The best of the Hong Kong webcomic challenge


This spring, a small group of SCAD Hong Kong students released their original webcomics to a global community of indie creators and eager subscribers. Challenged by former sequential art professor Mia Goodwin, students in her online comics class put their skills to the test. The task? Create a story and publish it online at the end of the 10-week course. The result is a series of unconventional stories and fresh explorations combining a range of digital techniques used in today’s art industries.

Below are our top four picks from Professor Goodwin’s challenge.

Tales from the Well
Jessica & Jacinta Wibowo
Jakarta, Indonesia
B.F.A., sequential art and animation

Inspired by children’s book illustrations, Tales from the Well follows a prince’s adventures after falling down a mysterious watering hole. The Wibowo twins – or simply “JesnCin” – are a dynamic duo, working collaboratively from start to finish. Once the narratives are scripted, Jacinta generates the rough sketches and assigns the color schemes. Jessica then completes the digital inking and painting while Jacinta adds the lettering. Most of all, the sisters enjoy experimenting with their style, from painted hues to digital textures. These explorations liven up the story, adding a whimsical evolution element from episode to episode. The series was featured on the June list of “Staff Picks” on Tapastic and has over 700 followers with just 13 episodes published. Tune in on Fridays to see how JesnCin’s story evolves and what’s in store for the prince.

Blossom Boys
Corinne Caro
Laguna, Phillipines
B.F.A., sequential art

Whether you’re a fan of manga humor or quirky romance, Corinne Caro tackles both in Blossom Boys. Reese, our darling protagonist, lives life with rose-colored glasses. He is a hopeless romantic until a flower delivery leads to the discovery of a secret admirer. Could this be Reese’s chance to find his one and only true love? Perhaps, but prepare for the unexpected. “I usually get into trouble when I suddenly have on-the-spot ideas,” Caro said. “As of now, I don’t have much of a clue how and when the comic will end.” Readers are truly along for the ride with this budding relationship and its comical plot twists. Caro is enjoying the possibilities as well as speculations of more than 4,000 followers on Tapastic. Catch up with all of the gossip on Fridays, and don’t forget to read the comments.

Finding Maria
Issel de Leon
Las Pinas, Philippines
B.F.A., sequential art

In Finding Maria, Issel de Leon offers an international perspective on fairy tales with her adaptation of Philippine folklore. The story takes place in a tropical village where young Marikit lives a life of solitude as a “binukot” – a girl shrouded from the outside world, anticipating married bliss. That moment never arrives, though, because the village warriors have all but vanished in the enchanted forest. Tired of waiting, Marikit must venture beyond the walls of her family’s hut to take control of her destiny and find an end to her misery. De Leon crafts a heartening narrative with her distinctive aesthetics and character designs. Find out more about Marikit’s predicament on Fridays.

Michelle Wong
Hong Kong
B.F.A., sequential art

Ilse is about a noble tomboy searching for a normal life... while living with a peculiar curse. But what tale will be revealed? Was she born this way? Is she part demon? It’s these questions that keep readers guessing and returning for clues. “I don’t quite feel ready to tell her whole story yet,” said Wong. So it comes as no surprise that her webcomic is merely a vignette of Ilse’s world – a peek through the keyhole. Weekly updates on Thursdays confirm little by little that Ilse is all about the details, not only with this character but also in her moody imagery.

Young designers empower creative freelancers in Hong Kong


As in all industries, the path to entrepreneurship in art and design is full of peaks and valleys. Motivated by challenges in their freelance careers, 30 Savannah College of Art and Design students launched a collective for young designers in Hong Kong. They call themselves "22nd century designers," or XXIID, and aspire to address questions facing up-and-coming artists and designers who work in diverse creative capacities – from graphic design and marketing to illustration and photography. With SCAD professor of advertising and graphic design Gianluca Cinquepalmi advising, seven XXIID members recently convened in Causeway Bay to fine-tune the XXIID guidebook for freelancers, which covers topics like pricing structures, contracts, and client demands. We sat down with them for a preview of this sorely needed resource, which will soon go to print, and to learn about their goal to unite the next generation of creative talent in Hong Kong.

SCAD: Why did you form XXIID?

Melissa Trias: I was tired of being pushed around with freelance jobs. Associate Dean of Academics Derek Black pitched the idea of creating a junior designers’ league, and we had one meeting where everyone discussed the problems with freelance work. Then professor Gianluca Cinquepalmi got involved. He thought we needed to produce something tangible. So we started as a club and it turned into a publication and design collective.

Gianluca Cinquepalmi: The idea of XXIID was to create a platform where creatives can meet, discuss, and improve. Our job and vision is to give tangible and reliable tools based on our knowledge and industry standard. We cannot cover every single aspect of it, but at least we can give some guidelines. I can bring the perspective of a professional who has dealt with and worked in the industry while looking at the real needs of the students.

