Q&A with Ton Mak of Flabjacks
Posted on May 20 2017
Hello Ton, could you tell us a little about your background?
I am a visual artist from Hong Kong, based in Shanghai. I grew up somewhat nomadically between New Zealand, England and Hong Kong. My favourite food forms are mochi, sweet potatoes, turnips and a bit of yam is nice too… I love root vegetables. This information is important because it inspires what I do in big ways. I draw chubby and strangely shaped creatures for a living.
Who are Flabjacks
FLABJACKS are a series of imaginary characters in my head. They often have a rotund body, fat lips and occasional a mole or two on their faces. And even more often, they have a happy and friendly energy about them. I hope.
These days, FLABJACKS work on various artist collaboration projects, like… making T-shirts, toys, accessories and fun stuff of sorts. The key is happy art that feels like a nice snug hug.
Who influences your work?
-People and objects I see everyday.
- My mother who loves art.
- Your face. Your mom’s face. Your dog.
- David Choe. David Shrigley. David McLeod. Davids.
- Mundane objects influence my work just as much as important and everyday people do.
Why we always see fat & moles on your characters?
I think fat creatures, personally, make me feel happy. But to be honest, they are increasingly just quirky shaped, as opposed to straight up fat. They come in all shapes and forms. The focus is more on the expression. This kind of shock, joy, mystery and angst within one somewhat signature “look”. Moles are important because we all have them, but in traditional art, they tend to get forgotten. Visuals I grew up with like, Sailor Moon… or even religious images, like Jesus…. they never had moles. That’s more strange really.
What’s your favourite tool in the artist’s box and why?
This one pen I have been using for the past 5 years. 110% loyalty. “M&G”. Perfect lines. 3 HKD. You can get it on Taobao.
What can we expect to see from Flabjacks in 2017?
More toys and huggable things you can poke, push and just hang with. I just launched my first art collectable toy, Dug the Durian. A funky fruit friend (FFF). And more excitingly, exhibitions! I am in the midst of planning the opening of my upcoming solo show in Shanghai “FANANA” at UNDEFINE Gallery (from May 27th to June 27th). I am super excited about this and will be giving away free bananas in the opening show. He he he.
Could you describe Flabjacks in two words?
Bouncy + Soft