Remember that childhood fantasy where all the seemingly lifeless things start to chat and move about the moment you fall asleep? Shanghai based artist Ton Mak makes visual art that says: let that fantasy run wild. Her first solo exhibition FLABJACKS: FANANA in Shanghai’s M50 is a celebration of chubby bananas that have a spirit and soul of their own.
Born in Hong Kong and growing up somewhat nomadically between Asia and New Zealand, Ton graduated from University College
London with a major in Anthropology and worked a stressful advertising job in Shanghai before taking the leap to become a full-time doodler.
From the little cartoons Ton used to draw for her former colleagues, a series of chubby and friendly creatures living in an imaginary wonderland began to take shape. FLABJACKS were born. Today, as part of the ongoing series, Ton playfully fuses the FLABJACK characters with the curvy banana form in FANANA. In transforming the super mundane fruit form into a world full of life, Ton creates
a space for giggles and smiles.
FLABJACKS can have a seemingly homogenous look—quirkily rotund body, fat lips and a curiously ambiguous face. But upon closer inspection, we find exotically contrasting personalities and human emotions from joy and excitement to angst and confusion. Like us, FLABJACKS come in various styles and moles. “The moles are important,” Ton said, as they are a living reality that we cannot escape.
But most importantly, all FLABJACKS are “bouncy + soft”, and full of good vibes.
These chubby characters have appeared on Ton’s canvases and even made their way onto products like greeting cards, tote bags
and T-shirts. Currently, Ton is working on giving them a more tangible presence. Expect FLABJACKS you can poke, squeeze, hug
or simply hang out with in the near future.
Making the yellow fruit come to life and express like humans, Ton playfully explores the mystical yet inevitable connection between
objects and people in a wonderland of creativity.
Enjoy more photos from the exhibition below!