SCAD: What are some of the challenges that you face as young designers in Hong Kong?

Trias: There isn’t an association for designers that we could join while still being in school, but we wanted to connect with other creatives in Hong Kong. We felt like we were being misrepresented in terms of value because people would ask us to do work either for free or lower than what we deserved.

That was one of the driving forces of starting XXIID. We deserve to be compensated for the hard work we have devoted to cultivating our craft. - Melissa Trias (M.F.A., luxury and fashion management, 2015)

Shann Larsson: When I first started doing freelance design work I didn’t know about contracts and what rights I had as a designer. With this design collective, we’re outlining things that are applicable to Hong Kong in terms of payment and your responsibilities.

Adam Newbold: It’s difficult to find a single source of trusted information. We’re trying to pull this together into a more accessible space, specifically geared toward young designers in Hong Kong and Asia.

SCAD: Is this resource something that is lacking in Hong Kong?

Newbold: There is the Hong Kong Designers Association, but we feel that younger designers are not represented very well.

Trias: In the U.S., there is AIGA, the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Their standards and ethics have been so functional. We have very valuable skills that we’ve acquired learning from professors who are experts in their fields. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be pricing our work at the correct salary.

SCAD: What artistic and design disciplines are represented in XXIID?

Cinquepalmi: I love this project because I had the opportunity to involve almost all of the departments in SCAD Hong Kong’s school of communication: graphic design, illustration, luxury and fashion marketing, advertising, video, and motion media design. It’s not only for graphic designers.

Newbold: This is the most collaborative project I’ve ever been involved with at SCAD.

Cinquepalmi: We aimed to enroll 30 students as active members of the development phase, and aim to increase by tenfold when we have the publication and the website done. We hope that with the content we have generated, we’ll engage around 300 to 400 students and have them signed up for our mailing list, so that we can tell people about the association, what’s happening, and eventually promote upcoming events.

SCAD: How will XXIID make a better tomorrow for today’s artists and designers?

Cinquepalmi: What is important for us to achieve is making the industry understand that there are talented, prepared designers who act professionally and there are not-so-prepared designers who don't act so professionally.

We need to work towards making it easily understandable to the industry the real value and worth of a graduate, different from somebody who just stumbled upon Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. There is a difference in professional attitude, ethics, and knowledge that we can transfer. - Professor Gianluca Cinquepalmi

Trias: The purpose of the publication is to equip our graduating students so they can go out into the world and be successful freelancers.

Cinquepalmi: The idea of XXIID is amazing because the industry needs it. There is a nice video of Lee Clow from TBWA Worldwide, which states we are treated as if we are doing our clients' laundry. He is the creative director of a preeminent ad agency, working with clients like Nike and Apple. If TBWA complains, imagine what other designers have to do. [Laughs.]

SCAD: What other content will XXIID share on the website and in the publication?

Newbold: One of the tools lists locations for working throughout Hong Kong, not only co-working spaces, but also cafés—secret spots that don't mind if you stick around and have plug-ins and WiFi.

Trias: Professor Cinquepalmi proposed a pricing wheel. When he pitched this idea, he said this would be the “freebie” to get people interested in the publication.

Newbold: Pricing in the U.S., in my opinion, is much higher than in Hong Kong. We want to know the average going rate so we’re not incorrectly pricing our projects, while still getting fair pay. The current plan is for the pricing wheel to be a web-based app. It’s a formula that’s been developed based on information we’ve gathered from various organizations and freelancers around Hong Kong, and the pricing standards they’ve set for their projects. You can plug in the type of project you’re working on and the hours you expect to work. It helps figure out an average going rate, so you can better price your work.

Trias: There are tools and resources that exist in the real world, such as Team Gantt, Basecamp, Behance, and BlinkBid for photographers. Knowing about these resources helps because we can learn the theories, but we need to know the industry standard. In making this publication, we not only get to use these resources, but we also get to share with our readers that they exist.

Newbold: We’re also creating descriptions on how to prepare a creative brief. And we're doing the same thing with contracting, so that you know what needs to be included.

SCAD: Do you plan to team up with students from other Hong Kong universities?

Newbold: In the future, we would love to see this grow into incorporating designers from different local universities and elsewhere.

Cinquepalmi: We believe as designers and as content creators that great content and great ideas survive. If we can create something worth reading and sharing, we can attract other universities.

3 emerging designers to watch in Asia


In celebration of Savannah College of Art and Design’s second graduating class in Hong Kong, we’re spotlighting three soon-to-be alumni in illustration, graphic design, and photography. These graduates are the honored salutatorian, valedictorian, and excelsus laureate of the SCAD Hong Kong Class of 2015. Their achievements, both academic and extracurricular, undoubtedly prove they will lead distinguished creative careers. Keep an eye on Bianca Lesaca, Adam Newbold, and Sandra Dans as they plant roots in Asia and cultivate their talents.

