A Cup of Salt Tears

Victo Ngai

Besides the fact that Irene Gallo being one of the best ADs, I am always excited to work onTor.com short story art there’s no way to tell what kind of subject matter will come along. 

This piece accompanies Isabel Yep’s novelette A cup of Salt Tears - an eerie yet beautiful story. You can read it here. The audiobook of IQ84 by Murakami Haruki accompanied the working of this piece, it was quite the perfect track. 

Makino’s mother taught her caution, showed her how to carve her name into cucumbers, and insisted that she never let a kappa touch her. But when she grows up and her husband Tetsuya falls deathly ill, a kappa that claims to know her comes calling with a barbed promise. “A Cup of Salt Tears” is a dark fantasy leaning towards horror that asks how much someone should sacrifice for the one she loves.” 

While I was doing research for this project, I learnt a lot of interesting facts about Kappa (河童 ”river-child”), including their obsession with shirikodama (尻子玉 "Small Anal Ball"). It’s believed that kappa lure their victims into the water and gain power by taking their shirikodama, a mythical ball said to contain their soul which is located inside the anus. Check out the amazing manga by Hokusai titled 同河童を釣るの法 (“How to fish for Kappa”).

Neo 1984,Cover for “Dark Fairytales” by TinHong

Victo Ngai

I am so happy I got to work on my first Chinese book cover with Hong Kong/Taiwan/Mainland China best-seller TinHong.

TinHong’s latest book, “Dark Fairytales” (Non orthodox translation of 黑童話集), is a compilation of 16 novelettes set in a fictional metropolitan called “H town”. The stories are based on real stories in Hong Kong, structured after Chinese and Western classics such as “1984” by George Orwell, “The Last Class” by Alphonse Daudet, A Poor Man’s Tale of a Patent’ by Charles Dickens, ‘差不多先生傳“by胡適.etc. These parodies poke fun and reflect on the society’s current maladies, corruptions and injustice in a sarcastic and darkly-humorous way. 

For the cover, TinHong asked me to freely follow my inspiration. This was awesome and quite rare for book cover jobs. So I decided to make a piece about “H-Town” in a neo”1984”way.

Big thanks to TinHong for being an A+ author, art director, publisher and the ultra-delicious care-package!

NYTimes OpEd- Conservation or Curation?

Victo Ngai

I did a quickie for today’s NYTimes Op-Ed on how the new definition of what qualifies as an endangered species, passed this month, severely limits the scope of the law.  

Previously, the language of the law — that a species qualifies if it is “at risk of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” — was read to mean that species should be protected if their geographic range was significantly smaller than it had been in the past. Now, a species will only count as endangered if it is at risk of going extinct. This significantly restricts conservation and ignores any responsibility we may have to mitigate even a portion of the harms that we’ve committed against other species. Read the article here

The illustration features a Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, its protection has been recently denied because they were not at risk of extinction, even though their geographic range was significantly smaller than it had been in the past. 

Big thanks to AD Matt Dorfman, always a pleasure to work with. He suggested we go for a more playful layout instead of boxing the fish in, which made the image that much more dynamic. I also like how the trout now looks like its skidding down some stairs screaming while falling apart. 

'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage' by Haruki Murakami

Victo Ngai

Being a long time Murakami fans, I was super excited when AD Kim from Boston Globe asked me to create the art for the “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” book review. 

In “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,” Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, he allows his hero to eavesdrop on one of life’s darkest possible tunes: the inner hum, the secret desire, for death. As the book opens, the “colorless” Tsukuru Tasaki has fallen into a terrible depression. Tsukuru’s four closest friends, who are nicknamed by colors, abruptly and unequivocally cut him off. All he can think about is dying. Tsukuru escapes the void, just barely, and emerges a new person, the person we follow through the rest of this book. Murakami elegantly describes how emotional trauma can lead us to disassociate. Read the book review here.

Big thanks to AD Kim Vu. This is actually my first time working with the Boston Globe, what a great way to start!

Spellbound
Victo Ngai
For a article in Dension magazine about Fairy Tales and the changing nature of how these stories are told — from Grimm’s tales, to the super-scrubbed happy Disney tales through to the darker popularity of shows like Breaking Bad now. Fairy tale expert Maria Tatar also discusses how some of the world’s oldest tales help us navigate modern life.
Big thanks to Erin from Em Dash for this very interesting project!

Spellbound

Victo Ngai

For a article in Dension magazine about Fairy Tales and the changing nature of how these stories are told — from Grimm’s tales, to the super-scrubbed happy Disney tales through to the darker popularity of shows like Breaking Bad now. Fairy tale expert Maria Tatar also discusses how some of the world’s oldest tales help us navigate modern life.

Big thanks to Erin from Em Dash for this very interesting project!

Silicon Valley Lady Warrior

Victo Ngai

3 illustrations accompany the profiling of the feisty Shanley Kane by Elizabeth Spiers. Kane, a feminist publisher, started her own media company Modern View Culture in the male dominating Tech environment in 2013. She’s known for her outspokenness when taking on the worst of Silicon Valley (and sometimes her allies, too). 

