~ Preface 序言 ~
“Craftsmen and Crafts” is a personal photography project. The purpose of this project is to document and to showcase why and how creatives create. More importantly, through the project, I hope to inspire creativity in this seemingly mundane world. By this August, it’ll be 2 years since I started the project. Now I’m feeling a strong urge to share because I owe an answer not only to my guests, but also to myself. So here we are. Please let me introduce my first guest, Zovi!
“匠与艺” 是一个个人摄影项目。这个项目的目的是为了记录和展示创作人为何以及如何进行创作的。更重要的是，我希望通过这个摄影项目给这个看起来很平凡的世界带来一些灵感。到今年 8 月将是我启动这个项目的第二年了。近来有一种分享的冲动，因为我不但需要给受访者们一份答卷，而且还需要给自己一份答卷。来吧，让我来介绍我们的第一位嘉宾，Zovi！
~ Introducing 隆重介绍 Zovi ~
I first met Sophie Ong (aka. Zovi), as a speaker in Shanghai about 5 years ago. After her talk, I was intrigued by her stories and I wanted to know more. Before I started the project, I actually had doubts that people may not be interested in what I do. Typical self-doubt, you know! But her enthusiasm for the project has slowly turned my doubts into confidence. Thank you, Zovi!
大概 5 年前，我和 Sophie Ong (小名 Zovi) 是在上海的一个演讲活动上认识的。我对她和她的故事都非常感兴趣。在我开始这个人物专访项目之前，我还怀疑是否有读者对这样的文章感兴趣。你也知道，这是很常见的自我怀疑！但是是因为她对这个项目的热情把我的怀疑转化成了动力和自信。谢谢你，Zovi！
Now that it’s been almost two years after my first interview with her, I think it’s time to transform the project into something more solid and meaningful. She now lives in New York City and is no longer in Shanghai. Let me tell her story through my lens.
Born in France with part Chinese heritage, Zovi is multi-cultured and multi-talented. She has that bright and positive aura around her. Though shy in front of the camera, she has plenty of stories to tell, but I have to earn them!
~ A Passionate Illustrator 一位热情的插画师 ~
To illustrate is to narrate with something visual. And an illustrator is to tell a story with drawings. After finishing her study in business majoring accounting and Chinese, Zovi came to China going back and forth between Chengdu and Suzhou. Then she started working in marketing for a media company in Shanghai. But she wasn’t happy with that job, so the idea of becoming an freelance illustrator sprouted in her. Some friends told her it’s too risky, but she decided to take the leap of faith. “I’ll try it for three months. If it doesn’t work out, at least I won’t have any regrets.” It’s been 6 years already. I think it’s the right decision for her and she’s been enjoying the journey so far.
插画是一种视觉艺术，而插画师的就是用插画艺术来和大家讲故事。Zovi 大学学的是会计和中文。学业完成后到在成都和苏州之间来往。随后到上海在一家传媒公司做市场工作。但她做得并不是很开心，也是这个时候一颗做自由插画师的种子在她脑里扎根发芽。她的一些朋友劝她做插画师太冒险，但她最后还是踏出了冒险的一步。“我觉得还是试一试吧，最起码试三个月。要是不行，至少我将来不会有遗憾嘛。” 到现在算来已经有 6 年了，我想她当初的决定是对的，她自己也蛮享受这个创业的过程的。
I’m very curious about where her inspiration comes from. Maybe there’s a go-to place for her to create? “Usually it comes to me at pretty random times. The problem is that I don’t always have a pen and paper to write it down right away. Sometimes I do it when I’m at lunch time at work. Sometimes it happens at home. I have a little veranda where I can open the window. And I really like to draw there, it’s nice and quiet. I can be anywhere to draw, but the veranda is my go-to place, because all my tools are there!”
关于灵感的来源我是比较感兴趣的，那 Zovi 的灵感来自何处呢？是不是有某个特定的地方会让她觉得更能够启发灵感呢？“通常情况下灵感来的比较突然比较随便。我也不是随时随地都有纸笔在我身边。有时候上班中午吃饭的时候我会画上一画。有时候是在家里的一个小阳台那里。开着窗户也很安静，我比较喜欢那里的氛围。基本上来讲我在哪里都能画，但那小阳台是我首选的地方，因为我所有的插画工具都在那！”
I’m passionate about and there’s something magical about it! You can convey so many meanings through comics. Some people think that it’s just for small kids, but we’re all kids at the end of the day, aren’t we? It’s a very intricate form of visual and text. Unlike video, you can go back at your own pace and look at the details. And there are many Easter eggs hidden here and there on purpose, waiting to be looked at more closely and discovered by the readers. When they find them, they’ll feel rewarded!”