Bianca Lesaca
Manila, Philippines
B.F.A., illustration, 2015

People are hungry to absorb stories in Asia. They just don't know it yet because only one kind of creative food has been fed to them. They don't know there is a new, different palate. —Bianca Lesaca

Bianca Lesaca seeks to design imagined worlds that leave lasting impressions—and she’s off to a great start. In 2013, Lesaca was part of a winning team of SCAD students who designed and pitched a new attraction for Hong Kong Disneyland as part of the Disney ImagiNations competition. Their concepts, based on Peter Pan’s Neverland, won her a summer internship with Walt Disney Imagineering. A year later, Lesaca collaborated with sequential art classmates on the redesign of Ocean Park’s animal mascots, as well as story concepts and the proposal for a new character. But Lesaca dreams of one day telling her own iconic story and building a new imaginary universe, one that rivals J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. “Knowing what I can do with video game or animation concept art, I can create my own world,” said Lesaca. “It's very empowering.”

While completing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia arts, Lesaca came across The Fundamentals of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen. At the same time, she was captivated by the illustrations of James Jean and Ayakato, struck by the endless applications of their artwork - from window displays to fashion runways. “With that inspiration and the impetus from the book I read, I wanted to explore it further,” rememebered Lesaca. Upon graduating, she enrolled in a summer residency for illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. It was her first visit to the U.S. where she experienced an invigoration of creative energy. Lesaca ultimately chose to pursue an illustration degree at SCAD Hong Kong rather than staying in the Big Apple. She explained, “Hong Kong is actually just as busy, bustling, and vibrant as New York. Because Asia is an emerging powerhouse for the creative industry, I wanted to be a part of it.”

Before attending SCAD, Lesaca wasn’t interested in designing characters or environments, and yet she was drawn to the multidisciplinary development process of concept art. “It’s world-building,” she said. “I definitely want to tap into the concept art industry and be an in-house studio artist. That's something I plan on doing when I go back to Manila.” Lesaca sees her visual narratives as a way to connect with like-minded creatives and art communities around the world. “There are stories and realities that are happening here on the other side of the world that go unheard. It’s worth telling them.”

Adam Newbold
Walla Walla, Washington, USA
B.F.A., graphic design, 2015

Graphic design is not just about making beautiful things you want to make; you’re making for what people need. —Adam Newbold

Adam Newbold has a less-is-more approach to graphic design, and is driven to connect with communities through design and social service. More importantly, positively impacting people’s lives and experiences is his deepest passion. For example, he found a YouTube video that features a low-cost design solution for schools in rural India that lack desks. “That’s what I would love to be a part of—making a real difference using design,” he said.

With a love for travel, Newbold came to Hong Kong by way of the U.S. In his opinion, “Going to Hong Kong or Savannah was in theory the same distance. If I’m on the other side of the United States or the other side of the world, it’s still the other side of somewhere,” he observed. What attracted him to Asia was the idea of being totally immersed in a major international city—not to mention the reputation and global reach of SCAD. This allowed Newbold to build relationships with a diverse set of contacts using the universal language of the arts.

Outside of SCAD, Newbold started coordinating community art projects for the Make It Better program as well as for The Sovereign Art Foundation, both arts charities focusing on disadvantaged children in Hong Kong's Sham Shui Po. He has also volunteered with Society for Community Organization and mentored two Cantonese boys. “We don’t even speak the same language, but we make it work,” said Newbold. In addition, he has gained valuable insights behind-the-scenes of higher education through assisting in the office of student success and serving as the president of the United Student Forum at SCAD.

All of these experiences have contributed to Newbold’s heightened interest in teaching. “I love helping other people, and being able to take my knowledge and experience and give it back to someone else,” he noted. Yet Newbold envisions merging his love for graphic design and education with his culinary hobby. “I would enjoy owning a place where I could do all of the above: teach kids how to bake and cook, and design the materials to promote it. That would merge all of my passions,” he said. The possibilities truly are endless given Newbold’s creative talents and positive attitude.

Sandra Dans
Manila, Philippines
M.F.A., photography, 2015
Excelsus Laureate

I've enjoyed delving into the fine art aspects of photography and using it not just for commerce, but also for its ability to transmit ideas and allow concepts to take form. —Sandra Dans

Sandra Dans is SCAD Hong Kong’s first excelsus laureate, the highest honor given to a SCAD student at commencement. Dans has practiced photography since she was 17-years-old and has worked professionally in the field for the last six years. She decided to pursue an M.F.A. not only to hone her craft but also to mentor young Asian artists through higher education. “I want to work with Filipino photographers and help them make informed art decisions,” she explained.

