Much of what inspire me comes from my explorations of NYC. Lately I realized that my trips to asian towns outnumber all the other trips I’ve made, and here I am ready to share some of the thoughts I collected along the way.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many asian people in one place at one time? Besides the Latino community, there are K-town, J-town (which ironically is located on St. Marks), Indian town, and 3 (!) China towns. For minority of different ethnicities, going to theses places is like taking a pilgrimage to the land of promise, the promise that you should never forget where you come from and you can always leave with a happy filling of good foods.
Img: Drying incense on the street.
One of the most inspiring scenes to see in and around these towns is street art: whether it is graffiti, installation, “founded” sculpture, or hand-sinage. Blame it on the blooming economy and the loose security of these upcoming neighborhoods, more street-artists find ground to express themselves. In turn, these works of art become tourist attractions which then pull in capita and green cash ( no credit card in asian town , pls. ), a win-win situation, a rare combination.
Image: Graffiti seen from the 7-Train to Flushing, Queens
Food in Asian towns unexpectedly and surprisingly become sources of inspiration for me. Now you may ask what foods have to do with art and design? Consider colors, user experience, product design, and sense of discovery.
Image: Jigae in K-town, USA
You will discover yourself all over again, whether you walk into a Korean restaurant off 34st-Herald Square or a Yaki Tori shop on St. Marks. The restaurant attracts both locals and tourist alike, therefore keeps their businesses growing with a strong base.
Image: Fishballs Sticks in Flushing, Queens.
This is an example of how businesses do not have to compromise customer-loyalty for production cost. If you want to know how efficient a Chinese man can be, look at the way his food is put together. Take this fish ball stick as an example: not too many, not too few, the size, how long the stick can stay in the sauce before the product value decreases, the interactions while handling the food, … The only thing I have not done is to bring a ruler with me to see if there is a ratio applied to the placement of the fish balls.
Things are the way they are for a reason, and if you would just pay attention and look around, you will find yourself covered with inspirations. For me, some of the most treasured inspirations were obtained through experience. So next time you come around, let’s take a pilgrimage together.