Illustration doesn’t have to be on paper, it can also be on walls. Shown below are Zovi and fellow illustrators at 2018 Concrete & Grass Music Festival:
插画也不一定要在纸上画，墙上也可以画。下面是 Zovi 和插画同仁们在 2018 年混凝草音乐节上：
As a visual person, I couldn’t help but notice the tattoos on her arms. She now has 10 in total. “I did my first one in Chengdu,” she said to me cheerfully. “And they’re my first drawings. It’s just natural for me to have them as my first few tattoos. They’re here to remind me that I was a different person before. As I continue to grow and evolve, my point of views may change and I may forget or choose to forget to who I was, so I want to have something there to remind me. You have photographs to do that and I have tattoos.” When I asked further about the meanings and stories behind the tattoos, she kindly reclined. And I respect that, it’s too personal to share. But I’m glad I gave me shot. :p
作为一个与视觉工作相关的人，我忍不住想问问 Zovi 手臂上的纹身了。她身上现在共有 10 个纹身。“我的第一个纹身是在成都纹的，” 她高兴地和我分享道。“这些也都是我刚开始画的一些作品。很自然也成为我的纹身啦。这些纹身的目的是为了提醒之前的我是谁。随着我不断的成长和发展，或许我将会有不同的看法，或许我将会遗忘或是选择遗忘之前的我。所以我想要一个可以提醒我的东西。你有照片可以提醒，而我有纹身。” 当我想要仔细问问她纹身背后的意义和故事的时候，她善意的拒绝了我。当然，我尊重她这样做，毕竟是比较私人的问题嘛。但是我还是得试一试。:p
It’s been six year since she took the leap of faith and became an illustrator. I’m very curious to find out how she feels about her journey so far. She said, “I didn’t expect anything in particular, so it’s hard for me to say it’s beyond my expectation. First of all, I had never pictured I’d become an illustrator, you know! The freelancing gives me the opportunity to challenge myself. Because you see, every new project is a new challenge. In fact, I’m leaning a new skill every time. Then I found my full-time job as a comic illustrator when I was still in Shanghai. I’m open to what’s coming next and ready to focus on the ideas that has been around me. For example, I'm working on a comic book about my great great uncle as a missionary in China in the 1920s. But it’s a long-term project and I have so many things on my plate!”
从 Zovi 追求自己插画师梦开始到现在已经有 6 年多了。我很想知道她对自己的这一段旅程有什么感想。她说，“我从来都没有想过自己会走到这一步，所以要说超乎想象也不那么确切。因为首先呢，我自己从来没有想过会成为一个真正的插画师。自由插画师这个角色给予我许多的挑战。因为你看，每个新项目就是一次新的挑战。这样一来，每次挑战就变成了一次学习的机会。我还在上海的时候，随后就成为了一名全职的漫画插画师，时刻都准备迎接新挑战和新想法。比如说画一画关于我的曾叔公在上个世纪 20 年代作为传教士来到中国的故事。这个就是长期的项目了，因为我有很多事情也很忙，时间严重短缺。”
~ A Dedicated “Shaver” 一位专注的 “Shaver” ~
It seems to me finding the time to do all the things she wants to do becomes one of the biggest obstacles for her. “There are many challenges in my craft. The first chellenge is to accept and consider yourself as a professional and not just as an artist. You have to be a different person when it comes to dealing with every aspect of the business. You’ll need to have respect for yourself and for your time. ‘Shaving in the Dark’ Comics Collective also gives me many challenges. I’m the founder, before I left Shanghai I was taking care of many different things. But through managing it, I also met many artists. I think the biggest challenge is time. I want to do so many things, but I only have so much time.”
