Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.
In this issue, we welcome Neocha, a creative agency which focuses on Asian art, culture and inspiring things. You can talk to the Asian creatives and learn about Asian creative and youth culture in many different dimensions, art, music, photography, film, literature and more at Neocha. More than just storytelling, Neocha brings the creative ideas and inspirations to the real life. It has collaborated with Lululemon, Puma, W hotel and so on, as well as artists from all over the world.
Let’s party with Neocha in the creativity of Asia.
What is Neocha?
Established in 2006 by a group of Shanghai-based musicians, visual artists, programmers, and entrepreneurs, Neocha has grown to become an award-winning company dedicated to celebrating culture and creativity in Asia.
At the heart of any creative community are inspiring people and places whose stories deserve to be told. Neocha tells these stories to a global audience on a multilingual platform that showcases Asia’s burgeoning creative class.
Nana: Could you please give our readers an introduction about NEOCHA? (Purpose, concepts, messages, etc.)
Adam: Our magazine is all about celebrating culture and creativity in Asia. We give voice to all the incredibly inspiring creative things happening in the region, and the people making them happen. At the heart of any creative community are inspiring people and places whose stories deserve to be told. Our magazine tells these stories to a global audience on a bilingual platform showcasing Asia’s burgeoning creative class.
Besides our magazine, we also have a creative agency servicing brand clients for all sorts of marketing, advertising, branding, design, artist collaborations, content creation, etc. In that context, we are committed to developing and mentoring the creative talent on our in-house team as they grow through their careers.
Nana: Why and what motivated you to initially create the platform and named it “NEOCHA”?
Adam: Neocha, or 新茶, originally derived from the Chinese internet slang niú bī (牛逼), or its more polite version, niú chā (牛X, pronounced Niu Cha, very similar to the pronunciation of Neocha). In a roundabout, both way mean “f*^king awesome.”
The more official translation of Neocha, though, is “new tea,” which is a homage to our signature neo-traditional aesthetic. “Neo” represents our fearlessness in exploring new technologies, new ideas, and new creative solutions, while “Cha” (meaning “tea” in Chinese) honors artistic tradition, culture, and our deep appreciation for the arts.
We started NEOCHA back in 2007 as a platform to aggregate all the wonderful creative culture we were seeing in China and throughout the AP region. At that time, no one was paying much attention to this community. We felt it was under-serviced and deserved more of a footing in China and around the world. Our goal was then as it still is now, to champion local culture and creativity, and support local creative communities in any way we can.
Nana: How do you seek and develop the artists or creative director, work etc.? Are there any special standards for them to be featured by NEOCHA?
Adam: In context of our magazine, our editorial team is always on the look out for beautiful, inspiring creative work. We actively curate and also take submissions. If it moves us; if it inspires us, and it is a story we think the world should know about, we pursue it editorially. The process is subjective and imperfect, but we are doing our best.
In context of our creative agency is committed to develop and mentor the creative talent on our in-house team as they grow through their careers.
Nana: Could you share some memorable and impressed project experience that you had before?
Adam: We love all of our projects!
Maybe a few recent callouts would be:
The retail art program we have been doing for Lululemon is super inspiring and fun. It’s the type of art-inspired brand design work we love as it combines local cultural stories with brand DNA to help our clients connect with consumers in a relevant, meaningful way.
We just designed a product collection with Casetify themed around the 2022 Asian Games. We collaborated with one of our favorite illustrators to bring it all alive…we love being able to bring in outside artists to work on client projects.
We’ve been helping Blue Bottle Coffee with some of its local brand design materials as it has entered the China market this past year…as coffee fans (addicts!) ourselves, this has been a dream client.
Lycra is a long-term client of ours in China and around the world. We recently created a campaign for one of its denim fabric technologies. We themed the campaign around dancing…which can never not be fun!
Nana: Is there some artists and the work that you would highly recommend our readers to check for inspiration?
Adam: Anything we publish on the magazine is stuff we love and think is tops. But some of my personal favorite NEOCHA features include Chinese punk rock band Oh! Dirty Fingers, Japanese photographer Shinya Kawaoto, Vietnamese painter Bao Vuong, Singaporean pixel artist Kenze Wee Hon Ming, Chinese born Canadian electronic musician Yu Su, Hong Kong photographer Tommy Fung, Chinese tattoo artist Chen Jie, Taiwanese film director Hsieh Yuen, and Malaysian voxel artist Shin Oh…more on these below.
