Unlocked Possibilities: Paintings & Personal Stories of China’s Most Esteemed Female Celebs


With all the fame, the money and of course the good looks, it’s easy to lose sight of the hard work that some big name celebrities have put into their careers to get to where they are now.

To honor some of China’s most esteemed female celebrities, renowned Chinese artist Yu Hong recently collaborated with luxury jewelry brand, Tiffany & Co., to create stunning portraits of tennis player Li NA, actress Zhang Zi Yi, and singer Li Yuchun. Each of these women were given one of Tiffany’s iconic key necklaces, which are seen in surprisingly moving interview videos, shot by director Mackenzie Sheppard and director of photography Oliver Miller.

According to Jing Daily, the concept behind this collaboration came from the artist Hong herself, who sought to “forge a relationship between Tiffany’s keys and the audience by connecting the everyday experience of people in China with the stars she paints.” The Tiffany key necklaces, priced between $5,600-$8,700, are also symbolic, in that they represent the “unlocked possibilities” of each of the celebrities futures.

In her personal video, Zhang Zi Yi tells her own story as Hong listens on and gracefully paints her portrait.

Zhang speaks of how she once studied to be a ballerina, then realized that her true passion lay in acting. “When you leave behind what you know to pursue something new, it takes a lot of courage,” she says. She also laments her fear of failure and the struggle she faced in her journey to become an actress. “Growing up, experience tells us that most of the time being lazy or giving up isn’t a choice, because you only have one purpose, and that is to live up to greatness.”

Watch each of the celebrity’s unravel their personal stories in the videos below:



Zhang Ziyi: Portrait of Possibility from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.



Li Na: “Unlock the Possibilities” from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.



Li Yuchun from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.


Artist Turns Children’s Drawings Into the Most Awesome Plush Dolls Ever


There are many, many reasons we want to be kids again. No bills, more time to sleep and no irritating hormones are just a few of these very valid reasons to miss childhood. Well, artist Wendy Tsa is here to add another reason to the list: She can turn children’s doodles into amazingly accurate plush dolls.

This ingenious idea began in 2007 when Tsa made her first softie (yes, she calls them that) based on her 4-year-old son’s self-portrait. Realizing that more parents would want to immortalize their child’s quirky creativity, she created her very own toy company, Child’s Own Studio.

Of course, running this company can be quite a handful. After all, Child’s Own Studio’s official website points out that she is the company’s creator, proprietor, designer, craftsperson, photographer, marketing department, media contact and customer service. I don’t know how she does it all when it gets me tired just reading that sentence.


Artist Wendy Tsa and son.

Artist Wendy Tsa and son.


But to Tsa, it all seems worth it. She has created more than 600 unique and personalized softies from children’s drawings all over the world. Her craft has become so popular that Tsa cannot take orders consistently. She opens up a wait list about once a year and accepts less than 200 of the orders. Tsa recently opened up her wait list a few weeks ago and it already filled up. Fast.

No surprises there. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see their children’s drawings come to life? The price of these very unique softies are about $250. While this may seem rather steep for a stuffed animal, Tsa’s customers definitely think it’s worth it for these quality, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Check out some of her work below and be sure to look into her official website here.


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Step Into Mind-bending Paintings at Hong Kong’s First 3D Museum


Hong Kong, though it be little in contrast to other major cities in Asia, has never shied away from adding fun, creative attractions for its tourists and locals. In fact, the city of 7.5 million already has a Disneyland and an Ocean Park, in addition to its picture-perfect view of the harbor and their bustling, culture-filled streets.

The latest attraction, just added to the city, is a 3D art museum. According to Time Out Hong Kong, founders of the museum were first inspired by an already existing 3D, or “trickeye” museum as they now refer to it, in Seoul, Korea. The Hong Kong artists noticed the popularity of the attraction there and decided to re-create a similar museum in their hometown.


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Trickeye Museum in Seoul, Korea


The concept behind the original museum in Korea was to take one’s experience in an art gallery to new heights — by giving them the optical illusion that they are a part of the actual painting. Painting scenes include everything from a carousel ride at an amusement park to a luscious, romantic garden for couples to enjoy.

With the desire of making their 3D museum even more personalized, the Hong Kong museum’s co-founders expanded the concept, by incorporating scenes of Hong Kong’s history. Museum’s strategy and finance director of the museum, Winston Lo, recently told Time Out, “The other 3D museums don’t have art that depicts local culture. We want to emphasize the fact that we want local culture infused in our artwork.”

