The Shanghai-based illustrator Popil loves to combine new and traditional Chinese styles in her work
Keep an eye peeled for the impressive work of Chinese illustrator Popil, who has recently signed with the Pocko agency in London. The 26-year-old was named as one of the top 40 creatives under 40 at the Perspective new media event in Hong Kong earlier this year, and already has top clients under her belt including Nike, Elle, Nescafe, Swatch and MTV.
One of her most impressive pieces is Letter Girl featuring Sha Sha, a character she's invented who is based on Popil herself, and appears in several of her works. "All the letter shapes fascinate me, so I had the idea of combining the traditional Chinese gymnastics moves, and yoga, and to use the limb movements of my girl to display language."
"Her posture, movement and expressions represent my feelings, and I like grafitti too," she continues.
The Shanghai-based illustrator's work has graced advertising, t-shirts and luggage, and recently she was commissioned to create imagery to go on Nike sports bras. They wanted Chinese culture represented in the images. Her response was to come up with a fit female character busting through dim sum snacks, with a touch of Shanghai's architecture in the background.
Previously, Popil has worked in animation, graphic design and fashion, and at the moment she's helping her latest top secret client develop their brand. "I hope my painting makes people happy," she says. "In my view, combining traditional culture in my designs with something new and suitable for modern use, is a good way of preserve the traditional."
Hailing from Guangzhou, Popil is part of China's so-called jelly generation - a child of the 80s, when the country got its first jelly factory which was a big deal at the time. Although she loves using contemporary techniques and media, her country's creative traditions are always with her. She's released two books - Old Chinese Stuff and its sequel, Old Chinese Stuff 2.