Oh! Dirty Fingers,
Oh! Dirty Fingers comes with a rowdy sound that people might not expect out of a conservative country where the most popular genre is melancholic mando-pop. The four-man group is loud, flippant, and uncaring about outside opinion. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/getting-down-dirty/
Shinya Kawaoto produces images of Tokyo in black-and-white that sear themselves into a person’s mind. He plays with contrasts, movement, and gives ordinary street snaps a surreal quality. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/a-split-second-in-tokyo/
Vietnamese painter Bao Vuong also plays with black and white, but his canvases are far more minimal. Through his pared-down compositions of oceans lit by moonlight, he presents a vision of loss and sadness but its all underlined by a sense of comforting hope. It almost feels meditative when you look into at one of his artworks. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/midnight-oil/
Kenze Wee Hon Ming
Simple and lighthearted, the art of Kenze Wee Hon Ming is something that’s just plain fun. There’s a certain nostalgia to be found in his works that feel straight out of a Nintendo classic, and the simple animation that he includes in his art teases at a living, breathing universe that surround whatever scene he may have composed his artwork around. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/pixel-perfect/
Canada / China
Yu Su’s cinematic music blurs genres and borders. With output on labels including Music From Memory and Technicolour, the Vancoucer-based Kaifeng-born artist has established her unique sound; soothing melodies, sleek sound design, and distinctive field recordings. Both her productions and DJ sets carry a lot of references to her own personal experiences, nature, and different sceneries she has found herself in. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/keeping-it-au-naturel/
Photography / Digital Art
Hong Kong photographer and surrealist artist Tommy Fung is one of the most popular local talents on social media, who’s known for his striking photoshopped photos merging reality and imagination. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/surreal-hong-kong/
Tattoo artist Chen Jie creates her art with the pride of Chinese tattoo’s earlier lineage. Her works are a departure from conventional tattoo styles, with an aesthetic that more closely resembles Chinese ink-wash paintings. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/mountain-water-and-ink/
Yuen Hsieh is a video director, visual artist and DJ. Being inspired by rebellious subcultures, anime and video games he creates his own fantasy futuristic worlds. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/todays-youth-tomorrows-world/
Shin Oh, a Malaysian-Chinese artist who aims to preserve the past through a contemporary format in a series titled 126³ Tiny Voxel Shops. She has been given a second life to the old-time shops on her digital canvases. Neocha Link: https://neocha.com/magazine/little-voxels/
Nana: Has any Chinese youth culture or trends influenced NEOCHA?
Adam: Neocha IS youth culture in Asia….we are influenced by it and probably also influencing it at the same time. As a group, we try to open up to the universe and receive as much as we can…and then breathe it back out to everyone else.
Nana: From drinks and calendars to shoes and headphones, as a creative agency, NEOCHA’s products cover all aspects of everyday life. How do you see the relationship between life, art, and commerce, and has it changed for the new generation of audiences?
Adam: The most compelling way to help clients engage consumers is with storytelling and branding that engages both rationally and emotionally. Using locally relevant art and art-inspired content is a great way to do that. Delivering on this is core value we build our agency business around.
Nana: What kind of customer experience does NEOCHA want its audiences to get?
Adam: An inspired, joyful experience…that’s it.
Nana: Can you tell us about the future development and plan of “NEOCHA”?
Adam: Considering the current Covid situation in China, the future is entirely unpredictable…the goal now for the creative agency side of NEOCHA, unfortunately, is to just weather the storm. This is a sad reality that all businesses – big and small- are dealing with now.
Beyond that, we are actively looking for investment partners to help us build the NEOCHA magazine into an even more robust media platform. There are so many more stories that we want to share with the world, but resources are limited. Anyone interested, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Nana: Do you have any advice for people who wants to seek a career in the media industry or build an innovative media platform just like NEOCHA?
Adam: Do it with passion and with partners who have a shared vision. Stay away from overly trendy or gimmicky stuff and instead focus on your core business and core objectives. Be patient and persistent. Building anything takes time…years, in fact. We started NEOCHA in 2007 and we are still working on it!
Do it with passion and with partners who have a shared vision.