While studying at SCAD Hong Kong allowed Dans to develop “an international perspective,” it kept her connected to the Philippine art scene. “Whenever I'm back home, I partner with the photography organization at the University of the Philippines Diliman for workshops. I really enjoy the discourse,” she said.

Her visual conversations—the obscure stories in photographic imagery—share narratives of underrepresented voices and document issues of gender and identity. According to Dans, “It’s now suddenly very important that Asians, and especially Filipino artists, make themselves heard, and that we allow ourselves to have voices in a very western centric art scene.” She has also explored more commonplace concepts such as “selfie culture,” and created a series of saintly self-portraits for her thesis.

Besides teaching, Dans desires to establish an artist collective as well as a museum-quality printing business, thanks to an internship at Widerhall Fine Art Photographic. She sent her résumé to Widerhall on a whim and founder Jacqueline Furniss responded immediately. “I learned a lot about the technicalities of producing photographic work,” said Dans. This experience played a big role in shaping her personal art practice. “In the darkroom, print quality becomes very important. You learn to know all of these things about how prints are made and what they should look like,” she said. “My eyes are just a little more sensitive now.”

Students dive deep into Hong Kong's contemporary art fairs


Art Week is the most anticipated time of the year on the Hong Kong gallery scene. This international art frenzy brings together a community of artists and art lovers for a series of citywide pop-up events, opening receptions, and art installations. Savannah College of Art and Design used the occasion, and the convergence of Art Basel Hong Kong with the debut of satellite fair Art Central, as an opportunity to promote the city’s promising future as Asia’s premier international art hub.

In the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental, the official hotel partner of Art Basel Hong Kong, SCAD installed twin kinetic balloon sculptures by alumnus Jason Hackenwerth (M.F.A., painting, 2011). The Aries installation took 40 hours to complete and used more than 3,000 latex balloons to represent springtime and the intermingling of Eastern and Western cultures. The bright, whimsical piece welcomed more than 8,000 guests drawn to Hong Kong for Art Basel.

Meanwhile, SCAD partnered with Art Central as the fair’s official university sponsor to provide educational tours and showcase the next generation of talent alongside international commercial art galleries from across the globe. SCAD’s booth featured the artwork of three notable alumni from the school of fine arts: a site-specific silk flower installation by Gyun Hur (M.F.A., sculpture, 2009), a series of backlit lambda duratrans by Michael Porten (M.F.A., painting, 2012; B.F.A, illustration, 2004), and a large format painting by Jonathan Yoerger (M.F.A., painting, 2011; B.F.A., illustration, 2008). Nearly 4,500 guests visited the booth to see the exhibition, which the artists accomplished by collaborating across three time zones.

Porten designed his light-box triptych in Savannah while Yoerger and Hur, professors at SCAD Hong Kong, worked on-site. Then he traveled to Hong Kong before the fair opened to assemble the pieces and assist with the booth’s setup. Contrasting Hur’s contemplative work and Yoerger’s playful painting style, Porten’s artwork digitally incorporated various visual data to play off of the repetition in pattern and color.

The energy of all three artists working under one roof created a buzz among students, who popped in from day to day to see Yoerger’s progress on Cougar Meets Cougar, an acrylic painting on canvas, inspired by animal-print fashion and MCM accessories seen on the streets of Asia. The openness of the booth’s assembly provided a rare forum for students to critique a professor’s work and Yoerger invited their feedback during the painting’s creation. “Watching the piece unfold made the contemporary art fair and overarching idea of painting very tangible and accessible to the students,” said Yoerger.

The students were able to be a part of the process instead of just seeing the finished piece on the walls of the fair. - Professor Jonathan Yoerger

Hur’s installation, A Replication of My Mother’s Wedding Blanket No. 2, also enlisted the help of students. Together they spent 500 hours plucking, chopping, and shredding dozens of silk flowers that were sourced from local flower markets. Fashion marketing and management student Mashal Mushtaq joined the team after seeing a video of Hur’s installation work.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to experience a project in a real-world environment, and this project is so culturally and personally important to Professor Hur,” said Mushtaq.


Born in Korea, Hur migrated to the U.S. with her parents at the age of 13. She believes art is a means to connect with the past and her former self “left behind” in Korea. “One of the greatest things that art does for us is to explore the emotional aspect of ourselves,” said Hur. While completing her M.F.A. at SCAD, shredded silk flowers became an integral part of her practice, representing the impermanence of beauty, joy, and memory. This eventually evolved into emblematic reproductions of her mother’s wedding blanket, which uses culturally coded colors from Korean ceremonial attire. But the act of cutting the flowers means just as much. “The process itself is repetitive, laborious, and simple,” observed Hur. The artist’s parents are typically the ones who help her cut the flowers. This was the first time she shared the process with her students, conjuring an emotionally charged environment in which they could explore the commercial art world.

