PING HATTA

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Senior Editor | Claudia Marabita
Fashion Editor | Beatrice Marucci


Humour, women, and fashion. Her graphics are a visual tale of modernity, with a bit of Thailand, a bit of New York and an inspiration from the everyday life. The young designer - and much more - Ping Hatta speaks about her art, the beauty of living-in-the-moment and a year full of action, and she gives some tips for loving ourselves just as we are.

Anna Sui FW 2018
Ping Hatta
Indian ink, markers on paper
9 x 12 Inches, 2018

Your illustrations are marked by exaggerated lines and bright colors, halfway between street art and a child's drawing. How much is there of yourself as a kid in your work, and how much of the adult Ping?
Creating art is a form of expressing my humor on a real-life subject matter. In other words, art is where I put my adult-self to rest and let my inner child come out to play. I believe my works are heavily influenced by child-like qualities in Fafi’s graffiti art, Henri Matisse’s paintings, Yoshitomo Nara’s innocent-yet-evil characters, Edgar Degas’s ballerinas, Toulouse-Lautrec posters. Creating art sometimes reminds me of what it feels like to be as carefree and in-the-moment as when we were young.

You put the little one where there is something bigger - like in your name - and the big one where there is something smaller, like silhouettes. It's clear that your work lives on exchanges. Where do they come from and how do they interact with what you create?
My works have always been about the irony. I’ve always drawn to the dichotomies: between street-art influence versus high-fashion subjects, between child-like paint strokes versus womanly, voluptuous characters, between big shapes and detailed patterns. I found both two opposites intriguing, odd, and somehow they can coexist together.

Kaia Gerber in Fendi SS 2018
Ping Hatta
Indian ink, markers on paper
9 x 12 Inches, 2018

The different and the surprising are the strong points of your art, and you're not afraid of pushing it beyond the imposed boundaries. What does it mean for you to go further?
I think fashion doesn’t have to be serious. In fact, it should be relatable, lively, surprising, and humorous. I always strive to define the new meaning of beauty standards and defy the conventional image of how society portrays the “perfect” female form.

Has your graphic identity always been the one we see today or is it the result of a long process of building?
My style has always been bold colors, spontaneous, painterly strokes, exaggerated silhouettes, a resting-b-face with rosy cheeks and sharp eyeliners.

He Cong in Fendi SS 2018
Ping Hatta
Indian ink, markers on paper
9 x 12 Inches, 2018

The female figure is the protagonist of many of your fashion illustrations. How do you see today's woman both in the fashion universe and in society?
Women come in different sizes and shapes, and they are beautiful in their way. Those illustrated ladies have been a part of my art style, my brand identity as well as personal identity – round face, long eyeliners, and a “serious” face. I think it is every woman’s struggle in trying to achieve being “perfect” or “beautiful” according to fashion trends or society’s expectations. I get called as “fat face,” “resting-b-face,” or I receive comments like "her eyeliner is too much." But instead of changing who I am and what I look like to fit into those standards, I embrace my features, and I rock those pointy cat eyeliners every day. Having a resting-b-face is fantastic. And who are they to say that my eyeliners are too long? Fashion rules are meant to be defied, and there is no such thing as beauty standards, but most importantly, confidence is the key. Therefore, I want my female figure to be such that voice and role model.

You were born in Thailand and raised in New York. What do you choose about one and what of the other?
Growing up and living in both cities can be a pain and a blessing. The feeling of being both a Bangkokian and a New Yorker but never truly belong to any of these two cities gives me the ability to be open-minded while continually being able to reinvent myself. Bangkok and New York City are beautiful in their own way. Apparently, New York City is a “cultural salad bowl” with the best place for arts, design, and innovations. The City constantly never ceased to inspire me and keeps me motivated. On the other hand, Thailand is rich in textile crafts and culture. Everything there is “laid back,” and the food is terrific. Frankly speaking, if I can create my own city, I would mix New York’s art and design scene with Bangkok’s affordable living cost and friendly residents!

Hot Pocket – Rosie Assoulin SP 2018
Ping Hatta
Indian ink, markers on paper
9 x 12 Inches, 2018

You turn your inspirations into a visual diary. Where do they come from?
My inspirations come from observations in everyday life and people or incidents that I’ve encountered. Being a “Third Culture Kid” also gives me the ability to see, write down, and share those inspirations objectively as if I am a tourist walking around a place that I am supposed to embrace as my own. With that said, I find illustrated comics a fun way to tell a story through my frankness and humor – subjects ranging from fashion world observation, body image, dealing with stress, relationships and many more.

For the wide range of areas in which you operate, we can define your personality as a "multipotentialite". How would you explain this inclination?
I am intrigued by various art forms, and I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and being a person who hones many talents and masters multiple skills. Apart from illustration and lingerie design, I am a singer, voice-over artist, and a tap dance instructor back in my home country, Thailand. I also have a great appreciation towards handmade products, crafts, and culture. Being a fashion industry for many years, I started to question myself as a designer: what does it mean to design? Is there a way that I–as a designer, can create meaningful products while also add value to other communities? Bearing those questions in mind, I along with four designers recently co-found LOOP Fair-trade, which is a non-profit organization that facilitates co-creation process between Ecuadorian textile artisans and New York designers, which in turn, helps those artisans gaining more income to sustain their crafts and strengthening their cultural heritage.


(You can find out more about LOOP Fair-Trade and its initiative at loopfairtrade.org)

Canopus Dress – Vivetta SP 2018
Ping Hatta
Indian ink, markers on paper
9 x 12 Inches, 2018

Fashion, especially in these years, lives by frenetic changes. How does your art relate to unexpected changes and innovations? Does it always remain the same, transform itself completely with fashion or preserve something?
My art is neither intended to preserve nor to showcase the change – but rather presenting fashion as wearable art, which is how I perceive the fashion world. Coming from a lingerie designer background, it has always been my passion and devotion to create such artwork that can have a remarkable impact on how a woman carries herself. However, I am currently working with LOOP Fair-Trade on a new fashion illustration series that celebrates textile craftsmanship of Ecuadorian artisans, because textile–whether traditional ikat weaving or laser-cut leather–plays a huge role in the fashion industry. Despite the innovations that enable fashion world to evolve, we are now living in a disruptive technology age where globalization and new production methods have left many traditional craft communities struggling with declining demand for their crafts. So, I hope that my art can act as a “preservation” of the crafts while being a voice that invites people to appreciate Ecuadorian textile crafts and the artisans behind the loom.


2018 was a year full of prizes and awards. What was your greatest satisfaction?
2018 has been kind to me while I was being ruthless with myself. I have launched my illustrated paper goods business and won a couple of competitions. It has been a year full of action. Nevertheless, I am thankful for all the opportunities that came across my way. My greatest award (so far) is being chosen for a winning artist of American Illustration 37 under Illustration category. I wanted to say that my greatest satisfaction is winning AI37, but deep down, I think my joy comes down to the small victories: seeing people’s reaction when they look at my art for the first time or seeing people picking up my greeting cards and stare at them for a long time with a big smile (or laugh, or even better– call their friends over to share the laugh!) that’s when I knew that my art touches people’s hearts.