Theseus Chan doesn’t give much thought to titles these days. “I started as an Art Director, but more and more I felt that sort of thing pigeonholed me into something and years back I described myself as Creative Director or I’m a Designer, says Chan. “But nowadays I think it’s less and less important for me because I don’t mind having no definition or title. What’s important is the kind of work that you do consistently that will define who you are.” Yet there’s one title Chan has recently been given that’s almost too big to ignore — as lead graphic artist for SCOPES — the internationally-renowned design expert was tasked with handling all the creative and branding for the first ever virtual festival edition.
With Porsche‘s festival going virtual for the first time, Chan took on the challenge of this borderless project, using his expansive title to his advantage, bending the shape of the program and adopting an open-world narrative to reinterpret the essence of SCOPES. Across eight weeks, the virtual festival will host a series of dynamic content with collaborators such as Theseus Chan, the Godfather of Singapore’s graphic design scene, to inspire and unite the region’s driven individuals. Helping to drive the direction of the festival, Chan focused on three particularly essential pieces, which were design, sustainability and the idea of a pioneering spirit. The graphic artist honed in on these ideas by deploying mixed prints and rich textures — assemblage, collage and mass-produced industrial objects — to encapsulate the multicultural influences and the mix of modern and traditional elements in Southeast Asia.
That trailblazing spirit of innovation and creativity has caused Chan to think differently with his approach and given way to his existing iconic artwork.“I believe SCOPES is about what’s next, the next generation,” Chan goes on to explain in his interview with SCOPES. “To me, the project is a contrast — where it is not directly linked to automobile, a model, or cars but rather, the spirit of what Porsche is all about.” And his journey towards becoming the artist he is today hasn’t been without bumps or challenges, as Chan shared that while he has grappled with the pressures of fitting in to the industry’s expectations of the various roles, he eventually learned to break out of these barriers and embrace spontaneity in his creative process. His usage of a variety of art elements not only encapsulates the multi-cultural influences and the mix of modern and traditional elements in the region — like photographing raw materials to create a sculpture-esque piece of found objects or using printing machines in an unorthodox manner in search of unique designs — make for Chan’s witty manipulation of materials and ideas to perfectly embody the creative spirit of SCOPES.
But most importantly throughout the process of putting together SCOPES, Chan has learned to ultimately trust his gut. “When work is concerned, I don’t have any barriers… the method to the madness is that I don’t put [any] rules,” spills Chan. “Art is not about making sense, it’s about a certain emotion, a feeling that triggers, it’s very powerful and it inspires you. It sorta pushes you to say okay I’m going to do it.” To portray that very state of mind, Theseus created a logo that is not fixed, and leaves room for the imagination to wonder as well as potential future collaborations and collations. Throughout the creative process, the curator wandered the streets, taking out his phone to snap flicks of the mundane, everyday objects as collage material: door gates, factories, traditional storefronts, signages before heading back to his studio to collage photos and pieces together again for a mix of traditions, modernity, and multi-cultural diversity.
Check out the video above of Theseus Chan’s interview discussing how breaking boundaries are at the center of his DNA. And don’t forget to tune into “SCOPES: Driven by Porsche” virtual festival from now until mid September for continuous experiential content with inspiring pioneers and creators across Southeast Asia, only on the brand’s website.