The #GAHSPclout conversation series aim to shed light on how deeply creative influences affect the thought process of people. Focusing on unique relationships and stories of Creatives, we want to continuously question and update what influences will impact the future.
For our third #GAHSPclout conversation we invited Puzzleman Leung, Taipei based Photographer whose work moves along the lines of fashion, art and culture. Leung's images are easily recognizable from its vivid colors, dramatic perspectives and imaginative storylines, characters, which are filled with a touch of humour and grotesque ambiance.
"After finishing school, I started working as a photographer in Taipei. I had never worked as an assistant, so I had to learn and work in the industry at the same time. I was very lucky to meet many nice people who gave me a chance and let me do many things I wanted to accomplish, especially since I was nobody at that time." - explains Leung when asked about how his journey as a Creative started. Since then, he has worked for clients like CHANEL, Maison Margiela, Nike, TanTan Studio, Vogue Taiwan, Elle Taiwan, GQ Taiwan, Milk x Taiwan, to name a few.
The work that Leung is the most proud of is the work that he did with his friend’s brand, TanTan Studio. "We have been collaborating for over 8 years. We always accomplish some exciting images every season. As we started our careers almost at the same time, it is very nice to see each other grow. We usually do not have any limits for the projects. Firstly, I would propose the outline of what I want to try for the studio, then we would confirm a vision for the shoot after their feedback. The whole process goes very smoothly but there is always uncertainty. It's the new things that I had never tried before which are very challenging."
"In 2017, for the SERIES D, we printed the model's face in the background and used the printed photos as our inspiration. The inspiration came from print advertisement in the cities and everywhere. I was always curious what a print image can do except for just being a still image. So I used it and transformed into something else with the model. It was a nice exploration for us."
What do you think is the difference between inspiration and influence?
To me, influence is like an accumulation, when you read or see enough, then influence will happen. When I am looking at someone’s work, I can tell there is an influence from other people's works. I think that can be called an influence.
Inspiration, however, comes occasionally and you cannot predict that will happen. Inspiration is like when you enter lots of influences into your brain, and it comes when you see something that inspires you, which will be related to the influence. Inspiration is more like a creative way that you can create a new thing.
What/Who influences your work?
My childhood and daily life influenced my work a lot. When I look back at my works, I find that there are many childhood memories inside. From Japanese cartoons to childhood observations, my works have such influences naturally.
Do you ever question if you are being influenced by the right thing/person?
Yes. I question myself everyday. I will be very enthusiastic when I am passionate about something that excites me. After a while I will tell myself to keep a distance from every strong style, it will have a bad influence in the long run. Most good things come from yourself and your story, not influences.
What are outside influences that you try to avoid in order to protect your creativity?
I always try to avoid getting stuck in very popular things that everybody know. When things become public and popular, it means they are not unique anymore.
Interactive Qu & A
Puzzleman Leung invites Meg Lu, Founder of 'Mini Matters', to talk about their influence on each other. GAHSP asked:
How do you influence each other?
We always exchange ideas after watching or reading something. We tell each other what we thought and through that some new things come out, or I will know more about myself at least. For example, when she has a new project for her brand, firstly she needs to get inspired to find her way, at that time, I would give my ideas randomly, just like daily chatting. I always think I am more inspired when I can say whatever I want to, with no pressure.
My name is Meg Lu, I run a clothing brand ‘mini matters’. We are two very different people. I am extraverted, talkative and fast-paced. On the other hand, Puzzle is such an introvert, calm and flexible person. He was quite quiet initially, but I was very curious about his thoughts about photography, fashion, art…etc. Well, almost everything. ( You can tell how talkative I am) I used to be like an interview host because he was not so into talking. Gradually, he shared his opinions actively and that really broadened my mind. These days, we share what we see in books, magazines, Instagram, and Pinterest, anything and everything. Even though we might think differently sometimes, which is still a great creative journey.
Written and edited by Julia Horvath
Image Courtesy of Puzzleman Leung and Meg Lu