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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Switching to tumblr

Hey guys, it's getting more and more difficult for me to manage all the social media. It also seems a bit redundant to have 2 blogs going on at the same time. So I am officially switching to tumblr : http://victongai.tumblr.com/

I hope that's not too much a pain for y'all and you would continue to support my work on tumblr! Thank you so much for the love!  It's been a great ride here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Portrait of Alan Taylor




A full page portrait of Alan Taylor for aiCIO. Alan Taylor is the senior manager of DENSO. He carried out a complex reform which simplified and de-risked the company’s balance sheet. 
Big thanks to AD SooJin, always a pleasure to work with!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Casserole- New Yorker Fiction Illo

I have a full page illustration in the current issue of New Yorker for a Thomas McGuane fiction.  The story is about a childless couple who journeys to the family ranch of the wife’s elderly parents to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. 

I wanted to illustrate the following scene as it foreshadows the crumbling relationship between the 2 characters. 

"While we crossed, my wife stood on the ferry deck looking out on the river, smiling and sighing at the clouds of swallows circling the current.  I told her they were just after the bugs... I’ve long had trouble with people picking out some detail of the landscape and pretending it’s the whole story, as though, in this case, the blue light surrounding these speeding birds could do anything about the desolation of the country north of the river, a land I traverse holding my nose."



"The Casserole" is a very powerful story and I was thrilled that this assignment fell on my lap - do get a copy and check it out! Big thanks to AD Chris Curry!!



(As you can see in the sketch the steeling wheel is on the right side in the sketch - coming from Hong Kong, I still get confused about that from time to time...)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cost of Cool

"Cost of cool"- Cover illustration for yesterday's NYTimes Sunday Review. The article is about the terrifying damages AC is doing to our environment : "We can't live without AC but we can't live with AC." Many thanks to AD Erich Nagler!!




(Thank you Yuko for the photo!)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Overloaded

A piece for the July/Aug Planadviser mag about having too much information to process. Really happy to be in the same issue with my RISD homies - Dadu ShinWesley AllsbrookRobyn Ng and Jing Wei
Thanks to the one and the only AD SooJin, who makes work feel like play. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Museum in a Vault



I get to draw a lot of glowy things lately! This is a cover illustration for yesterday's New York Times Sunday Business section. The story is about the Geneva Freeport - the largest impregnable storage operation for art collectors in the world. "How much art is stockpiled in the Geneva Freeport? Nobody knows...it is widely believed that there is enough art tucked away on the premise to create one of the world's greatest museum." Read the entire article here
Thank you AD Minh for such a fun assignment!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Late Night Food Hunt

A series of illustrations for Avenue Magazine (Canada) about finding good late night food in Calgary. Thank you AD Anders Knudsen!




Monday, July 9, 2012

Pocket Watch

A piece in the PLANSPONSOR July! This piece is about "Watching your pocket/saving with the amount of time till retirement in mind';  we decided to run with the pun:"pocket watch". Working with AD SooJin  is a blessing as I always get to sneak in subject matters I love into the assignments. I am such a sucker for clockwork and mechanical watches. 

ADs, please keep hiring me so I can burn my cash on a Blancpain moonphase one day... 



(The sketch was flipped to work better with the right-facing layout in the final. ) 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Antibalas Portrait, New Yorker

I have a small portrait piece for the Afro-pop band Antibala in the latest New Yorker mag! I really enjoy the festive rhythm and energy in Antibala's music, thank you AD Jordan Awan for matching us up!




(Thank you my friend Daniel Fishel for spotting it in the mag and sending me this photo!)

Happy Weekend!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Internet Distraction for the NYTimes




This piece was in yesterday's New York Times about "dealing with internet distractions" (story of my life), read the article here. I had tons of fun coming up with all the internet creatures. Thank you AD Minh Uong, always a pleasure to work with!

The Facebook "like" machine.

Twitter bird vomiting out smaller twitter birds. 


E-mail robot.

Whats-app and youtube. 



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Blind, Leading

A full page illustration for the International Herald Tribune quarterly magazine- the global Edition of the New York Times based in Paris.  It accompanies a personal account by a Chinese writer, Bi Feiyu, on the life and dignity of the blind. How they see better than "normal people" in the materialistic and vulgar society we are living in. In particular, Blind masseurs-the subject of his latest book. 

