KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — If you’re feeling the Monday blues or dying from boredom, maybe all you need is a quirky dose of MADical TRICKment?
Founded by former classmates Boon Hwee Tay and Hew Zhi Ying as part of their entrepreneur design final year project at Dasein Academy of Art in 2016, it is a conceptual art brand that was created to bring joy to people’s lives through imaginative creations.
Your “medication” is prescribed via witty copywriting, bright neon colours and even wearable merchandise such as silkscreened T-shirts and tote bags. There are also postcards, stickers, name cards and hand bound notebooks.
They also have “body parts” such as “brains”, “heart”, “kidneys” and so on. These designs are multi-functional with a playful touch.
Open each “body part” to discover a happy surprise... candies and stickers that will “cure” your boredom or even stress.
Once you’re finished with your “treatment”, the items can be used to store your jewellery, coins and other knick-knacks.
Surprisingly, people do buy the “body parts”! “We had a ‘heart’ but it’s sold out. It was actually made of clay and we spray painted it. The ‘body parts’ come in different colours actually, not just blue,” said Tay who also recommends that the container be used to grow plants.
They have an original series where they feature themselves in giraffe masks in a number of playful poses. There is also a food series where they depict items like fish, pizza and also other illustrations.
According to them, MADical TRICKment appeals to both men and women; the T-shirts and tote bags are their best-sellers. Most of their products are affordably priced — RM1 for a sticker up to RM30 for a T-shirt.
“Our concept is something like a clinic, we want to treat anyone who’s unhappy or taking medicine because of sadness.
“Maybe the person might be negative so we want to encourage people to change their minds without medicine to treat themselves,” said Tay.
The name for the brand was chosen because it means “mad trick”, something funny to improve the mood of their customers.
He adds that, “Before that we never worked together, then we realised we can create something crazy... that’s why we came up with this.”
The duo unveiled the products at an exhibition called Folio Fest at their alma mater. With a neon setup that was set against dark surroundings, their exhibit resembled an experimental lab project with a twist of humour.
Right after the project, they decided to continue it as a hobby... as a way to release their stress.
Known for wearing their signature giraffe masks, Tay explains that while researching their college project, they found out that giraffes are like designers. “We chose giraffes because we think it can represent designers. Giraffes only need very few hours of sleep one day,” said Tay.
“We really need that skill,” laughed Hew. These 22-year-olds enjoy things that are humorous so that’s why they can get along.
Tay works for Kongsi Design studio, started by sisters Cheong Zhi Ling and and Cheong Zhi Ying, while Hew works for a publication company where she does magazine layouts.
Occasionally, they join selected bazaars to reach out to their customers since they do not have an online or physical store.
Moving forward, Tay and Hew have plans to do something new with MADical TRICKment. A lot of stuff have sold out since the inception of the brand.
“We like to do something funny and crazy,” said Hew. Both of them are inspired by a Taiwanese designer named Aaron Nieh. Hew describes Nieh’s work as minimalist and Tay likes him for his conceptual work.
Nieh is also well known for the design of Hebe’s yoga album (Hebe is a Taiwanese singer who was part of a music girl group called S.H.E). “His concepts are very clean and clear,” said Tay.
For Hew, she is inspired by the work of photographer Dom Sebastian as it is “weird” in a good way.
As both of them share the same ideas and inspirations, it has helped them with their collaboration. “We go through many discussions, want to do many funny, funny things and that is how we came up with these ideas,” said Hew.