Four entries in for the HP X Adobe collaboration – #HPBACKFROMMAX, one must wonder what the last two creatives are able to put out. From a trading game-card concept that Australia-based Joy Li – entitled “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – created; to character development from Japanese cinematographer – Yoshimatsu “Yoshi” Enatsu; and deep diving into the hidden potential for Malaysian graphic designer and illustrator, Rames Harikrishnasamy; and Tao Li, a photographer/videographer/designer from China – the multi-faceted art-piece has come full circle.
Yip “YC” Yew Chong from Singapore, is the next in line to add in his creative inputs on the #HPBACKFROMMAX concept. Now in a card-sized form factor again, what Tao put together shows that there is really no limit on how far another creative can re-interpret the original idea. His concept – a Thangka (or mandala) that features his illustration and photos he took – confirms that anything is fair game. In fact, the latest input from Tao is unexpectedly different from the first three, taking what Rames put together to the next level. This has left Yip with a lot of options to consider.
Among the choices he can make – adding on to the mysticism that Rames and Tao introduced, to expanding the plot-devices that Yoshi created – YC decided to swing for the fences. Like Tao, the concept from YC for the #HPBACKFROMMAX campaign is a complete re-interpretation.
What YC created is a portrait of a cat as his own interpretation of his predecessors’ work. It’s a surprise twist and, according to YC, it does feature some elements from the other four creatives.
Besides needing to manage campaign fatigue that will set in for primary target audiences, YC had to also manage expectations from various quarters. This includes his own fan-following, the ones tracking this campaign, the tie-in contest participants, and the project owners – namely, HP and Adobe. Beyond this heavy responsibility, other key considerations include needing to ensure there is some form of continuity for the concept that Li created and tying it to both the theme’s growing narrative and his own background, experience, and skill as an artist.
When Tao reintroduced the limitations of a card-game design and monochrome elements with the Thangka he created, he flipped the entire concept over. While creative and insightful of the character that the first three creatives fleshed out, it feels like an open challenge. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that YC must adhere to the rules Tao had set. There are multiple ways to respond artistically, as per what Tao expressed in his own approach. At the same time, YC also needs to keep in mind that his art-piece cannot be so outlandish that it overwhelms the final creative from being able to continue the work.
Knowing all these challenges and opportunities, YC really does have his work cut for him. As a professional illustrator, mural artist, and photographer, he is certainly not short of creativity. Additionally, after seeing the four previous works – he is more inspired to step up his game.
“I am more of a visual person. [Hence,] I drew inspirations mainly from the visuals of my fellow creators’ works. [In fact,] you can find elements of all their creations in my work. [Here’s an interesting insight too], if you put my work side by side with my predecessor, Li Tao’s work, you can see how his Thangka has morphed into a cat!” YC shared.
To illustrate this, a quick video accompanies his finished work on his Instagram post, and it shows how the cat portrait, once zoomed in a little, lines up perfectly with the circular and geometric elements of the Thangka. The very subtle homage can only be seen via an overlay. That is when all the artistic features in YC’s work are found to be in the same positions as Tao’s illustrative work. Similar elements each represent, in some way, the previous art-pieces.
With the cat, it reflects the tigers used in Rames’ work. How it is posed elegantly reflects the deep Buddhism Zen attributes that both Tao and Rames introduced. As for the picture frame, it is a takeaway from Yoshi’s video where one of the personas was seen carrying a blank portrait. The painting of the cat interprets Li’s work in two ways: first, how the artwork is framed plays up the card-game concept; second, according to YC: “Don’t underestimate this “cat” posing like demure Mona Lisa. She has the eyes of the tigers and power of the hidden dragon. Can you spot the dragon?” Apparently, if true, inside the visual is a hidden dragon image or motif.
YC, in his own way, managed to create something entirely new that doesn’t follow the direction set forth by his fellow artists. Instead, with his cat portrait, he created an art-piece that literally pulls elements from the others that came before. In some way, it is like an amalgamation of all his peers’ works that turned out to be something completely different but still ties back somewhat to the source materials.
It’ll be tricky, yet interesting, for the final creative – Singaporean digital media producer, Nick GC Tan – to come up with something that can be both similar or different and somehow tie it back to the main theme. When asked to comment on this collaboration, he said: “We are all excited to see more collaborations amongst creators, especially cross-countries collaborations. There are so much to learn from one another, to discover and reach new frontiers in our creations.”
This artwork is a first for YC to produce on a digital platform. His usual platform of choice is brick and mortar walls and canvases as shown on his website. “I’ve painted many cats on walls as part of the murals [I worked on], but this is the first time I’ve worked on a digital portrait. [Besides taking inspiration from my fellow collaborators,] I painted this concept digitally on a HP ZBook and used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to touch up and frame the artwork. [Personally,] there is no difference between painting with brushes on a wall and painting with the HP pen on Adobe Illustrator. [It’s so similar!] This platform also helped me re-do my old brick-and-mortar artworks as new digital sketches, paintings, and videos, giving them fresh new lives!” YC added.
For those who want to try reinterpreting Yew Chong's concept, there is now a contest running with this collaborative event. Those that submit their works will officially be in the running for the grand prize – a high-performance HP ZBook Studio x360 laptops with a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud license. Here's how you can participate:-
Judging criteria shall be based on the theme's consistency, overall quality, creativity and artistic composition. The next ambassador is Nick GC Tan (IG: @nick_gc_tan) who will be taking part in this challenge soon and you too will have a chance to reinvent his artwork for another chance to win the grand prize!