Here is an extract -'I was born in 1964 and grew up during the Cultural Revolution. I saw many big-character posters that were often used for rabid attacks, and I witnessed many public denunciations. The red terror in those days was of course delivered through whipping and beating. But more often, it was delivered through violent language. When I was small, I thought my father’s name was Father. One day, in the roar of a public denunciation, I learned otherwise: An old lady said to me, “Did you hear that? They’re shouting ‘Down with Bi Ming.’ Bi Ming is your father.” (Read the full article here. )

This article is very powerful to me on a personal level. My grandmother was a high-school president during the mad years of Cultural Revolution. She was prosecuted for being the "intellectual class", which was propagandaed to be the major thread of the country. I grew up hearing stories about the public denunciations, and how ethics and etiquette, which was once the core value of Chinese society, went down the drain. 

I have much pride in our long history and rich culture and it hurts very much to see, in Mr. Bi's words, "The China of today is moving forward… toward money. Every coin has become a rolling wheel, and to chase those wheels we no longer care about civility. We behave like hysterical people barking out dirty words on the street — every single word that comes out is covered with obscene saliva. Our economy is booming. People will do anything to strike it rich. This is a time of shamelessness. Whoever is mindful of the shamefulness becomes a loser." 

I am glad I got to work on this project. Thank you AD James Eric Jones!





Thursday, June 21, 2012

Utopia for Frogfolio

Every year Dellas Graphic launches a calendar project called the Frogfolio which led to tons of award-winning pieces in the past 16 years. The past talents include Brad Holland, Etienne Delessert, Chris Buzelli, Yuko Shimizu, Sam Weber, Sam Bosma, Jillian Tamaki, Bill Mayer, Ellen Weinstein, Joohee Yoon.etc. It's a great honor to have my name be part of the artists I highly admire. 

The subject matter is completely open (as long as there is a frog in the picture), so I took full advantage and had tons of fun working on this piece. Thank you AD Jim Burke for having me on board!!


"Utopia"

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

Detail 4

Detail 5

Monday, June 18, 2012

MacUser interview

I have a 5 pages feature interview in the latest MacUser Magazine, check it out! Thanks you AD Camille and Editor Kirsty for inviting me to be on board!


Here are some extracts from the interview- 

1. What was your first Mac?
iMac G5

2. What is the current Mac you are using?
iMac 27"

3. What equipment do you use apart from your Mac (peripherals etc)?
Wacom Tablet, Canon Scanner, Epson Stylus Photo Printer

4. What is your favourite current software programme and what was the
first programme you used?
Favorite - Adobe Photoshop First programe used- Microsoft Word

5. Can you offer any tips for success?
"It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be"-Paul Arden

6. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Architect, because I love LEGO.
Archaeologist, because the Jurassic Park was so cool.
A lyrics write, because I was an emo teenager.
I have always enjoy drawing but it took me a while to wrap my head around the concept of "getting paid by having fun", that just didn't seem right.

7. How did you get your first big break?
When the piece "the New Standard" was selected into most of the prestigious competitions and illustration annuals (Society of Illustrators NY, American Illustration, Communication Arts, Spectrum and 3X3), I started getting a lot of attention from art directors and followings on the internet.


8. What or who are your influences and inspiration?
Growing up in Hong Kong, I was largely influenced by Asian arts and crafts such as Nianhua, Chinese ink scrolls, Lianhuanhua and Japanese Hanga. Attending college in the States exposed me to works by Western
art masters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Antoni Gaudi, William Turner, Norman Rockwell and Al Hirschfeld. Now I am constantly being influenced by people around me, things I see and music I listen to.

The most influential person to me is my college portfolio professor Chris Buzelli. He said -” Style is overrated, it’s merely a habit of drawing. Everyone has a unique style because everyone has a unique life” This made me realized being honest to oneself is the key to bring out the unique voice in one's work.



9. What mistakes have you learned from?
 "Don't confront the clients, dance with them."- Chris Buzelli.

 10. What's your ideal project?
I would LOVE to work on an animated MV for Daft Punk or Bjork.

 11. Tell us something good...
Listening to Daft Punk and eating peanut butter jelly sandwich (the guilty pleasure can be boosted by adding a slice of provolone cheese) when pulling an all-nighter.

