Babes & Gents

Eepmon: Profile + Interview

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Eepmon: Interview
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The first words that comes to your mind when you hear Inspiration, Passion, and Strength

Challenge, Persevere, Live

Who are you? (Answer how you interpret this question)

eepmon. Artisan of the Digital Age. Globetrotter. The Metal Monkey. Strategist. Bored of talkers. Allergic to the status quo. Love coffee.

Why do you do what you do?

Because life would be boring otherwise. I thrive on the unexpected and the unknown. Beauty lies within it. Only one-life…make good use of it.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do, and what events led you to choose it?

It’s a long story that I need to explain in order to get the message across…I’ll try to condense it: After graduating high school at Canterbury’s Visual Arts program in Ottawa, like many I didn’t know what to do next. I loved art but at the time I wasn’t sure if I could make a career out of it. It was during that same time I was playing around with Photoshop version 2. I decided that since I enjoyed using computers but knew very little of, why don’t I take up Computer Science? That took me to Algonquin College and no clue how to code. I had to work hard and learned everything from the ground up. Co-op opportunity came and had me at Corel Corporation as a quality assurance specialist. While there, I always walked by the user experience design team and thought how cool they were. They designed the look-and-feel of their software products. So on my last day of co-op, I decided to email the head of user experience to just meet and introduce myself. I met her and showed some of the digital illustrations I was doing on the side. As she was flipping through my work she said to me, “You did this?” I responded yes and didn’t think much of it. She was so impressed that she hired me right there for my next co-op term as a user experience designer. That was my eureka moment. It was on a cold February 2003 and as I walked on Carling Avenue I told myself this, “Eric, don’t let ANYONE tell you what you should do with your life. Don’t let dogma get in the way of what you truly love to do. I don’t care who it is. There will be people who will like you, hate you, support you and tell you otherwise. The decision is YOURS to make so don’t you EVER give up on your art.”

 

The rest is history…

Toughest thing you had to overcome to do what you do? And what/who helped you?

You have to fight two fronts at the same time.

 

  • To overcome society’s complacency (or safety net). I find I have to work extra hard to remove myself from this because I was already under one. People say to me, “Why don’t you get a job that pays. You can both work and on the side do your art”. And I’m like thinking to myself, “You gotta fucking be kidding me. You just don’t get it…but just you wait and see…”.

 

  • You have to fight against yourself. In the beginning which I think it is naturally human to do so is to ask yourself, “What am I doing?”, “Will I make it?”, “Am I alone?”, “Where are those likeminded passionate people out there or am I just crazy?”.

 

I hustled the shit out of myself and continue to do so today. You have to be obsessed, immersed and keeping align with your long-term goals. Some say I’m too obsessed. My response? NO SHIT. It’s ALL or NOTHING…but they will never understand because they don’t know my world and I can’t expect them to do so. So that can be tough on me sometimes.

 

So what did I do? I said little and opted to show the world what I’m made of through my actions. Overtime I won some awards, featured in magazines, was on TV, worked with some high-profile brands and I can’t emphasize this enough: I TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL to see the world rather than being caught up by small thinking trivialities. Those are the things that help me to overcome my tough situations. Only then will you find the people who are just like you and who are equally if not more passionate than you! Now that’s a breath of fresh air! It’s like saying, “Holy shit where have you been all my life?!” I also have mentors who I have made along the way. They are dear to me and they have my utmost trust and respect.

 

Surround yourself with these people. Real, genuine, positive individuals (a rarity these days), who are also working hard like you, who share the same vision, goals like you. If we get knocked down we don’t get emo, whimper and hide. We get back right on our feet and keep moving.

 

All the while, I enjoy the challenge. It’s a sort of pilgrimage. It becomes not so much about the art anymore as it becomes more about your vision and philosophy.

Has anyone/anything ever inspired you to become who you are (to follow your dreams)? Have you ever inspired anyone directly?

Yes and that is where my 2nd eureka came into play. In 2005, while still a student at Carleton University’s Interactive Multimedia and Design program I attended a conference in Toronto known as FITC. It was a place where all the technologists, designers and creatives got together. From John Maeda, Joshua Davis, Grant Skinner, GMUNK to Yugo Nakamura, all the stars were there and really opened my eyes to this international industry. How eager I was to be part of it! People were experimenting making cool things and talking about it! I said to myself, if they could do it, so can I! After that experience, I knew for certain I could follow my dreams.

 

Have I ever inspired anyone directly? Perhaps but as to how much of an impact can only be my guess.

One mistake that you made in your journey? How have you learnt from them?

Won’t dive into particularities but I will say this: I’ve made so many mistakes. I’ve failed so many times. I may even have let some people down. It hurts like a bitch. I think about those incidents from time-to-time and it still hurts like a bitch. Mistakes and failures are all part of the growing process and are incredible experiences that should serve as humble reminders while you continue your journey.

Upcoming projects? Plans/goal? (about anything, if you have any)

2014 has been kind to me and is setting the stage for 2015:

 

1) Currently finishing a large installation mural for my good friends at Blushes Salon in Ottawa. They represent L’Oreal for Eastern Ontario. http://blushes.ca/

 

2)  Late Feb. I will be speaking in two events at UofT.

• Faculty of Information iSchool: http://www.ischool.utoronto.ca/content/ischool-colloquia-series-intersections-art-digital-age

• Jackman Humanities Institute on Art+Fashion: https://www.humanities.utoronto.ca/event_details/id=1647

 

3) I am in talks with the Bruce Lee Estate in Los Angeles. Shannon Lee  (Bruce Lee’s daughter) shared my works on Facebook to their 17 million+ followers and the reception was incredible. We’re due for a follow up which I can only say for now is in a positive direction.

 

4) This year, eepmon is going to make heads way into Asia. I have built the brand from the ground up and the time is now to expand and build a solid team.

 

 

 

What advice would you give to other people? (Just about life in general - It could be about anything)

Praise, compliments, criticisms, being loved or hated…should be accepted with humility. Each step we take is becoming one step closer to our personal truths. That is strength. That is living.

 

A Mantra of sorts:

 

“Passion against all odds. Struggle because we know. A cycle that never ends. Everything derivative. Our own pilgrimage. Our own way to enlightenment.”

 

Repeat.

 

Say anything you want, about anything (Last words)

Just remember, you’ll die soon so yea do what you can. Like stretching that dollar, stretch that life of yours.

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Eepmon: Profile
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Full name

eepmon

Age

Year of the Monkey

Place of Birth? (city, country)

Ottawa, Canada

Where you live now? (city, country)

Ottawa, Canada

Origins (where parents are from)? (city, country)

Hong Kong, China

First Language?

English

What do you do? (Profession/Occupation)

eepmon / Digital Artisan

How long have you been doing it?

9 years

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Photo cred: Warit Tulyathorn