November 4, 2013

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DANIEL TING CHONG INTERVIEW

Daniel Ting ChongNew York Mag Icons

Daniel Ting Chong is an artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. He is also one of the artists who did a deck graphic for the new Verb Artists Series 2013 range, which will be here soon. We caught up with him to chat about his graphic and what went into it…

What made you decide to take on this project?

Doing a skateboard graphic has always been a “holy grail” project for me. When I was a little kid, I loved looking at the Birdhouse and Blind skateboard graphics. The colours were always saturated and clean; it really inspired me when I was younger to test out styles and linework. Since then I’ve always wanted to do a skateboard graphic that was officially printed by a skate brand. So when I was asked by Verb to take this project on, I grabbed it with both hands.

Name 1 thing you’ve lost and 1 thing you’ve found, worth mentioning.

I lost this amazing Ninja Turtles watch that had nunchucks for clock hands. One thing I did find worth mentioning was a stack of old Letraset packs.

Tell us more about your artwork. Why did you decide to do what you did? What is the story behind it?

I initially started with a completely different design to the one that is printed. I sketched out an idea of a boy and girl hugging each other on the edge of a mountain cliff. The pose was meant to be very dramatic with the boy holding the girl with her legs curled up behind her. The twist was that in each of their hands they had a knife pierced into each others back. Dramatic right? I liked it because it had the basic idea of lost & found, but with a dark undermining layer. On the morning of the deadline, I decided to change my design completely. I didn’t connect with the characters anymore and just didn’t like it. I then had a more graphic approach of creating intricate twists and curls out of ribbons which represent intersecting pathways. When you have a glance at it, your eye follows certain paths but gets confused by overlapping sections. You almost have to stop, look and navigate where you are again.

You do understand that, through the execution of your artwork onto the bottom of a skateboard deck, most of the replicas of your artwork will be thrown around, and get scratched and broken in the street right? How does that make you feel?

I really like that idea. It’s probably the most embracing thing that can happen to a design, where something totally out of your control changes your design in a organic way. Most of us nowadays design on a computer or sketch something out the way we want it to stay, but I think it is great that something created in a framed purpose can be totally broken and given a tangible path. It’s so boring when work only lives on the Internet, but now it has a chance to never be finished in a sense and always evolving.

Doing a graphic to be applied onto a skateboard deck is essentially just creating an artwork for a different size and shape canvas than normal. What excites you about the idea that your artwork is going to feature on a deck as opposed to doing a regular print?

To reiterate some of my answers, I’ve always wanted to do a skateboard graphic and this is my first attempt so it’s always exciting and fun. More importantly, I’m excited that my artwork will be traveling the streets, kissing curbs, rails and spinning around a lot. I think it’s probably the most fun any of my artwork will go through.

Name 5 verbs that describe your process when you were creating your graphic.

Thinking. Stressed. Creating. Re-Thinking. Happy.

Come see Daniel’s deck first hand at the lost/found exhibition on 28 November…

Some more examples of Daniel’s work:

Daniel Ting ChongStr.Crd Festival Brand Identity

Daniel Ting ChongNike AFCON Tournament

Daniel Ting ChongNew York Times Magazine

Daniel Ting ChongABSA Cityscape

Daniel Ting ChongDTC x RVCA Guitar Show

Daniel Ting ChongDTC x 2BOP

Daniel Ting ChongKidrobot Munny Custom