Kelwin Wong

Name

Kelwin Wong

Location

Perth, WA

kelwinwong.com // @kelwin_w // Kelwin.W

Growing up, I was referred to as the ‘bookworm’ of the family. In fact, my guardians used to buy these books called ‘Bookworm’ which were a collection of short stories for children. We also had a Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia set- there was literally no way for me to escape the characterisation! I really enjoyed drawing when I was younger both on analogue and digital platforms. We had an old IBM 486 and I would create my masterpieces on Microsoft Paint. Tragic.

Fast forward, I graduated with a Master of Architecture [Curtin] in 2008. I am passionate about the art of communication, and architecture was one of the disciplines that combined a technical knowledge with artistic expression. This could be in the form of conceptualising a client’s brief into built form such as a house. I apply this skill set in my graphic design practice; working with clients to develop a brand identity and an online communication strategy. I find it very satisfying to be able to reduce complex ideas to clear and simple visuals with rich narratives. I have a copious amount of artline pens and always carry with me a 12 pencil set and various thickness pens in my bag because you never know when you need to sketch something on a napkin for your client.

I love to support our local design scene and keep my eyes peeled for PIAF and Fringe shows, as well as local artist exhibitions and productions.I can never walk into a book shop without wanting to buy something (such is life!), and lose a lot of my life watching flat-lay cooking videos on social media. My guardian was a travel agent and we traveled often when we were younger. Travel is still a big part of what I enjoy; being immersed in another culture is a great way to be inspired and have an adventure at the same time.

Exhibitions

South Perth 2016 Emerging Artist Award - Highly Commended (Local Theme) for Cygnet Theatre, Como.

Western Australia Aids Council - Zero 2016 Exhibition for Kosong (Zero)

What inspires you? Where do you look for inspiration?

Stories inspire me. I think that is what being humans is all about, we live to share stories with each other, to comfort, to learn and to inspire. I look for inspiration everywhere, and my phone is full of photos I take of interesting things I come across. It might be a combination of colours or shapes, a clever pun someone has scribbled on a wall (I love puns!) or even admiring how someone else has successfully communicated a message in their execution of design.

What current projects are you working on?

I work on a range of graphic design projects mostly these days with some architectural drafting and design. In the past year, this has been projects such as branding for a local coffee shop, community choir, a brewery and a florist. I have also done work for primary schools with their internal/external communication packages and even a superhero themed fete. Other projects have included personal commissions for architectural illustrations of their homes- these have been the most fun to do with the narrative I get to build into each illustration.

[Segway now to my current projects] One of the main projects I have been working on since March 2016 is called #posterchallenge. This is an ongoing art series where I post a piece of art (be it a static image, motion graphics or video) every day. The drive for this project was two-fold; one was a way for me to improve my skills to visually communicate concepts and messages. The other was to celebrate the unique lifestyle and built heritage we enjoy in Perth. I never say no to visualising a good pun when this occurs either.

What is special about this project?

Social media has given a real opportunity to leverage a medium for people to enjoy and engage with the content of the project. At its core, the project seeks to highlight a unique aspect about Perth in formats previously not available for audiences to enjoy. Social media is a very rich and interactive platform for content- we can pick from static images to motion graphics and videos to tell a story for deeper engagement. Online discovery is something I wish to encourage, as we have a heap of heritage that has yet to be digitised. If something is not found online from a Google search, there is the danger it will get lost. In particular, my series has a sub-section of architecture projects. This is where I research and visit architectural sites around Perth. I illustrate the buildings with a contemporary aesthetic and sometimes animating them to give them a new perspective. With the architectural posts, I also try to educate by providing a short caption which gives context to the building, its construction style and any known and interesting factoid.

I have also made friends through the project which has just been wonderful.

Where is your favourite hometown spot?


Neil McDougall Park in Como. The park used to be a dairy farm and still has one of the remaining Inter-war bungalows built around the 1930s. I love coming to visit and seeing the animals and the pond change over the seasons. It's good to have a ‘pens down’ session and relax.

What should we expect to see from you in the future?

I do not have an end date currently for my #posterchallenge art series. While I have other projects happening in the background, it has been an enriching experience to challenge myself daily to think and create. I am working towards a compilation of my art series in either a book or exhibition format.