Following the pen, doodling on and brewing tea. Antonia Mak, enjoys the simple things in life to spark her creative flame.
What’s your story?
I am the founder of Flabjacks Studios. A multidisciplinary creative studio based in Shanghai and Hong Kong that specialises in chubby art forms.
I always loved art and never stopped drawing. I completed my degree in Anthropology at the University College, London and eventually went on to become a strategist in advertising. The crazy hours at this wonderfully creative environment led me to start a-doodle-a-day project to make sure I gave a mini-moment back to myself everyday. It ended up being a pretty meditative and motivating journey. I couldn’t stop there. I wanted to create something bigger. So, that was the beginning of Flabjacks.
What excites you most about your industry?
Freedom! I get to draw and make fun things happen for a living. Being able to create content that is different and memorable is super exciting. What I love about the industry is how open and refreshing it is; new tools, channels, concepts, and ideas are exposed everyday. Everyone is creating a baby creation of their own in unique ways.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Hong Kong, and grew up between Hong Kong, New Zealand and United Kingdom. I had a nomadic upbringing, but home will always be Hong Kong. These days, I live in between home and Shanghai.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
For now, Shanghai. I love the space. There is so much physical room for creativity in China, it feels like anything can be made on the fly. And yet there is such an insane appetite for new ideas. It’s oozing with momentum and drive for new experiences. Ultimately, I want to work in other cities in the future to explore new territories and spaces to work with.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There is no one single best-ever advice, since there’s been so many positive influences in different areas. One that really stuck though was a quote from Steve Jobs that one of my super mentors back in advertising sent across when I told him I wanted to resign; “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Who inspires you?
My mother is the one to thank for my creativity. She was a bit of an unintentional hippy. She never gave me pressure about school stuff and supplied me with loads of funky art supplies. She inspired me to try all kinds of mediums and would drag me to awkward life drawing classes after school. She’s an amazing lady.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Identity theft in the online world is legit, and so very scary. You hear about it but never really learn about it until it hits you in the face. Now, I am trying to be much more alert with online shopping.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Honestly, nothing! Being in the present and looking ahead is the way forward. Especially now that I am running my own gig, there is no room for being worked up by the past. All I can think of is what I want to do next, and any mistakes that I have made have always been great learning experiences.
How do you unwind?
Follow the pen. Doodle on. Brew some tea.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I am still on the lookout for a favourite! Every two years, I go on a yoga retreat and try out a new spot. So far, I have been to Thailand and Philippines for a bit of zen time.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I love fictional stories. They take me to a whole new imaginary world, with imaginary characters that inspire me. Recently, I picked up a good old classic, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and it taught me a lot of simple steps on how to keep myself happy, motivated and disciplined in my day to day work.
Shameless plug for your business:
Flabjacks Studios is a multidisciplinary studio that covers a various scope of work including illustrations, creative concepts, product designs and installation art. All of which are based upon a series of chubby creatures in an imaginary wonderland. For more information, you can visit www.flabjacks.com
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>