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‘Passion’ Category

  1. Eat Meet: FINDARS Founders in Kuala Lumpur

    May 9, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    Comic Books, Illustration, Painting
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    無限發掘 FINDARS


    In Kuala Lumpur, our couchsurfing hosts discovered a group of artists who established a gallery and studio, called 無限發掘 FINDARS, to work together, inspire one another, and showcase their creativity.  It’s a space that’s open to the community and to different types of art, as well as an independent music label and studio.


    It made me pretty damn nostalgic for days spent in the studios at art school, working late into the night with your best mates by your side.  We loved seeing the sketchbooks of painter Beng Tze, who, along with the other founders of FINDARS honed their crafts many moons ago at Malaysian Institute of Art.


    We were lucky to interview one of the founders Lim Keh Soon, who makes some of the freshest (and most twisted!) illustrations I’ve seen.


    How old are you?


    What brought you to KL?
    I grew up close to here and moved to the centre 10 years ago to study.


    What did you study?
    Illustration at the Malaysian Institute of Art.


    So, we are here in ‘Findars’ art space. How did the project start?
    I met Beng Tze and Min Lik, we work together with a few other artists and share the rent for the building. We put on shows when we can. The group started in February 2008. There’s 6 of us – Me, Wong Eng Leong, Wong Min Lik, Tey Beng Tze, Bannai Roo, and Rainf.


    Do a lot of people purchase your pieces?
    We had another space near the central market where people would come in and buy but not so many collectors come to this location because its a bit more off-the-beaten track.


    Have you been able to make money?
    Not so much. We all have other jobs too. I work a few days a week as a part-time teacher, teaching art to 19-and 20-year old students, the rest of the time I spend here as the studio is good for my concentration. I used to work alone at my house but it wasn’t good for inspiration. Around 3 years ago I made a comic book, inspired by Japanese Manga, and published 130 copies. I sold them by myself, mainly to friends.


    Would you say you were more of an illustrator than a painter?
    Yes, but I have always been interested in painting so I have been doing a lot of that recently.


    What’s the art scene like in KL?
    The most happening time is the show opening. They are ongoing but the audience is usually quite conservative.


    Are there lots of artists in the city?
    Not compared with Indonesia, that’s known as an art hub for South-East Asia.


    What is your favourite style of drawing, or thing to draw?
    Characters. Not the normal style of character drawing though. Something abnormal, cut-off or something.


    What’s the inspiration for your current piece?
    Moving here I find I have a proper space to work. I love to see the scenery and sometimes try to include local news. My most recent piece was inspired by the Prime Ministers slogan, “You help me, I help you” I named it “You eat me, I eat you”.


    Is this piece, your painting called “You Eat Me, I Eat You” for an upcoming show?
    No. I plan to do a solo show and possibly produce another comic book this year.


    What materials do you normally use?
    Acrylic paint. I don’t sketch or plan, just go straight in with paint. Most of them I imagine and then paint. For some I use real objects and then paint around it.


    How long do your large paintings usually take to complete?
    Around 2 months.


    How do you know when a piece is finished?
    Well, this one isn’t. I still need to refine. Sometimes it’s boring though looking at the same piece, so I do some drawing instead.


    FINDARS regularly hosts exhibitions and live music at their gallery in Kuala Lumpur.  Fore more information, check them out on the web at the following places.

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  2. EAT Meet No. 1 – Los Angeles Jambalaya

    January 12, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    Photos by Melissa Rachel Black

    Vegan Jambalaya with Roasted Kabocha Squash
    Pencil Illustration
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Chef Tony Yuan, Graphic Designer Ben Azarraga

    Last week, I sat down to interview chef Tony Yuan and graphic designer Ben Azarraga over dinner in Tony’s West Hollywood apartment for The EAT Team’s very first EAT Meet!  Los Angeles is well-known as a melting pot of cultures, as well as a hotspot for vegan/organic lifestyles, so it was very fitting that we chowed down on the tastiest (and admittedly, the only) Vegan Japanese Jambalaya I ever had.  Even better than the food and art was the company.  Both Ben and Tony are creative to the core, and their passion and energy gave me a huge boost of positivity and inspiration.

    The recipe for Tony’s LA Jambalaya and Ben’s original illustration will be available in The EAT Team book.  Keep an eye out for our kickstarter campaign in the next few months, where you’ll be able to pre-order your copy  and get bonus goodies like ingredients mailed to you from foreign countries and signed artist’s prints.

    Without further ado, here’s the interview with Tony & Ben.


    What is your dream work/life scenario?  

    Ben: Owning my own design firm.  I like to boss people around.  I think I see potential in everybody’s work and I’m able to help people develop that.  While I was in school a lot of the students would ask me for help, and I get inspiration from seeing what people do.


    Are you living an awesome life? [Nice question, tony!]


    I’m living the life I wanted.

    Originally when I started school, I was gonna be an engineering major because my parents told me I had to make a lot of money.  All throughout highschool I was good at art, but I thought it wasn’t gonna make any money at all.  It was a big thing with my parents, they were against it initially because of the money but they finally started to support me.

    All I wanted was to be able to make money from art, and I have that now.  Especially with my latest job.. every time I go to work, i feel like.. i like it.