Overall, Art Central provided students with access to the art fairs and networking opportunities with experts from East and West. Executive director of SCAD exhibitions, Laurie Ann Farrell, hosted insider tours of Art Central and Art Basel, which gave students a deeper understanding of the contemporary art world and introduced them to industry professionals. It was an eye-opening week for all students involved and provided a global stage for interaction with audiences who may one day return to see these emerging artists display their own work.

Hong Kong's chalk-over


More than 50 student-artists gathered in the north parking lot of Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong to participate in the Sidewalk Arts Festival, a tradition that connects the university's locations around the globe. 



Inspired by nature, typography, comics, Hong Kong culture and more, the contestants arrived with a vision and a plan. They found their assigned squares and their creativity flowed. Throughout the day, 200 festival-goers watched as the artists blended, shaded and sketched their way to cash prizes worth 3,500 HK$, and judges evaluated the resulting 29 chalk art masterpieces.



Let the creativity shine bright like the sun! #scadhk #scadintl #sidewalkarts #festival #chalk #scadchalk

A photo posted by Flora Lee (@scadflora) on


First-time participants Chaaya Prabhat, Arundhati Prasad and Bhavishyaq Sharadhi won the Group Award for their take on artist Salvadore Dali.

“We wanted to draw someone iconic, someone instantly recognizable. We drew Salvadore Dali as his moustache is unmistakable."


Winner of the Spirit Award, Shann Larsson drew the SCAD mascot Art the Bee. "I love the process and enjoy challenges in media," Larsson said of her third showing at the festival. "The stylized bee was a drawing I sketched out in ink on paper and then attempted to recreate with thick chalk on concrete." 



The chalk quickly disappears upon meeting the rough surface again and again. But Larsson and the other winners can use their prize money to stock up on art supplies and chalk in time for the next Sidewalk Arts Festival. 

Building João Vasco Paiva's 'Mausoleum' at Art Basel Hong Kong


When Hong Kong-based Portuguese artist João Vasco Paiva needed a studio assistant to help with a large-scale sculpture for Art Basel Hong Kong, the news spread quickly by word of mouth. Jakarta-born painting student Novita Permatasari jumped on the opportunity. Despite finals being just around the corner, Novita traveled between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China to assist the artist in creating Mausoleum (2015), a massive sculptural installation inspired by ordinary Styrofoam coolers found in local markets. We caught up with Novita to reflect on her experience at the world’s premier contemporary art fair and being in the right place at the right time, as Hong Kong’s art scene is rising.

SCAD: What interested you in studying fine arts?

NP: Fine arts hold so many possibilities. I used to think painting was a major where you spent a lot of money and didn’t receive anything in return. Then I hung around with painters during my foundations year and that changed my mind. Obviously, that thinking is obsolete. Art Basel, for example, is the way contemporary artists sell paintings and how they become superstars. In the fine art world, you get to meet many people and you get to mingle. It excites me.

I like meeting new people from other worlds; I like to learn their cultures. That’s what attracts me. Painting is a way to live freely. - Novita Permatasari

SCAD: What drew you to switch your major from animation to painting?

NP: I took both animation and painting classes during my first year because SCAD students are not limited to classes in their majors. With painting, I can harness more experimentation with real material. I’m okay with using the computer; I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s just that I like to touch things with my own hands.

SCAD: Walk us through your internship experience with João Vasco Paiva.

NP: João derived the idea for Mausoleum from his last show and he just pushed the boundaries. I was involved in the preparation stage. Although the sculpture itself is big, it’s comprised of small pieces: Styrofoam boxes cast in resin. The tape seen in the sculpture looks real, but it’s not real tape. It’s casted. In the casting material, everything is comprised of white concrete. Before he painted it, I had to mask everything to make sure the paint didn’t leak out. So each person could only mask eight to ten boxes per day because they had so many holes. It was labor-intensive. I also helped to dismantle the sculpture. There were 208 boxes that we wrapped delicately, one by one. We started at about 5:00 p.m. when the fair ended and finished around 1:00 a.m.

SCAD: Tell us about your work with Edouard Malingue Gallery, Mr. Paiva’s gallery.

NP: The internship began when I was working with João on Mausoleum in Shenzhen. They needed more hands because of Art Basel Hong Kong. Now I do their design work and assist with the gallery’s social media coverage. I also update artist PDFs and create renderings for clients to show how a painting will look in their home. It’s a three-month internship, but my goal is to work there through August, when the gallery has a show in Indonesia.

SCAD: Describe the experience of working for an international gallery in Hong Kong.