Read the story and check out AD Erich Nagler’s beautiful layout design here on Medium. 

Big thanks to Erich, whom I have enjoyed working with during his NYTimes days, for this challenging assignment! 

New You Magazine Spreads

Victo Ngai

Here are the 2 spreads I did for New You magazine. The first article focus on combating caner with new integrative treatments while the second talks about the importance of caring for body, soul and mind. 

Big thanks to AD Donna! 

Time out of Time Book1 Cover

Victo Ngai

Time out of time

the horned man rides

with the forest queen

the greenman Dies.

the Heavens bear witness

the great wolf Flies, and TImothy Hames stands alone. 

I have been working on a new book series called Time out of Time by Maureen Doyle McQuerry. Book 1 Beyond the Door has just come out!

Time out of Time is an advantage and imagination packed fantasy story which draw inspiration from Celtic mythologies. Our hero is a shy bookish boy named TImothy who is fairly certain nothing interesting will ever happen to him. However, everything changes on one dark spring night. A mystery knocks on his door and starts revealing his role in an ancient prophecy…

Choosing a moment from a book as cover is always a fun challenge. It has be a true representation of the story without spoiling the plot, while being visually stimulating. I decided to go with the Wild Hunt because:

a) There’s a giant golden flying wolf, who wouldn’t like that?

b) We introduce our main character - Timothy. 

c) The chase set the stage of adventure and the storm set the mood of danger.

d) It’s a perfect moment to show the parallel existence of Timothy’s ordinary world and the fantastical world “beyond the door”. 

This art has been featured on the American Library Association Booklist cover, what a honor! 

Big thanks to Maureen for this great story, Ad Chad Beckerman and Editor Howard Reeves for all the great input. I hope you would enjoy the book as much as I do! Don’t forget to decipher the secret code which comes with the book! 

Sakamoto Ryuchi Benefitial Concert at Le Poisson Rouge NY
10 more days to go for our Kickstarter campaign and here is the newest surprise reward!  For $100, you will get a ticket to the intimate concert staring the legendary oscar+grammy winner Sakamoto Ryuichi at Le Poisson Rouge NY this Sat. You will also get to meet the entire film crew, including myself!
Don’t miss this rare opportunity!
thewoundandthegift:

Dearest Friends,
We’re thrilled to report that at the mid-point of our campaign, we’ve raised over half of our $40,000 goal! We are so grateful to all of you for your belief in our film. 
Today, we’re excited to share the newest surprise element of our campaign.
At 3PM on May 10th, the doors will open at Le Poisson Rouge, where we’re hosting a benefit for The Wound and The Gift. The 4PM show features music performances by our very special guest, legendary Sakamoto Ryuchi and the film’s composers. We will also showcase sneak previews of scenes from the film followed by a behind-the-scenes conversation with the filmmaking team.
Single tickets are available at the $100 reward level, but space is very limited! For those of you who have already donated at our AFFECTION level and higher, your contribution entitles you to a ticket. Please contact us if you want to reserve a seat.
We hope that you can join us for this rare and intimate performance.
Thank you again for your support.
Love and affection,
The Wound and the Gift

Sakamoto Ryuchi Benefitial Concert at Le Poisson Rouge NY

10 more days to go for our Kickstarter campaign and here is the newest surprise reward!  For $100, you will get a ticket to the intimate concert staring the legendary oscar+grammy winner Sakamoto Ryuichi at Le Poisson Rouge NY this Sat. You will also get to meet the entire film crew, including myself!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

thewoundandthegift:

Dearest Friends,

We’re thrilled to report that at the mid-point of our campaign, we’ve raised over half of our $40,000 goal! We are so grateful to all of you for your belief in our film. 

Today, we’re excited to share the newest surprise element of our campaign.

At 3PM on May 10th, the doors will open at Le Poisson Rouge, where we’re hosting a benefit for The Wound and The Gift. The 4PM show features music performances by our very special guest, legendary Sakamoto Ryuchi and the film’s composers. We will also showcase sneak previews of scenes from the film followed by a behind-the-scenes conversation with the filmmaking team.

Single tickets are available at the $100 reward level, but space is very limited! For those of you who have already donated at our AFFECTION level and higher, your contribution entitles you to a ticket. Please contact us if you want to reserve a seat.

We hope that you can join us for this rare and intimate performance.

Thank you again for your support.

Love and affection,

The Wound and the Gift

Liza Lim Music Review
Victo Ngai
A portrait for Alex Ross’s music review on Liza Lim, an Australian composer of Chinese descent who is known for her sensuous scores, in the current New Yorker Magazine. You can read the review here.
Big thanks to AD Chris Curry!

Liza Lim Music Review

Victo Ngai

A portrait for Alex Ross’s music review on Liza Lim, an Australian composer of Chinese descent who is known for her sensuous scores, in the current New Yorker Magazine. You can read the review here.

Big thanks to AD Chris Curry!