But not all of their paintings are historically based; they made sure to cater to just about anyone from age 5 to age 70, with different sections of the museum called “Love Journey” for lovebirds, “Imaginary Wonderland” for more adventurous souls, and “Chinese Culture” as well.

Check out some of the interactive paintings below:







11-Year-Old Audrey Zhang Wins Google Doodle Contest

If you check out Google’s homepage today, you will see the incredible work of 11-year-old Audrey Zhang.

Zhang beat out thousands of other young artists in the Doodle 4 Google competition. The competition was for kids in kindergarten through the 12th grade and there was certainly no shortage of competitors. In total, there were more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and five national age group winners.

The task was clear: draw an invention that would help make the world a better place.

Titled “Back to Mother Nature,” the doodle featured a “water cleaning machine.” The idea behind the illustration was a water purifier that would clean dirty rivers, lakes and oceans.

Not only did Zhang put a smile on many faces, she really did help make the world a better place. In honor of winning the competition, Google donated $40,000 to a charity that provides clean water to schools in Bangladesh. Zhang received a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for her school.

Audrey was asked to spend some time in Google’s headquarters to help turn her illustration into a moving animation. Check it out below:



India’s Very First Street Art Festival Looks Amazing

Some exciting news from the streets of Dehli!

India is showcasing what is being called “India’s First Street Art Festival” in the south Delhi neighborhood of Shahpur Jat. This past spring, the neighborhood hosted a number of local and international artists to paint the walls of their city.

According to Huffington Post, the project was possible with the help of artists, professionals, art school students, and those who joined the Goethe-Institut and the Italian and Polish cultural institutes in Delhi.

“With volunteers, supplies, and a lot of community outreach, the event organizers were able to bring the artists and help get walls for them– an effort which took about a year and a half of serious planning to bring to fruition.”

The project began by asking permission from the locals and wall owners. Because the idea of street art was very new to the netizens, some were confused and even irritated with what was going on.

Thankfully, even more people were intrigued by the idea of street art.

“Once we started, there was so much noise about what was happening,” one artist commented. “People were always looking after you, and looking for you. There were people always around you. There was this kid that would come by almost everyday, just standing there, talking to you about your work.. So there was a bit of buzz around here.”

Soon, the neighborhood began embracing the art popping up on their walls. One artist pointed out that confusion turned into happiness that their neighborhood was helping to build the culture of street art.

Among the various murals set up, there is a portrait of a strong woman which aims to empower Indian woman. The artist notes that the painting represents respect, security and the message that they should be free.

Even more impressive was a piece on the Delhi Police Headquarters. This work, which is the tallest one of the 75 pieces created around Delhi, is a portrait of Gandhi that measures 150 by 38 feet.

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Images courtesy of  © Akshat Nauriyal & © BrooklynStreetArt.com

The World’s Last Women With Bound Feet

The tradition of foot binding is one that is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. The popularity of this practice continued for nearly 10 centuries and it was not until the early 1900’s that foot binding was officially banned.

As you can imagine, the process of foot binding was quite a painful one. Extremely tight binding was applied to the feet of young girls to prevent the feet from growing. To ensure that the foot stayed small, toes were curled inward and pressed with a great force until the toes were broken. As you can expect, infection and lifelong disabilities were extremely common.

Foot binding was a very obvious way of showing status. The idea was that women from wealthy families could afford the luxury of having their feet bound while women from impoverished families could not participate in the practice because it would restrict their mobility to work. Bound feet became a mark of beauty and many women who did not have their feet bound would not be able to find a husband.

The very few remaining women who had their feet bound are now in their 80s and 90s. British photographer Jo Farrell decided to document and celebrate the lives of these women. She has been photographing and interviewing women since 2006 and is currently raising funds to compile her research into a book, Living History: Bound Feet Women of China. Fastcodesign.com‘s Carey Dunne managed to speak to the photographer:

Though the foot-binding process was excruciating, Farrell says the women she spoke to didn’t express anger over their past. “The women know that having bound feet was a part of normal life at the time. It was what was required of them to find a suitable marriage,” she says. Often, women and their husbands took great pride in their tiny feet–the ideal length for a bound foot was three inches. In many cases, foot-binding led to permanent disabilities, but in the cases of the women Farrell photographed, most of whom are in their 80s and 90s, “they get around on their own just fine. Most of their ailments are to do with old age,” Farrell says. If anything, “they feel somewhat ashamed of their feet, as it is a bygone tradition and does not represent modern ways in China. They are a generation of forgotten women.”


