When we first discovered Zipeng Zhu‘s artwork, we were hypnotized. His bold use of color, animation, and most recently, 3D graphics, immediately had us hooked. Both an independent artist and the creative director of his own studio, Dazzle, Zipeng’s work makes every day sparkle. So when we heard he was launching his own line of home decor (Dazzle Supply), we knew we had to feature his work in one of our homes, and bring Zipeng’s uplifting style into the daily lives of our members.
As our Local Artist in Action for Common Lenox, Zipeng’s mugs will be available at the Harlem home for our members to enjoy, whether they’re having their morning coffee, or just opening the cabinet and seeing his signature pop of color.
Interview with Zipeng Zhu
First things first, introduce yourself!
My name is Zipeng. I’m a Chinese-born designer, art director, illustrator and animator in New York City who wants to make everyday a razzle-dazzle musical.
When did you start making art? Were you always interested in graphic design?
This is a long(ish) story. It was the last year in high school. Backtracking a little, when I was a teen, all I wanted to be was a manga (Japanese comic) artist. Unfortunately, after years of practicing I realised I had absolutely no talent in drawing. But that left me with a huge amount of Photoshop knowledge, so I started to make posters and got absolutely hooked. At that time I was a biochem student and was set to study that at college. One day my art teacher asked me if I had ever considered graphic design as a major. The second I learned that I could make a living by making posters, the rest became history.
We love your new collection of home decor! What was the inspiration behind this line?
I always have trouble buying home decor for my own apartment. I’m a super aesthetic driven person, for the ones I like, I usually can’t afford. Out of frustration, I decided to make my own. This way not only I will have more control, but also makes the apartment representing me a whole lot more.
What’s your favorite piece of art in your own home? What’s the story behind it?
I have a colorful collage by Jonathan Calugi. It’s the first / biggest / most expensive art I’ve ever purchased. I’m a huge fan of Jonathan, been following him for a long time and always wanted to own one of his pieces. I just moved into my new apartment at that time also just left my full-time job. So when I saw the piece was available for purchase, I bought it without a blink.
Can you tell us more about Dazzle Studio?
Dazzle is a creative studio in New York City that makes everything dazzling. We make work across all mediums and platforms: branding, digital, motion, illustration, environmental, print, packaging and more. I’m the creative director and I have 2 super talented people working with me. The difference between Dazzle and me is that it goes beyond my personal skillset and style therefore we have an even bigger variety and range of work.
What’s your favorite way to discover other emerging artists?
Instagram. Not gonna lie and they didn’t pay me to say this, very often I found people I really like from the discovery page. Also my discovery is honestly just filled with beautiful posts whether it’s design, illustration, animation or even fashion.
How has living in NYC affected the work that you create? Do you ever create art in response to your life in NYC?
Every time I’m stuck on something, all I need to do is take a break and go outside walk around. I don’t know why, the things I see on the street can always find a way to inspire me. And I’ve made many many fan art for this city I love.
The one place every new New Yorker should visit is…
Central Park. No doubt.
Do you have a favorite roommate story?
When I first moved to America, I didn’t know the difference between the phrase “nice to meet you” vs “nice to see you” In China I was never taught to only say “meet” once then use “see” after. So everyday I would say “nice to meet you” to my roommates. Until almost a year later they sat me down for a “memory intervention” because they thought I had short term memory loss like Drew Barrymore from “50 First Dates”.
What’s your favorite place?
My favorite spot which is a super random green table on the street outside of my apartment. I still don’t understand why is there and who is responsible for it. I always just sit on the table watch car drive by and think.
Explore Common Lenox
Zipeng’s mugs are featured at Common Lenox, our second coliving home in Harlem. This gorgeous apartment features private bedrooms in fully furnished shared spaces, two outdoor lounges, in-suite laundry, an elevator (!) and more, all in the heart of Harlem. Book your tour today!
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Hello Common Lenox! 🏡 Our brand-new coliving home in Harlem is now open and features everything that comes with being a Common member, like fully furnished spaces, private bedrooms, and household necessities, plus 2️⃣ awesome outdoor spaces and even an elevator. Head to the link in our bio to get a closer look, and register for a tour today.