose employees wear corporate t-shirts from her hand as well. ‘In all these cafés, I’ve painted the murals myself, while my assistant worked on the t-shirt design. The walls of my studio in the centre of Taipei are plastered with designs for new assignments.’ And with sketches for the alphabet she designed. ‘The letters are read from left to right, not from the top down as we’re used to in Taiwan. Thanks to my Western inspired mindset.’

Our reporter

QNA News