NP: It’s fun. There is so much pressure to get work done, so every day we set targets and keep the social media going. As you know with social media, if you are inactive even for one day interest will quickly decline. You have to keep posting. Writing the blurbs is not as easy as I thought. When you’re talking about other artists, you have to do editorial research on their work.

SCAD: In what ways have these experiences influenced your personal art practice?

NP: If you consider what was shown at Art Basel Hong Kong, art is becoming more conceptual instead of commercial. My art is leaning more towards the conceptual side. I think it’s more exciting. João is really good with digital art. He practices the materiality and form in real life. I like that a lot and I think that might be happening soon in my work.

SCAD: Why did you choose SCAD?

NP: I looked at the rankings of art schools. SCAD was one of the best and has different locations, which was important. Because I live in Asia, Hong Kong is closest. So why not choose SCAD when I can get an American education within Asia?

SCAD: What are your plans after graduation?

NP: If possible, I will stay in Hong Kong. It’s a growing place for art. In Indonesia, it’s super hard to see art because shows are located on different sides of the island. In Jakarta, there are some galleries, but the art center is in Jogja. Here in Hong Kong, you can just hop on the MTR or hop on the bus and see everything. Even in Central at the Pedder Building, for example, you can see at least five different major galleries. The most feasible option for me is to stay in Hong Kong, but not limit myself to other options.

Given her unlimited potential, it’s safe to bet this isn’t the last time that we’ll see Novita at Art Basel.

Whitney Yoerger is a special projects manager overseeing collaborative projects with external partners at Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong. She is also a writer, always in search of stories about talented students and alumni. Follow her on Twitter @whityoerger.

Hong Kong fashion talent on the rise


The rise of the Asian fashion market means up and coming designers no longer exclusively eye New York or Paris as launching pads for their careers. Nor does the industry expect that the next generation will hail from one of the traditional fashion capitols. Think Hong Kong’s Henry Lau. In addition to its proximity to the juggernaut of the Chinese market, for example, Hong Kong is home to major brands like Gucci, D&G, LV and Prada – all of which need new talent to thrive and evolve. And so, along with Henry, executives from giants like Polo Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Shanghai Tang attended Savannah College of Art and Design’s inaugural Hong Kong fashion showcase to see what students there have in store for the industry.

With perennial fashion mentor and "America's Next Top Model" staple Miss J Alexander working alongside them behind the scenes, students sent 30 original designs down the runway.

[R]ight now everyone is running to come to China, because China is a huge market that keeps developing and growing.  –Miss J Alexander

Hong Kong native Janet Wong and Singapore native Dawn Bey, both SCAD Hong Kong fashion students, showed pieces from their collections and worked as dressers backstage, assisting models with fitting and changing garments, accessories and shoes.

Dawn showed a dress from her “Detour” collection, designed to send the message that women can do any job. In this garment, the road worker’s vest was transformed in to a dress, and touches of neon pink pop against a yellow mesh vest and gray skirt that’s reminiscent of cement.

[W]hen it comes to being a designer, you have to think about how your customer will eventually wear your clothes. The show also taught me about styling and how to communicate with people. – Dawn Bey

This look by Janet resulted from an assignment to create a collection that combines sportswear and an ethnic group. Janet merged the sport of hunting with a Scottish theme to create garments made of jersey.

As a fashion designer, it is important to know how runway backstage works. From styling, rehearsal, to the final presentation, each step is indispensable for a good fashion show.  – Janet Wong

Referencing standards of beauty in China and Western cultures, her second look was inspired by foot bindings, corsets and Greek sculpture.

With history and culture serving as the basis for her collections, young designers like Janet will inevitably perpetuate the mounting East to West transfer of influence and style.

Shanghai Fashion Week through student eyes


Sixty-five students from Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong recently traveled to Shanghai Fashion Week and Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics, the second largest fabric fair in the world. The field trip afforded students from SCAD’s fashion, fashion marketing and management, and luxury and fashion management programs in-depth exposure to Asia’s fashion capital and some of Shanghai’s best galleries and creative spaces, including "M50", a contemporary art district on par with New York’s SoHo and Beijing’s 798 Art Zone.

For Singapore-born Dawn Bey (B.F.A., fashion), the Shanghai trip provided first-hand knowledge of how Shanghai’s fashion industry operates, from design and manufacturing, to marketing and retail sales.

If you want to work in Shanghai one day, you have to see it and feel it yourself. Shanghai is where the market is, where the jobs are. - Dawn Bey

Dawn visited the fashion shows of Mainland designers Ye Weicheng and Elysee Yang Guanhua. Her courses at SCAD prepared her to notice both the overall concept and small details of the looks - like how a zipper was done - when models came down the runway. She was particularly interested in noticing new construction and new techniques for finishing garments. Most impressive to Dawn was Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics, where 3,500 fabric and accessory companies from 35 countries around the globe exhibited.