    That is rare and awesome indeed.  How did you get your job that you love?

    Ben: My last job wasn’t as professional as I would have liked, and one day I realized I needed to find a place I was happy to go into.  I know from experience you never feel “ready” to go for your dreams, but I just applied to all these places and got a few interviews with great companies.  I feel like I have a lot to say now at my new job in the designs and we trust each other and they’re confident in what I do.


    What’s the first thing you drew?

    Ben: I specifically remember–it was a superhero.  It was in second grade, and my sister was really mean to me back then, and one day I was crying because I was so upset, and I drew a superhero because I thought I could make it come to life.  I remember thinking, “One day I’m going to be an artist.”  His name was Mighty Max and he had triangle eyes.

    Tony: I used to draw superheroes too!


    Do you like to cook and what about it do you like?

    Ben: Yeah, just the satisfaction of feeding somebody.


    You do graphic design, what else do you like?  

    Ben: I like just regular pen and pencil, just because I have more control over it versus painting.  I tried everything.  I like stuff that tells a story.

    "I'm living the life I wanted."

    What food did you grow up with?

    Ben:  My mom cooked great phillipino food, always two meat dishes and a side dish and rice. In high school I was obsessed with eggs.  My sister and I would always have eggs when we got home and a year later when we went to our physicals, we both had really high cholesterol!  After that we started cooking different things.

    Tony: My grandma cooked a lot of Chinese food.  Living in America is a melting pot though so I had a lot of different stuff.


    What is your food guilty pleasure?  It would probably be McDonald’s cheeseburgers.  I think its because its so soft.

    They have a saying “Never trust a skinny chef” but I did get chubbier after Cooking school [le cordon bleu] ’cause I tried everything and ate late.  I don’t get inspired when I’m cooking for myself.


    What inspired you to cook?

    Tony:  I would say it was a gradual thing, I started to cook for my mom at home.  It started off really slow, like adding my own seasonings to simple spaghetti sauce.  Breakfast was a great way to start because eggs aren’t premade, you actually alter it yourself.  I really like making food for other people, I don’t like to cook for myself.

    OH!  I have a great story!  I was late for one of my first jobs, and to make it up to my boss I made homemade truffles, and the reaction I got, “WOW!  you did that?!” really fueled my desire.  I loved that feeling and still do.


    How do you guys know eachother? 

    Myspace… like six years ago.


    Do you like cooking desserts more or main courses?

    Tony: I’ve been kinda going back and forth with that, cause with cooking you can always add something if it doesn’t taste right, but with baking, if its not done right at the beginning, its ruined.  Cooking is like a different kind of art.  From baking a cupcake to a jumbalaya, its just totally different.  I like baking because I like giving baked goods as gifts, but cooking is great because it brings people together, like parties or families.


    How do you come up with new recipes?

    Tony: I browse recipes for inspiration on the internet, check out the flavor profile and adapt it to fit my likes.


    Why is kabocha in tonight’s Creole food?

    Tony: LA is a melting pot of cultures and flavors and I like to do fusion foods, I like to experiment.  I don’t like to make the same foods over and over.

    Please share with your friends if you dig this post!  Thanks!

  3. Ready Set Go with Rice Paper Scissors

    December 27, 2011 by The E.A.T. Team

    Last week I had the honor of photographing (and eating with!) San Francisco’s first Vietnamese Pop-Up Cafe, Rice Paper Scissors.  Vietnam is one of The E.A.T. Team’s first stops next year, so chowing down with these lovely ladies really got me excited for what my mouth is going to experience in just a few short months.  Seeing this team in action really filled my heart (and belly) with awesome sauce for a bunch of reasons.  Some of them being:

    • Pursuit of passion.  Cofounders Valerie Luu & Katie Kwan just love Vietnamese street food and wanted to share it with the world.  They blasted through the fear of “will this work?” when thinking about starting their food biz and set out to make it happen.  In addition to “popping-up” in various locations throughout San Francisco for public feasts such as these, the girls have a weekly gig at Mojo Bicycle Cafe.
    • Ridiculous tasty.  It’s handmade, fresh, and prepared right before your very eyes.  I got to sample the Rice Porridge (see photo) with juicy chicken and ginger and vegan “duck” Bahn Mi, a popular sandwich on a crusty french baguette with Pate, vegetables like carrots & daikon.
    • Down to earth.  Literally.  One of the defining aspects of Rice Paper Scissors is their small tables and even smaller “little red stools”.  It’s about being close to your food and to the friends you share it with.  It was hosted in the front yard of a beautiful old house right on Valencia Street in a popular district of San Francisco, so passersby couldn’t help but notice the scent and the sight.
    • Down to earth, figuratively.  I loved to see people walking by stop after smelling the eggs frying and the people chowing down, asking “Do you do this every week?!”  It was a flurry of friends, strangers, old, young, new, repeat, and everything in between laughing and eating and drinking.  Simple, unadulterated goodness.
    Stay tuned for The E.A.T. Team’s upcoming interview with Rice Paper Scissors about food, life, and following your dreams (via your stomach).  They’ll be one of the first contributors to the recipe section of the book as well.
    See all the photos and find out how to dine with Rice Paper Scissors here.