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7 global brands who have tapped on incredible Malaysian artists

7 global brands who have tapped on incredible Malaysian artists

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Malaysia is home to many artists and as the world has gotten more globalised, many have attracted the attention of major international brands to reach critical acclaim.

From taking to the covers of comic books, to adorning your favourite tech products, below is a handpicked list of A+M's favourite collaborations featuring local Malaysian artists. 

Don't miss: How Malaysian visual artists stay true to their art while doing campaigns for global brands

1. Casetify 

CASETiFY launched a collaboration with Malaysian artist Chow Hon Lam early this year. The collaboration sees Chow's famous Buddy Gator character fronting phone, laptop and tablet cases, as well as earphone cases and stickers. The Buddy Gator designs are available for iPhone, Samsung and Google Pixel users. 

The collection is an exclusive collaboration and to promote the collection, Buddy Gator and CASETiFY ran a giveaway on Instagram where users had to pick one of the cards in the post and put up a comment.

"Dive into the realm of positivity and cute companions with Buddy Gator, the joy-spreading alligator. Join this excitement and let Buddy Gator remind you that 'it's great to have you around'," said CASETiFY Malaysia in an Instagram post. 

Buddy Gator became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the light-hearted and fun nature of its comics. The comics follows a character named Buddy Gator, or Gator, as on his daily adventures. He makes a few friends that together, engage in activities such as rope skipping, dressing up for Halloween and more.

2. DC Comics 

DC Comics picked Malaysian artist Allan Kwah to design a limited-edition Batman comic back in September 2019. The issue was a store variant commissioned by online store The Comic Mint. A total of 600 copies were made available for purchase across all its partner sites.

Kwah is the comic artist and founder of Komikaki Studio, a comic art and digital colouring company based in Kuala Lumpur. The artist took to Instagram to express his joy at getting to create a comic book as iconic as Batman, and described it as "the biggest news of his career" at the time. 

"Fourteen years waiting for my opportunity to draw for DC and they gave me Batman. It is a good story to tell my future grandchildren," said Kwah in a statement. 

3. Disney 

In August last year, Disney launched its "Create 100" campaign, a global celebration of creativity marketing 100 years of Disney storytelling, in which Malaysian visual artist Red Hong Yi represented the local creative communityRed enlisted next-generation bead artist Danielle Soong to join the celebration too. 

“I have always been touched by the magic of Disney movies and characters since I was a kid watching them with my grandfather,” said Red, adding that she had hoped to be an artist for Disney someday, making her opportunity with Disney a full circle moment.

“Through Create 100 and my love for art, I’m using unconventional materials and storytelling to create an artwork inspired by Disney. Everyone can create something new, so I hope all aspiring creators will continue to experiment and be courageous in putting their art out and telling their stories to the world,” she added at the time.

To kick-off the campaign, Disney worked with Virgil Abloh Securities to reveal a 6-foot structural sculpture of Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey from Disney’s Fantasia at the Royal College of Art in London. The life-size piece titled ‘Structural Sorcerer — a Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Sculpture’ was commissioned by Disney and designed by ALASKA.

4. Maison Martell 

As part of its celebrations for 130 years in Malaysia, French cognac maker, Maison Martell, collaborated with Malaysian textile artist, Marcos Kueh, for a limited-edition release of its Martell Cordon Bleu bottle.

The design, of which only 130 bottles were made available, featured elements of Malaysia’s culture and history. At the heart of the visual narrative is a hot air balloon symbolising Martell’s arrival in Malaysia over a colonial-era landscape mingled with contemporary skyscrapers. The design depicted the progression through the past, present and future in a single artwork.

Sarawakian traditional beads, the Rafflesia flower, and motifs inspired by Malaysian woven textile art have also been delicately integrated into the composition, serving as visual symbols of Malaysia's rich cultural fabric. The fusion of traditional motifs sought to showcase a visual narrative mirroring the blend of history and modernity that characterises both Martell and Malaysia.

5. Netflix 

Netflix collaborated with marketing platform Mash, and Malaysian papercutting artist Eten Teo to create a piece of cultural artwork to celebrate Lunar New Year for Netflix viewers across Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Mash curated a virtual creative studio which brought together seven creatives from its global network, each with a deep and authentic cultural connection to Asia. The final piece was inspired by the artwork of Eten Teo in order to create an artwork that spoke to the true essence of Lunar New Year. Framed by auspicious elements such as fish (abundance), coins (wealth) and peonies (prosperity), the piece revealed a cross-generational family celebrating Lunar New Year. It was a mish-mash of the myriad tiny yet meaningful familial interactions.

The final artwork became a mainstay on Netflix screens for the duration of the holiday.

6. Nike 

Athletic footwear and apparel brand Nike has collaborated with Malaysian designer Vanissa Foo, better known as @humana_art or Humana on Instagram, to release a limited-edition 'Nike By You' collection that pays homage to Malaysian heritage. The limited-edition collection, titled "Nike By You x Humana" features Foo's fictional character Humana and highlights the concept of modernity meeting tradition. The collaboration includes items such as t-shirts and tote bags that can be customised with Humana’s maximalist pop art style prints that sports Nike’s logo and apparel.

“Nike By You X Humana collection highlights the concept of modernity meeting tradition, showcasing Humana’s modern aesthetic seamlessly intertwined with Malaysia’s traditional textile patterns and local heritage architectural elements, resulting in a contemporary style,” said Foo in a statement on Instagram. “The artwork depicts vibrant sports scenes amidst heritage patterns, celebrating the beauty of cultural diversity and the harmony of different designs coming together."

7. TIME Magazine 

In 2021, TIME Magazine worked with Malaysian contemporary artist Red Hong Yi to create a cover for its April 2021 issue on climate change. According to Hong, she and her team spent two weeks sticking matchsticks non-stop for eight hours a day and watched the piece burn down in two minutes. TIME said lighting the artwork on fire represented how the global climate crisis is impacting everyone, no matter where we are.

She explained at the time that the idea stemmed from wanting the showcase a world map where everyone is involved, and if one place is impacted, everywhere else is too, TIME said. At the end of the day, Hong also wanted to bring up the fact that while it can take a long while for something to build up, it can also be destroyed really quickly. The world map is 7.5 x 10-foot and contains 50,000 green-tipped matchsticks.

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

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