Zipeng Zhu is an art director, designer, illustrator and animator based in New York City. We talked to him about self-improvement through work and living every day like it’s a musical.
When I was a teen, all I wanted to be was a Japanese comic artist. Unfortunately, after years of practising, I realised I had absolutely no talent for drawing. But that left me with a huge amount of Photoshop knowledge, so I started to make posters and got absolutely hooked. At that time, I was a biochem student. One day my art teacher asked me if I had ever considered graphic design as a major. The second I learned that I could earn a living making posters, the rest became history.Your work spans many different disciplines. Which came first and how do you integrate them?
I went to college for graphic design. Then I picked up illustration and animation along the way. Lastly, I started to work in art direction. I think my advantage of being able to do different things is not only that these skills enhance each other but also they let me see things from a different perspective.Do you enjoy the idea of wearing many creative hats?
Yes! I love being a “creative octopus”. It makes my days very unpredictable – it’s always something new. I love to keep challenging and improving myself.I love your philosophy to “make every day a razzle-dazzle musical”. Where did this come from?
My name Zipeng means “an exuberant kid”. Plus, I love colourful things and musicals. Why not try to live life like you could burst into a dance number at any point, like in 500 Days of Summer? Why not razzle-dazzle ’em like Richard Gere in Chicago? I feel this mission gives me an intention every day, starting from the moment I wake up.
Walk around in NYC, go eat yummy food and have good sex!How would you describe your personal style?
Colourful, relentless and exuberant.What colours, textures, objects, sounds, smells and environments do you like to surround yourself with?
My apartment is filled with colourful yet random objects. You could call me a hoarder or a collector – I love keeping little things that fascinate me. Often they don’t make any sense and aren’t practical at all. I have a huge amount of clothes and a huge sneaker collection. In my hallway, all my shoes are colour-coordinated. I will put on the kicks that fit the vibe of the day the best. However, visual is usually the only element I focus on. Personally, I really enjoy a silent and scentless environment, but occasionally I light a scented candle, put on some music and chillax.What are you currently working on and what’s next?
A nightclub, a VR game, a musical and my own online store. I’m also
working on a personal project that I can’t tell you about yet. Stay tuned!
Text: Natalie Shukur for FvF Productions