Farrell acknowledges that her photographs are shocking and, at times, difficult to look at. However, she points out that we currently have a number of body modification practices which may seem just as bizarre to an outsider’s eye. We have plastic surgery, tattoos, FGM, etc.

“Perhaps her documentation of the painful remains of one culture’s insane beauty standards will help shed light on our own.” Dunne remarks.

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Disney Princesses Re-Imagined with Different Ethnicities

For years, we have hoped for more variation in ethnicity when it comes to Disney Princesses. Don’t get me wrong– we love the current Princesses, but who doesn’t want a Princess they can connect with on a cultural level?

This may be the reason that Tumblr artist lettherebedoodles created a series depicting famous Disney Princesses with different ethnicities.

“I honestly just did this for fun. No political agenda, no ulterior motives,” the artist, who goes by TT, explained. “I just love Disney and chose a few of my favorite characters to alter. I feel like there’s beauty in every racial background, and this is honestly nothing more then an exploration of different races from a technical and artistic standpoint.”

“Fairy tales are constantly being taken out of their cultural context. Most of the fairy tales that we know now were taken out of their original cultural context and altered,” TT continues. “Aladdin was originally set in China. The Frog Prince was Latin, and was altered over and over again in several countries. The stories have been and can be altered in many ways.”

TT also says that the race-bending art was created in hopes of seeing more diversity in our media. Of course, we whole-heartedly agree. Check out the thought-provoking art below:


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Incredible Miniature Art by Tatsuya Tanaka

Tatsuya Tanaka, a Kagoshima-based artist and art director, is quickly becoming a big deal for his project called “Miniature Calendars.”

Tanaka places delicate and tiny figurines with real, life-size objects. He has been able to create impressive and creative backgrounds and settings using these everyday objects. In one photo, pins and rubber bands create the ring of a boxing match. In another picture, the curve of a banana becomes the perfect snowboarding slope.

“Everyone must have had similar thoughts at least once. Broccoli and parsley might sometimes look like a forest, or the tree leaves floating on the surface of the water might sometimes look like little boats,” Tanaka explains on his official website.

His work may be small, but Tenaka’s creative mind has given him giant attention. Tenaka has nearly 14 thousand followers on Twitter and his Instagram, where he posts most of his artwork, has nearly 60 thousand followers.

Step into Tenaka’s creative world with his photos below.

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This Malala Portrait Has An Estimated Value of $80,000

A portrait by one of Britain’s leading portrait painters, Jonathan Yeo, has an estimated value of  $60,000 to $80,000. What’s so special about the portrait? It happens to have one of the most widely known icons of our generation, Malala Yousafzai.

If you don’t know who Malala Yousafzai is, then you ought to learn up. Malala was only a young girl when she became an activist for rights to education and rights for women. At the young age of 11, she began blogging about her life under Taliban rule. This was so powerful that in 2009, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life. Her actions were seen as unacceptable and in 2012, Malala was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunman in an attempt to murder her. The strong young lady survived and continues to fight for what she believes in.

The canvas, which measures nearly one meter by one meter, has been on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

“The funds raised will support the work of the Malala Fund, including helping young Syrian refugees in Jordan and girls freed from child labor now attending school in Pakistan,” said Malala. “I hope that whoever buys the painting knows that their generosity will directly help children in some of the most challenging environments in the world.”

Yeo met Malala back in 2013 and painted the young girl in Britain. “I hope the painting reflects the slight paradox of someone with enormous power yet vulnerability and youth at the same time,” he said.


Time Travel Through South Korea

Korean artist Sungseok Ahn was shocked when he paid a visit to Seoul, Korea. Many of the historical landmarks he had studied about had transformed into bright and shiny skyscrapers over the years.

These emotions inspired Ahn to create the art project “Historical Present.” The idea behind the project was simple. Ahn projected an old image of a popular site onto its current state. The pictures were usually taken at sunrise or sunset when the light is ideal for beaming.

Ahn got the black-and-white photographs of Seoul in it’s former state from an old picture book that was published by the Japanese government when Korea was under imperial Japanese rule. His projections have framed Seoul’s best known and historic surfaces such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Great South Gate.

Using this method of “time traveling” and showing us both the past and present of South Korea, Ahn allows us to “question the way we treat our history and explores the dynamics between space and time at the same time.”

Ahn says this project is about “the “psychological void that emerges as we live our lives forgetting.” He adds that the project is a reminder that “someday…we’re [all going to disappear] likes people in old pictures. Things change and we’re gone.”

Though his words are sad and clearly mourning the past, the photographic in “Historical Present” are nothing short of beautiful.

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