It’s not easy for young designers to gain access to the latest in garment making technology. Attending the shows in person enabled them to grasp the trends better. Selecting fabric samples to take home is another reason why designers-to-be look forward to attending shows.

Student Madeleine Ivey (B.F.A., photography; minor, fashion marketing and management) noticed that the stores she visited in Shanghai were full of inspiration pulled from the runway. Here’s an excerpt from her journal:

The M50 galleries were another amazing part of the trip and one of my favorites. Since I’m a photography major with a fashion marketing and management minor, the YSL exhibit was extremely relevant to me. The photographer featured, Pierre Boulat, made a huge impact in fashion photography, as he was the only photographer allowed to shoot YSL’s first show. This set the tone for his work for the next years of his life. He was also featured in Time and other fashion magazines. It was very cool to see his prints in real life! Although a bit difficult to understand, the Woolmark presentation got me thinking about wool in a whole other light. It was also fascinating to see the 'future of fashion' through just one company, and how they are utilizing their brand for the future. I loved the idea of putting wool into jeans and sportswear. I was blown away by how huge the fabric fair was…literally the size of an international airport! We were able to go to a lot of the stations and see different fabrics and accessories. It was overwhelming for sure! My favorite station was the innovative fabrics. I also thought it was incredible how many companies attended and how many options for clothing and zippers, etc. there were.

Landmark moment for SCAD graduates in Hong Kong


It was a milestone for Savannah College of Art and Design's 35-year history when its first graduating class from Hong Kong walked across the commencement stage.

More than 60 graduates gathered at the W Hong Kong Hotel, which overlooks the West Kowloon waterfront, to celebrate the beginning of a long journey of achievements ahead. Nearly 300 families, professors and supporters of SCAD attended the ceremony in Hong Kong's new art and cultural quarter.

Valedictorian Katrina Teh (B.F.A., illustration, 2014) left her hometown of Manila to study at SCAD in 2011. This is the second diploma that she's earned. Before SCAD, Katrina graduated with honors from the most prestigious university in Manila. Still, she felt there was more she could do to make her passion dovetail with her career. She came to SCAD with a very clear goal of realising her dream of drawing for a living.

“I consciously chose SCAD because I wanted to be technically better as an artist. I came here finding that I was growing up – learning how to be a better person. SCAD opened my life to a world of creative people and great opportunity for growth. ”

In her speech, Katrina also said that at SCAD she found “comrades in art,” like minded students with the same passion for creating things who would go through critiques together, sleepless from tirelessly perfecting key frames, value contrasts, kerning or line quality.

While at SCAD, Katrina exhibited her work widely, received coverage in the Philippine Star and The Hong Kong Economic Journal, and led a team from SCAD to win the 2012 Disney ImagiNations Hong Kong competition. Following her ImagiNations win, she was awarded a trip to Disney headquarters in Glendale, California and an internship at Hong Kong Disneyland. Recently, she accepted a position as a concept designer at Hong Kong Disneyland and will continue to work as an illustrator and painter, as well. Her advice for fellow graduates:

“There is no peak upon graduation, my friends, only an infinite sky of possibilities. Keep moving forward, and never give up.”

Presiding over the commencement ceremony, SCAD president and co-founder Paula Wallace conferred degrees to the graduates. The new SCAD alumni were also addressed in a speech by interior designer Ken Hu (M.A., interior design, 1995), a partner at Chen Chung Design. Ken shared his experiences as a creative professional and told the group what they can look forward to after studying at SCAD.

The first batch of graduates was also joined by Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, a cultural entrepreneur and advocate for art and education in Hong Kong and Asia, as well as co-founder and chairman of Arts in Heritage Research. SCAD awarded Adrian an honorary doctorate degree.

SCAD Board of Trustees chair Albie Whitaker III, board member Chan Lai Wa, Deputy Consul General of the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, Tom Cooney, and Raymond Chan, a representative from Hong Kong's office of the Commissioner for Heritage, were among some of the distinguished guests at the ceremony.




插畫系學士課程學生Katrina Teh今年以優異成績畢業,並獲得代表畢業生在典禮上致告別辭的機會。Katrina熱愛創作和畫畫,於2011年由馬尼拉來港入讀SCAD。她先前在馬尼拉一所大學以優異成績畢業並取得第一個學士學位,但她仍感不足,希望進一步裝備自己,她入讀SCAD時懷著明確目標:將繪晝創作的興趣變成一生的事業。Katrina致辭時說:「我選擇入讀SCAD,因為我希望磨鍊技巧,成為一個更優秀的藝術家。在這裡我發現自己成長了,變成一個更優秀的人。SCAD創造了一個有利學習進步的空間,讓我可以與其他有創意的人連結交流。」