在我看来，能否找到足够的时间去做她想要做很多事情，成为她工作中最大的障碍。“我的插画事业面临许多的挑战。第一个挑战便是自我认同，自己要接受和认同自己是一位专业人士，而不仅仅只是一个艺术家。在处理各种各样有关工作层面的事情的时候，你必须扮演一个完全不同的人物角色。你还必须尊重自己还有自己的时间。‘Shaving in the Dark 胡子拉碴’ 这一漫画团体也让我面临不少的挑战。我是创始人，在我离开上海之前也在为许多事情亲力亲为。但通过这个平台，我也认识了许多艺术家。我想我最大的挑战就是时间了。我有许多想要做的事情，但是我总觉得时间不够。”
“Shaving In the Dark” is a self-published zine in Shanghai. Each issue has one theme as the main topic for the comics, short novels, sketch & drawing that it collects. And “Drink & Draw”, their monthly events, are the first few sets of photos I took when I started the project. The events have also given me a safe place to gain invaluable event photography experience. Having the point of view as an observer showed me just how much fun the shavers are having! Take a look:
“Shaving in the Dark 胡子拉碴” 是一本上海本土自行出版的杂志。每期都有一个主题，这个主题囊括收集各种漫画、多篇小说、单幅绘画等等。“Drink & Draw” 是这个杂志主办的活动，一个月一次。我也在活动上为这篇采访拍摄了许多的照片。这个活动给到我一个无忧的环境去尽情拍照，让我积累了不少活动拍摄的经验。从一个旁观者的角度纪实，这个活动的参与者们都无不开心而归。有图为证：
And here are some examples of the works from the Shavers’ collaboration:
下面是一些 “Shaver” 共同创作的作品：
Even though Zovi is not in Shanghai, but it doesn't mean you have to stop your Shaving. In fact, their launch of Issue 10 is up and coming! Stay tuned via their WeChat or IG: @shavinginthedark
虽然 Zovi 她不在上海，但这并不代表你的 Shaving 只能停下来了。你不知道吧，他们已经开始在准备第 10 期的发行了！快来关注他们的最新消息吧，微信和 IG 是：@shavinginthedark
~ A Devoted Singer 一位投入的歌手 ~
Zovi draws and she also sings. But she struggles to find time to sing and play music. “Sometimes I just have to kill some of the things. For example, sometimes I wonder if I should stop doing music, but it comes back to me later.” She was part of the “Pourquoi Pas” band with Marc De Vivies, Shengji Zhuo, Etienne Jeanne, Johnny Fei and occasional guetsts. Here’s what I captured from their performance last year:
Zovi 她不但可以画，她还可以唱。但她还是在为唱歌玩音乐找时间而烦恼。“有时候我不得不舍弃一些事情。比如说，有些时候我还犹豫是否应该把玩音乐这个事情放一放，但音乐又会不由自主地找上门来。” 她在上海的时候与 Marc De Vivies、Shengji Zhuo、Etienne Jeanne、Johnny Fei 以及特邀嘉宾们同属上海的 “Pourquoi Pas” 乐队。这些是去年我为他们演出拍的照片：
~ On Support 关于支持 ~
As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of support and help, especially from families and friends. As much as I want to have control over my business, I can’t do it all by myself. I’m very fortunately to have caring people who’re genuinely concern about the success of my career. So who’re these people for Zovi? “Many people have changed my career. The first person who gave me a pen to draw digitally is my friend Karamel. He made me discover a world of possibilities. Another incredible help was Magalie, the one who introduced me to Graphic Recording. Without her, my career will be totally different. Then my exboss, Benoît. He’s an amazing person with both business and artistic sides. I felt very confident working with him. Also my colleagues at EY, who opened up my world and helped me grow a lot. And of course the Shavers, in particular Jay, Jeni and Theophile and all the founders and volunteers. On top of that, there are the amazing musicians of my band, in particular Marc and Etienne, and many other friends who I miss dearly and that I know I'll come accross again!”
同是创业人，我深知特别是来自家人和朋友们支持的重要性。无论我有多么地想要独自地把事业掌控好，但我还是不能凭一己之力闯荡江湖。很庆幸我拥有一帮真正关心自己事业成功与否的后援团。那 Zovi 的后援团里都有那些团员呢？“有许多人给我的事业带来了翻天覆地的改变。第一个给我笔让我能够电子绘画的人是我的好友 Karamel. 是他让我发现了一片有无限可能的新天地。另一个给到我很大帮助的人便是 Magalie 了，是她把 “Graphic Recording 视觉记录” 这一概念介绍给我的。如果不是因为她，我的事业方向会完全不同。第二人是我的前任老板，Benoît。他是一个商艺兼具而且令人佩服的人，和他在一起工作我充满自信。还有我 EY 的同事，是他们给予我一片崭新的绘画天地，也同时让我成长了不少。当然还有就是 Shaver 们了，特别是 Jay、Jeni，还有 Theophile 以及所有的创始人和志愿者们。接下来便是乐队里令人倾佩的各位音乐家们了，特别是 Marc 和 Etienne，还有我极为想念的朋友们了。我知道有一天我们终究会再次见面的！”
~ On Craft 关于艺 ~
I always like to ask people to describe things that are dear to them. Because they know it inside out, it’s so natural to them like it’s part of them. However, because it’s so close, it’s probably also difficult for people to describe them. Then I thought I’d try it on Zovi. Initially she struggled a bit to describe what illustration meant to her. But after some searching, she said, “Illustration to me? Hmm... It’s goofy, because I’m not a perfectionist, otherwise it’ll stop me from doing it. It’s also spontaneous and personable.”
