100copies is the brainchild of Singapore Creative Director Thomas Yang. An avid cyclist, he decided to combine two of his passions – bicycles and art – into 100copies. All of the products are original designs created by him and are limited to, as the name suggests, 100 copies. Each piece of work is watermarked, labeled with the title and edition number. As such, no two copies are ever completely identical. His latest project Bikemoji is a series of emotion portraits that are most common amongst cyclist. Created using various parts of a bicycle, each poster visually depicts a character in a simple, iconic and interesting way. For his Tyre Track series – New York, Paris, London and Beijing – Yang has been awarded the GRAND PRIX at the ASIAN CREATIVE AWARDS and Award of Excellence in Communication Arts for illustration. Check out the interview and visit his website www.100copies.net to purchase his artwork.
Whom do you look up to?
Noma Bar, who is a very famous graphic illustrator and Paul Belford, a Designer / Art Director / Creative Director currently setting up his own design firm in UK.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
There’s a saying that behind every successful man, there’s always a women. When I started my career, I honestly didn’t believe that. Now, I realise how foolish I was. Not only has she given me great advice in my career, she puts up with listening to my lousy ideas. When I need to stay up late rushing for a deadline, she never once complained. And because I know she’s taking care of my two princesses, I can focus fully on my work. So, to my wife, thank you for everything.
What was your favourite project and why?
My favourite project will always be my latest print in 100copies called “Cyclism”. You have seen many bicycle quotes around the internet. People have been sharing individual inspirational bike quotes through poster. I think I’m the only person who has taken 1-2 months putting 300 noteworthy quotes together. Everyday, you just read a quote from this print and that makes your day.
How did your art career start?
I’m not a full time artist actually. Basically I do have a day job as a Creative Director / Head of Art & Design working in an advertising agency. I’m just an avid cyclist decided to combine two of my passions – bicycles and art – into 100copies.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
The most challenging / stressful time is when I am stuck without any idea for a piece of project. And the happiest time is when I have a great brilliant idea for it.
How would you describe personal style?
Clean, simple and insightful which you can see in most of my works for 100copies. A design is never complete without an idea.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
My favourite one will be Steve Jobs quote : “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.” Always push yourself to the limit and be experimental.”
How do you define creativity?
Creativity is like riding a bicycle. You need to push hard to get from point A to B. On the journey, free yourself to enjoy the process, but never lose sight of where you need to go. The ride is always tough. But when you reach your goal, and see the changes you’ve created all around you, you’ll know every drop of sweat and every aching muscle was all worth it.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
I have 2 advices for those designers. Firstly, always stay open to trying new things. Never be afraid of making mistakes. Instead, be terrified of being boring. Be scared stiff of staying the same. Opportunities are everywhere, but most of the times, we just don’t have enough guts to pursue them. Secondly, always stay humble. You will need to learn a lot of things from a lot of people. You need to discover that people are more willing to help, and to teach, a person they like. And that shouldn’t change even when they have got a few years of experience under their belt. The fact is, everyone likes to work with a nice person. If you can combine humility with talent, with a little bit of luck, I have no doubt that you will enjoy a long and fruitful career.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion of art?
Maybe when I reached design number 100 for my 100copies bike art. Currently at number 25. Stay tuned