In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we welcome CROSS STUDIO, a platform which brings emerging artists from the West to Asia through all forms of art products and exhibitions. It breaks through geographical distances and limitations to lead western artists to Asia and creates more commercial possibilities in the art world. This innovative business model will give you a new perspective on the relationships between art, fashion, and commercials. In this issue, you can find the founder of CROSS STUDIO, Mr Ken’s vision on Asian art development, the NFT world, business idea, etc.
Nana: Could you give us an introduction about you and CROSS STUDIO?
Ken: I am from the advertising industry and have been working in digital marketing for the past 20 years. I have my own digital marketing agency in Mainland China and Hong Kong, and connections with media, fashion brands, etc. Back in 2016, I met my coworker right now from the art industry. We make use of our strengths individually, and CROSS STUDIO came out.
We bring a lot of emerging artists with a high potential to succeed in the West to Asia and utilize our relationships and networks with the brands to provide them with some opportunities to come over to Asia to have collaborations and commercial cooperation. Because we have a big office in China, as you
probably noticed, there are so many manufacturers in China. With these factories’ resources, we are working with some artists to make their thoughts and inspirations come true. We also promote them to do different types of commercial corroboration with brands.
Nana: Why and what motivated you to initially create the platform?
Ken: 16 or 15 years ago, art is not accessible to a massive audience. People usually just went to shows, galleries, museums etc. But from what I can see for the past 10 years, it becomes more and more accessible and to be appreciated widely. Based on that situation, we came up with the concept. It also inspired me to work with more artists, linking up with brands to collaborate.
Nana: How do you seek and develop brands and artists?
Ken: From my own perspective, I’m always looking at the business opportunities, to figure out how these artists can be fit into business world. And my coworker, who will give us the art perspective, then we combine the opinions to decide the artists that we think is suitable and has high potential.
Nana: In what way do you promote CROSS STUDIO?
Ken: I think social media plays a major part in our promotion for sure. On the other side, as I mentioned, because of my background in advertising, we do a lot of features, such as HYPEBEAST, and many other media in Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as in Japan. Combined with all the resources
we have; I think this is what we do for promotion. But still, social media is the major path.
Nana: Which Asian country or region do you like the most?
Ken: I am from Hong Kong; this is definitely my favourite place. I also like Taiwan and Japan, especially Japan, many fashion brands there I like, such as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, comme des garcons etc.
Nana: Could you share some memorable and impressed project experience that you had before?
Ken: In terms of outcomes, we have done a really good job of working with famous American artist, Steven Harrington, who is from L.A. We had the pop-up store working with INNERSECT in Shanghai. Also, we had a big launch event last September, which offer the place for the artists and audiences to share inspirations together, and there were almost 300 people joining us. We could have gathered more audiences if there are no restrictions on COVID-19.
Nana: Do Chinese young generations become more and more interested in the art industry and buy art products?
Ken: Yes! They are becoming more sophisticated in looking at art. They know how to appreciate art instead of just following the trends. There are always lots of art exhibitions in Shanghai or Beijing, so many people go there.
Nana: From the past project, there are many collaborations of Bape, MEDICOM TOY, etc. with artists in CROSS STUDIO. How do you see the relationship among art and business?
Ken: For the past few years, we can see a lot of brands collaborate with art. I think this won’t end. From my experiences in working with so many brand marketing agencies, they are always looking for new ways to display their pieces and products. And artists can offer them the platforms because art can be anything. It can be sculpture and space of any different creativities. Art and business, they will be getting closer and closer to becoming better together.
Nana: What is the most challenging experiences so far for CROSS STUDIO?
Ken: I feel one of the most challenging parts of things we do is managing the manufacturing. Sometimes the quality of the factory is not as good as we thought. So how maintaining the high quality of products is one of the most challenging parts for us. For example, we had an artist who really needed ceramic products, but it is hard to find an expert to handmade massive numbers of them of good quality. These years, we tried and failed so many times to be able to work with reliable factories for us.
Nana: Can you tell us about the future development and plan of “CROSS STUDIO”?
Ken: Starting from last year, we have been doing some projects on NFT, and linking some artists to be involved in brand NTF projects. We are trying to not only stand on the NTF side but also bring business collaboration projects to the NFT world. As I mentioned we are not physically limited to Asia, we also wish for more totally different types of audiences, such as in the NFT world.
Nana: The NFT audiences, they are almost from U.S. and Europe, or many of them are from Asia too?
Ken: Now, U.S. and Europe are really sophisticated. In Asia, India, Philippines, Korea, and Taiwan are very sophisticated too. Japan is a little bit slow. But it will become bigger for the whole world, not only in certain regions.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to build an innovative platform like “CROSS STUDIO”?
Ken: I think one of the most important things is observation. You need to digest and understand what is inside when you look at the world. Linking all the things together and becoming potential business models. My knowledge of digital marketing, my coworker’s art vision, fashion etc., all these elements combined and finally become CROSS STUDIO. After going through failures and trials, we are in a good shape now.
You need to digest and understand what is really inside when you look at the world.CROSS STUDIO