我作采访的时候，比较喜欢让采访对象描述对他们一些很亲近的东西。因为他们对这些东西了如指掌，就像自己身体的一部分。但也就是因为太亲近了，所以突然被问到要描述起来不一定那么容易能想出形容词来了。我在 Zovi 身上试了一试。她刚开始还犹豫怎样去描述插画。但随后她说道，“插画对我来讲？嗯，是兼容有趣和搞笑吧，但因为我不是完美主义者，要不然我就根本不会画插画。插画同时也比较随性还有随和。”
As much as she likes spontaneity, Zovi would also like to spend some more time on each project. “I’d love to work on things for longer period of time, as I don’t take enough time to work on them. I can only do so much in so little time. So I’d love to work on bigger and longer projects.”
~ March On 下一步 ~
It’s a pity that the graphic recording part of the project has to wait till when Zovi is back to Shanghai or us meeting somewhere around the world. She’s now in NYC. The outbreak changed her plan on returning to Shanghai. Her flight was cancelled and now the border is still shut, so staying put is the best option. I’m very happy that we had a video chat catching up a week ago. Knowing she’s staying busy and happily living with her boyfriend, I don’t think life is that boring for her at the moment. She’s also attending an online course for a master’sdegree in journalism. “Journalism improves my writing and analytic skills, which are also crucial to my illustration.” You see, I should push myself even more!
很可惜视觉记录这个部分的采访只能等到 Zovi 回到上海，又或是我们在世界的那个角落见面再继续了。Zovi 她现在人在纽约。疫情爆发改变了她原本回上海的计划。航班取消再加上封关，还是不要乱跑为上策。我很开心上周能与她视频聊天。知道她在努力在忙，而且和她男朋友在一起，我觉得她生活并没有想象中的那么枯燥。她还开始拿了一门新闻学硕士的网课。“新闻学能提高我的写作和分析能力，两样对我的插画事业都很重要。” 你看人家，我还得继续加把劲啊！
Here's her recent work of Graphic Recording on "Future of Food", illustrated via webinar:
以下是她最近通过在线研讨会创作出来的视觉记录作品 “Future of Food”：
Image Courtesy of Zovi 图片经由 Zovi 提供
While she's pursuing her master's degree in journalism, the following two are her recent editorial works related to her study. I quite like the first one.
Images Courtesy of Zovi 图片经由 Zovi 提供
Though NYC is still in lockdown, that doesn't stop her from working and creating. Shown below are her works focusing on children's books and video projects:
Images Courtesy of Zovi 图片经由 Zovi 提供
I’ve known Zovi for 5 years and I’m truly happy that she’s safe and busy! To sum up the project with her so far, I’d say she’s been a positive and encouraging energy for me and the project. I know it’s far from perfect, but I’ll continue to improve my interviewing and documentary skill in order to capture more compelling visual stories. Thank you, Zovi, for being the first “victim” of my project. I wish you my very best and I’ll see you soon!
我和 Zovi 认识已经 5 年多了，知道她现在人安全而且生活无忧，我感到很安心！总结一下专访她的经历，可以说她给我还有这个项目带来了不少的阳光和正能量。专访谈不上完美，但为了拍摄更多的视觉故事，我会继续努力提高我采访和记录水平的。Zovi 谢谢你甘当我专访的第一位 “受害人”！祝愿你一切顺利，我们下次见！
To see more of Zovi's works, you can visit www.zoviism.com or her IG: @zoviism.
欲了解更多 Zovi 的作品，可以登录 www.zoviism.com 或她的 IG：@zoviism