For the 3D motion graphics designer and artist, Stephy Fung, the Jo Malone London Spring Artist series was an opportunity to explore the culture of Ancient China. “My family is from Hong Kong,” says the British born Fung. “And I find that my art is a way for me to reconnect back with my Chinese roots.”
She created 3 abstract animations each inspired by a different Tang Dynasty poem: ‘Dreaming of the Southern Shore’ by Bai Juyi (772-846), Happy Rain on a Spring Night by Du Fu (712-770) and Written in a Village South of the Capital by Cui Hu (772 - 846). Fung was drawn to poems which romantically evoked powerful visual images of spring.
“ ‘In Dreaming of A Southern Shore’ he talks about the sea and the riverside flowers being ‘redder than sapphire’.” says Fung. “Each of the poems describe a very different idea of spring, and it was important to me that when I read the poems that there was something for me to visualise, so that I could imagine where the poets were and represent it in 3D.” She also worked with the London sound design studio ‘Sounds Like These’ to create the aural backdrop to the animations. “I wanted to represent each poem in a sensual way, so that it's almost like you’re there and the poem is speaking out to you through the animation.”
Fung believes that more diversity is needed in an industry still dominated primarily by white men. “There’s not a lot of females, let alone people of colour,” says Fung, whose work often depicts a kind of retro-futuristic, cyber fantasy take on classical China. “Unless you're actually from China you won’t really see these kinds of images,” says Fung on her desire to combine ancient Chinese art with the modern medium of 3D animation and design. “I want anybody new to the industry to see that there is space for this type of work because most of it still usually involves things like skulls and cars, or 3D mechanical animations.”
Fung made the most out of the lockdown of 2020, using the extra time to learn more about her heritage and also to share her passion for 3D design by building an online community called 3D wizards: “I started being more active on social media and created this community online to connect 3D artists like myself, and we have over a thousand members now who all want to help each other and build our skills together.” The arrival of spring is doubly joyful, because it also coincides with Chinese New Year celebrations: “I guess it’s a cliche but spring is a time of new beginnings and celebrating with family. It’s a kind of reset for everyone.”