"The thing that drives me the most is being a part of this rise of giving the "made in china" label a completely different meaning. Generation Z is taking this definition to a whole new level in all sorts of industries from tech to art." - CARTA
The 2022 January Digital Cover documents CARTA, Producer/DJ, and Vanessa Wong, Founder and Creative Director of GARMENTS, on the 14th of January in Shanghai, China. CARTA visits the GARMENTS Studio, where Vanessa Wong styles him. Afterwards, they head to the Temple of Light exhibition on the Bund, which is an immersive digital art and full 360-degree sensorial experience, pioneered in Shanghai with roots in Paris. The exhibition uses the latest high-tech projection technology to recreate living paintings.
Disclaimer: this cover is a digital experience bound to real-time events and relationships, therefore cannot be replicated.
For the first Digital Cover of 2022 GAHSP decided to go all the way to Shanghai and meet up with CARTA and Vanessa Wong on a regular day of theirs. CARTA and Wong are both young emerging figures of the Chinese Creative Scene, as well as close friends, often hanging out in the same places with the same people.
CARTA is a Dj/Producer who plays regularly across Asia, and internationally in clubs and at festivals, for example at Ultra Miami, EDC Las Vegas, Tomorrowland and Creamfields UK, to mention a few. "I discovered an interest in dance music when I was about 13/14 and quickly realized that dance music was what most DJs played. So, very organically, I got curious in DJing too." - remembers CARTA. Not long after starting playing on his own midi controller at home, he got bored and felt ready to perform for a crowd. "I was very young, and no venues would let me spin, so I said 'screw it, if I can’t play here then I’ll just do my own events/parties', and frankly those parties got pretty hectic very quickly." In no time he went to selling 300-500 tickets per night outs, which was a big accomplishment, considering his name wasn't established back then, nor as a DJ or a promoter. "Fast forward to now, it has been exactly 10 years already since I started to spin to a real crowd. Honestly, the work/productions I will be most proud of will always be those 'next ones', if that makes sense. Maybe, it is because of ADHD, but by the time every record of mine is out, I’ve at least played it, heard it and tweaked it countless times, so I get bored very quickly."
The friendship of CARTA and Vanessa Wong dates back to when they were just kids. The two were not only neighbours, they even went to the same school sharing bus rides for years.
Vanessa Wong is the Founder and Creative Director of GARMENTS, a streetwear inspired womenswear and menswear label. The brand just released its second drop, yet they already caught the eyes of multiple Chinese musicians and performers, causing a significant amount of buzz within such a short period of time. Psy P from Higher Brothers, HARIKIRI, CIX and Into1 Mika are already fans of the brand, just to mention a few big names. "I don’t have a creative industry background, i just dropped out of university and did my own thing..."-explains Wong who perfected both her creative and business skills by simply 'just doing' and working on her vision relentlessly. She remembers as her "TOP moment" when she finalized the chromosome logo for the brand that you see now on all GARMENTS pieces. Wong enjoys curating the moods that go with the brands futuristic yet casually practical vibe.
THE Qu & A
What are 3 relevant problems that you wish to solve through your work?
Instead of 3 problems, I would tell one and would break it down to three aspects. The issue I personally have, or in fact I think most artists have with their craft, would be to fully be able to express ourselves in our art. Then comes the reality check which would be what's hot in the market and what sort of directions are being accepted. The third aspect is finding the balance/bridge between ourselves and the audience, so hence, why I would say is in fact a correlated problem rather than 3 separate ones. I would argue that by separating it you would create even a bigger issue or disconnection.
Breaking down stereotypes. I think too many people assume things based on appearance, and I hope to change that.
What are 3 values that you wish to mediate through your work?
This is an easy one, positivity, love and unification.
To be proud of, and own up to everything that we put into this world. And to Love.
What is it like to be a Creative in China, or more specifically in Shanghai? What does it take to “make it” in the industry?
I wouldn’t consider myself to have already made it frankly because I’m a very ambitious person and I’m far from where I would want to be or my goals. However, being in this creative field right now, at this time in Shanghai is honestly very exciting, a lot of opportunities, things are changing very fast and that motivates me a lot. The thing that drives me the most is being a part of this rise of giving the "made in china" label a completely different meaning. Generation Z is taking this definition to a whole new level in all sorts of industries from tech to art. Being able to be in this wave is honestly fascinating.
It takes ambition, bravery, and defintely agility. hahahha
The Digital Cover was shot on the 14th of January, 2022, documenting a regular day of CARTA and Vanessa Wong.
The first set of images were taken in the GARMENTS studio. Vanessa, please tell us about what that place means in your life and what it could potentially mean in the future.
We have quite a small and intimate team. We basically work from a home studio, with a full kitchen and everything, sometimes we make food together. It's also just a hub where everyone we work with come and hang out too, the space is personal to us. Once the company grows, we will probably plan to move out, just like a kid growing up and moving out of home, haha... I hope that no matter where we go, we'll carry the vibes of this studio with us! Also having dogs around work is nice.
The second set of images capture CARTA and Vanessa during the car ride to the Temple of Light exhibition. A question to both CARTA and Vanessa: is this a common way to get around in Shanghai? How do you perceive the city and use it as a Creative on a daily basis?
I think in a city like Shanghai, with such infrastructure, you honestly don’t need to drive a car to get around, from public transport to didi it all comes in very handy, so yes, I would agree that this is a common way of getting around. In terms of inspiration for creativity, I think it comes from everywhere and all sorts of elements, you can’t structure the ideology of how inspiration comes, it simply just happens, when, at the end of the day, you are in the right state of mind. That could be affected by external and of course internal reasons. Growing up here and having the familiarity of the city definitely gives me the comfort and back bone to be able to create more freely but I can not pin point to a specific matter.
Not one place is the same place without the people in it. I like to watch people and to document through photographs. I have a tuk tuk that i always move around in, it feels really nice, in touch with the local, and also dodges the traffic.
The last set of images were taken at the Temple of Light exhibition. What is the role of such venues and events in the local creative community? CARTA, please tell us about the cultural scene and the nightlife in Shanghai.
I think, the role of such venues to me it means the possibility of infinite. It could mean a whole new way of art exhibitions, branded events, or for example, the moment I walked in, I already knew that I needed to do my own party themed event there because it brings the show to life. It's a whole new way of experiencing a show through the music combining it with lights and visuals, and such places are popping up more and more, so I cannot wait to foresee the future of nightlife and how it will evolve.
Volume V, Issue BLASTED.
Creative Direction: @juliahorvath.concept
Written and edited by Julia Horvath
Image Courtesy of GAHSP Media