Embrace Your Weirdness and Be Confident About It - Interview with Ikuiku Studio
Not only famous for its Bubble Tea, Taiwan is also renowned for its diversity and equality. Rated as the most democratic country in Asia, Taiwan is also the very first Asia nation that legalized same-sex marriage. That’s why Taiwan is also known as the “Treasure Island” in Asia — it is always packed with the most exciting thing to do and the most friendly people to meet! It’s not strange for one to wonder “What’s it like to live on this island?”
With such diversity, the island has therefore nurtured lots of unique and talented illustrators and Ikuiku is definitely one of them! Growing up in a local village in Taiwan, Ikuiku is a bold soul who is always honest to her mind and feelings. You can also find her work in our latest collaboration in AWW Issue 4, in which she perfectly invents a world of outlandish creatures! This world she creates not only brings our readers laughter, but also pushes us to reconsider “What is a better world?”. Let’s meet this genuine soul and see how she builds up her own world with illustrations!
AWW: What’s the best thing about being an illustrator in Taiwan?
Ikuiku: We can draw and create whatever we like, be it is about sex or religions! Thanks to the pandemic prevention measures imposed by the government, we could still attend different illustration fairs or exhibitions in 2020 and keep creating contentedly.
AWW: Can you share an illustration that best represents you and Taiwan?
Ikuiku: In this illustration, I reimagined myself as a news reporter to tell the world that Taiwan is the first Asian nation that legalise same sex marriage. I think this illustration also symbolises how Taiwan is diversifying gradually, and that’s also what I am trying to imply in illustrations: “A kind of love that is diversified".
AWW: We really love your illustration style so much — it’s both bold and hilarious with all that innuendo and naughty characters. What drives you to illustrate in such a style? What is your favourite piece of work?
Ikuiku: This is the first illustration of Ikuiku Studio, and it’s also my favourite piece of work. It is titled as “Making Love in the Centre of the World”. As you can see from the illustration, two kangaroos are making love in Uluru; there are also nature and animal elements in it. The reason why I love to draw in such a style is because I think it’s a great way to talk about the linkage between “sex” and the nature through illustrations. I hope that one day, everyone can talk casually about sex as if we are talking about what we are going to eat the next day.
AWW: Thank you for contributing to the Social Life Section in AWW Issue 4! The section introduces seven types of quirky people we might have met in reality. Have you ever encountered such quirky people in real life?
Ikuiku: I was born in the countryside of Taiwan and grew up in a very conservative and patriarchal village. Growing up as a kid, I was surrounded by repressed wives and their violent husbands. Sometimes, you could even witness villagers poison stray cats and dogs, and also banners promoting homophobia everywhere. For me, these behaviors and mindsets are really absurd and scary! And that’s what drives me to spread the idea of gender equality, diversity and animal protection through illustrations.
AWW: Can you recommend 3 illustrators that you want to collaborate with or follow closely on Instagram?
AWW: Okay, so here comes the last question, which animal do you think that best represents you and why?
Ikuiku: I guess it’d be dolphins because they know how to please themselves! (News has reported that dolphins would use dead fishes for masturbation!)
To find out more about Ikuiku Studio, please visit the artist’s IG account | @ikuikustudio
All images provided by Ikuiku Studio.
About We Love Milk Tea Series
Since showing up on social media in 2020, #MilkTeaAlliance has been around for a while, and represents a shared love of tea drinks in Hong Kong (Milk Tea), Thailand (Iced Thai Tea) and Taiwan (Bubble Tea)! But the similarities are way more than that. Yes, people from all 3 cities love traveling and sharing their experiences, but there was also the way the youths were suddenly thrust into the world’s eyes as well. You could say that tea drinks are a powerful symbol of emotional connections and support!
This summer, we’ll be introducing the beautiful souls we met in these 3 cities. Let’s see what made their creative souls rise and shine!