Katrina認識了不少志同道合、同樣熱衷創作的「戰友」同學,數年來一起捱夜、一起趕功課,奮力完善每個技術細節如動畫創作的關鍵幀 (key frame)、明度(value contracts) 、字距(kerning),甚至是線的質量。

在學期間,Katrina的作品有機會於Philippine Star及信報刊登,她並與三位同學組隊勇奪2012年迪士尼幻想工程香港挑戰賽冠軍。他們的奬品是免費參觀美國加州的迪士尼樂園,以及到香港迪士尼接受為期八周的實習生訓練。今年六月畢業後,Katrina將獲聘為香港迪士尼的概念設計師。


畢業典禮由SCAD校長Paula Wallace主持,她並向一眾畢業生頒贈學位和證書。


藝術及古蹟資料研究的創辦人及主席鄭志剛獲頒發榮譽博士學位,以表揚他對推動香港藝術和文化的貢獻。其他出席的嘉賓包括SCAD董事會主席Alan B. Whitaker III及董事會成員陳麗華、美國領事館及發展局的代表。

'Waste to Art' exhibit redefines reuse


One last nod to Mother Earth before Earth Month slips away. Behold the thought-provoking and stunning pieces that comprise the Hong Kong exhibition, "Waste to Art." The show is a result of HSBC's partnership with 29 Savannah College of Art and Design freshmen to raise environmental awareness within the bank's community. In three months time, the students made sculptures composed entirely of recycled waste provided by the bank, including plastic, paper, and electronics. The 23 sculptures, which bear the fruit of the students' diverse academic pursuits at SCAD Hong Kong as much as they do an astute social conciousness, will be displayed at HSBC locations until June 22. Additionally, HSBC is considering adding several of the pieces to its permanent art collection, which includes works by Chinese and western artists, like George Chinnery.

"E-body" by Abinanth Ashok (B.F.A., visual effects) and Mariam Zamani (B.F.A., graphic design). Made of cardboard, wire mesh, cable wires, clock, motherboards and printer gears.

E-body represents a human race that contains electronic parts which many of us carelessly discard. It foretells the future of mankind if timely precautions are not made.

"Lai See/Paper Tapestry" by Rhéa Duckworth (B.F.A., advertising) and Rhea Nayar (B.F.A., architecture). Made of newspaper and shredded paper.

Lai See/Paper Tapestry was inspired by one issue: We sought to portray the falling motion of waste entering the landfill, where 25% of Hong Kong's paper ends up.

"Tech Smog" by Anastasia Simone (B.F.A., advertising) and Jonathan 'Jay' Lee( B.F.A., advertising). Made of keyboards and wires.

Tech Smog represents a sinister cloud because this deadly form of pollution is not often brought to light. It's about treating e-waste like dangerous pollution. We believe recycling is not enough. We don’t really want to make something look like waste. We want to make something that looks like art, not just screaming 'recycling.' It's just there quietly and sends you the message that you don’t really have to think about it.

"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me" by Inga Nelli (B.F.A., painting). Made of steel, acrylics and recycled plastic pellets.

The monumental hourglass, with waste trickling down, reinforces the idea that time runs out as waste becomes a permanent part of our nature. Viewers are invited to invert the hourglass.

"Take-A-Waste" by Daniel Kostianos (B.F.A., graphic design). Made of cardboard, cables and bamboo.

Based on the premise of consuming less and reducing more, this piece is made entirely out of discarded computer cables, cardboard and a pair of bamboo sticks rescued from the rubbish bin.

"Plastic is the New Porcelain" by Dawn Bey (B.F.A., fashion). Made of plastic bottles and wax.

By making plastic bottles resemble modern-day Ming vases, this piece elevates the status of such material into imperial ornaments, leading viewers to reflect on the widespread usage of plastic in our society today. I melted wax and dipped the plastic bottles and coated them a few times until they look really smooth, like porcelain. I made three types of bottles: plain, a layer of rice paper under a layer of wax, and wax printed on wax. All made of classic Chinese imagery like bamboo and plum blossoms.

"SPLURT" by Andre Ho, (B.F.A., interactive design and game development), Ellen Siu (B.F.A., interior design) and Jenn Lam (B.F.A., illustration). Made of shredded paper and foam.

This piece symbolizes the excessive use of paper in Hong Kong, showing that our landfills are overflowing and warning us that it soon may fill our streets.

"Stained City" by Jeselle Leung (B.F.A., photography). Made of plastic bottle labels and steel.

When will we start to take care of the place that we live in? A city made from waste prompts viewers to reflect on how they are affecting the community.

"E Bird" by Wesley Yau (B.F.A., visual effects) and James Hou (B.F.A., fashion marketing and management). Made of wires, metal, and CDs.

We love nature; and since birds are fragile creatures, we have created this bird sculpture to raise public awareness of e-waste harming animals in Hong Kong.