18
Sep
07

Wanted: Chinese Creatives

Phillip LimPeter Somanna sui
Photos of fashion designers Phillip Lim, Peter Som, Anna Sui from Patrick McMullan from NYMag.com

By and large Chinese ministries, organizations and culture rarely recognize the role that creatives or creative professionals have in shaping the world around us even when the Asian design aesthetic has been so influential in recent years. Creatives are professionals/workers in art, design, advertising, marketing, and communications. They are the designers, writers, directors, architects, fashion designers and more. They are thoughtful and sensitive to how people think and live. They’re great strategic thinkers. They walk to the sound of a different drum. They design and communicate. What they do serves people.

Great design always connects with people. Designers inspire, provoke, validate, entertain and provide utility for people. To truly connect, designers need to have compassion and empathy for their audiences. Designers need to understand the relationship between what they produce and the meaning their product has for others. And they need to observe the people they are designing for in their own environments. – AIGA

Attach the word “design” or “award winning design” to a product and it instantly becomes a coveted object of desire. Target has really capitalized on this ethos with their mantra, “design for all”. We now believe that we can achieve better living through design.

US companies are quickly realizing that they must adapt cross-cultural strategies with creatives being key to reach key markets in China.

“Being a graphic designer in a global economy requires you to think about cultures and communication in a whole new way. Designers are now required to not only be thoughtful, but also sensitive and strategic in their thinking around cross-cultural design. As China opens up, and the economy there expands, we expect to see more work like this. In other words, we are keeping the Chinese type on our computers.” – Design Student

RED Network is an Asian design collective of creatives with bilingual and bi-cultural backgrounds focused on developing culturally appropriate products and business strategies. The network consists of Kaizor Innovation in HK, Y Studios, and culturalANTENNA in North America. Companies like these are quickly becoming hot resources for Western companies to reach Asian markets both in the hotbed of China and stateside. I’m sure we’ll see many more.

I wish we’d see these type of partnerships and innovative strategic thinking in the Asian Church. I wish more that Chinese churches would embrace and value creatives. In most Chinese families the creative professions or arts are not encouraged as a career choice for their idols, I meant to say children. Typically, it becomes a choice through years of outright or suppressed rebellion, when they’ve had it with their major or day job or when they’ve finally made enough money.

Creatives don’t quite fit in with your traditional immigrant church set up. It’s too stuffy. Second generation creatives most likely leave the immigrant church because they’ve may have been chastised for their non-traditional thinking or worse for their choice of clothing and hair color. Their career choice appear to have little value for the world. Parents offer critical or strange glances in passing. They’re “creative” and traditional church leadership doesn’t know how to work with that. Creatives, your artists, are generally not folks who like to conform but they have very keen insight into life. We need creatives in the church.

What if Chinese churches partnered with the creatives in their congregations? What if they partnered together to reach and shape the culture around them? What if second generation creatives helped immigrant churches with their websites?

What if. Just what if.

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2 Responses to “Wanted: Chinese Creatives”


  1. September 25, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    LT — Great thoughts… I love the quote you pulled about design and communication. I’m not sure what it would look like, but there is definitely a larger role for creatives to play in the future of the church than just, “Can you whip up a pretty website or Sunday bulletin?”… Yes, what if?

  2. 2 Kirby Leung
    September 29, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Creatives in the church. Good thoughts man. One of the guys in my small group works for Phillip Lim for the women’s line. Personally not a fan of Lim’s collection, but I digress.


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abcpastor
[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
[i]
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
[ii]
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
[iii]
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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