 12. What's your favourite gadget and why?
My iPhone, it allows me to stay in touch with my clients anywhere anytime. This is especially important for the same day turn-arounds like the New York Times. Also, I can throw some birds at pigs or cut some fruits when I need to let off some steam.




Thursday, June 7, 2012

3x3 Gold Medal!!



GREAT GREAT NEWS GUYS!! This piece was awarded GOLD MEDAL from the 3x3 Annual Illustration Professional Show this year!  (Click here to read the original post about this piece.)

Charles did a really nice write up about the judging process here and you can view the complete winning list here
It’s big honor to be included in the show, needless to say being a Gold Medalist. I didn’t think this could happen, not even in my wildest dream. When I received the email I couldn’t believe it so I wrote back asking if they have made a mistake. I am glad they didn’t.
Thank you again to the one and the only AD SooJin Buzelli and the all judges. Congrats to all the winners!
Happy almost-Friday! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Cobol Braindrain

This cover illustration is for the latest ComputerWorld magazine. The story: when the last Cobol programers retire, 50 years of business processes within the softwares they created may be lost. I was playing with the term "braindrain, and came up with the idea of a giant creature mourning over the lost of his precious programer blood from his third eye (the gateway to higher consciousness and knowledge). 

Initially, the editors were a bit concerned the image may be too bloody. Big thanks to AD April Montgomery who fought for the idea as she was insightful to know that my style would balance out the gore factors. We also decided a more robotic form would address the concern. Nothing beats working with someone who speaks the same visual language.

I love April's layout and type treatment and am very happy with how the piece turned out.  
This is one of the projects that made me go -" I get paid to have this much fun? Life is pretty sweet!"

Happy Memorial long weekend guysss! 





Monday, May 21, 2012

A few small llos

Here are some small illos I did in between bigger projects, I had lots of fun with them and it's quite refreshing to work with organic forms! 

"Tai-Chi, the moving meditation", a half page for the St. Louis Magazine. Thanks AD Rachel Harris!


 "Funny money", a spot for a very interesting story about all the confusions and problems before U.S. currencies were united for Bank Simple Blog. Thanks AD Mae Saslaw!
"Code for America", a spot for Honolulu Magazine. "Code for America" is a new kind of public service which helps the governments of it's partner cities work better with the power of web. Thanks AD Cody Kawamoto!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Meltdown in Motherland for the NYT

I did this quickie (one day turn around) for the New York Times Op-Ed anxiety section the past Friday. The story is about postpartum anxiety/depression, you can read the story here. It was not the happiest story/image for the Mother's day weekend, but I really wanted to give my mom a hug after I finished this piece. A big shout out to all the moms: thanks for everything, you are the best! 

Many thanks to AD Alexandra Zsigmond!





Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My first sensual experience with the New Yorker

How often do one get to draw a full page sensual piece for the New Yorker magazine?
I feel super luck-out being ask to illustrate this piece for the fiction "Sweet Dreams" by Peter Stamm.
The story is about a young couple living together in Switzerland. This is the scene I was given to work on:

She went to the bathroom, filled the tub, and got undressed. The mirror misted over with condensation, and the smell of pine needles filled the air. She turned off the water, and the apartment suddenly seemed very quiet. Then she heard footsteps, and Simon’s voice through the half-open door. He said, I’ll just go downstairs for the bottle of wine. I thought you’d gone already, said Lara, and she poked her head through the crack, and he kissed her on the lips and tried to barge the door open, but she held it shut. They kissed again. See you soon, said Lara. It was odd, she still felt a little ashamed in front of him.

final

    layout

ink


sketch


I had so much fun and I think this is one of my recent favorite works. Big big thanks to AD Jordan Awan and Chris Curry!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

T cell for the New Yorker

My first piece for the New Yorker magazine!! This image is for an article by Jerome Groopman about how T-cell from our immune system could be the game changer in fighting cancer. 
The New Yorker has always been one of my dream client, I can't possibly tell you how thrilled I was when AD Chris Curry gave me this assignment!! Thank you Chris!  


(Photo courtesy: Daniel Fishel)