A previous version of this article misspelled
Didimalao but the mistake has since been corrected.
A monkey with a
Artprints with a positive message, thanks to Didimalao.
– Pictures by Choo Choy May & courtesy from JietWong
PUCHONG, Nov 27 — It’s all monkey business for homegrown venture Didimalao that sells postcards, posters, notebooks, badges and T-shirts featuring its colourful monkey character.
Art director JietWong (Jiet), 32, conjured up this animal character way back in 2005 during his days in New Era College where he studied advertising and graphic design. As part of his graduation project, he wanted to promote Zoo Negara.
The energetic fun loving JietWong is the person
behind the character Didimalao
Surprisingly, Jiet admits that he is not a born artist. “I am slowly learning it and have to practise a lot.” For about two to three years, he decided to stop illustrating. What brought him out from his semi-retirement was the Lynas incident when the Australian company started a rare earth plant in Kuantan.
“It is Malaysian news, so it is part of my responsibility to talk about it.” It inspired him to create his “Lynasaur” — a dinosaur that will go extinct to illustrate how people’s lives will be jeopardised with the opening of the plant.
As a positive thinker, his work for Didimalao often depicts the monkey with a message whether it is inspired by current news or even fashion. In his early days, he used to have a negative outlook about life and would often fight with his family. Now that he has adopted a more positive outlook, things are happier and he wants to spread that. He adds that “life is too short, there is no time for negative thoughts.”
You can also purchase notebooks with the Didimalao illustrations.
Through his own experience, he believes it is not easy to start a business for artists in Malaysia to capture the audience’s attention. “You need to slowly build the business, step by step, even though it is not perfect.”
The talented Jiet also runs Jiet’Art (www.fb.com/jiet.art) where he paints wall murals and art prints. His approach is more towards the symbiotic relationship between Nature and humans. “Like humans and Nature, there is a mutation and life cycle from birth to death.” In his first stage, he only used to paint in black and white as he preferred the simplicity it offered. Later, he started to add colour to his work, as he wanted to explore other things.
Recently, Jiet entered a new chapter as he launched an online art platform, Wao Effect (https://www.waoeffect.com). It will not be limited to just Didimalao’s products, as he hopes to invite other artists to contribute since it will be good to generate publicity about Malaysian made products.
For him, business is much more than just a part-time venture but a lifetime job to continue to spread a positive message to everyone through his cheeky monkey character.
For more information on Didimalao, visit:
Online store: www.waoeffect.com
Mini posters to inspire you every day
“I created this mascot to promote Zoo Negara.” The animal was picked as it fits Jiet’s fun loving energetic character perfectly. Contrary to popular belief, he is not born in the Year of Monkey. “It is very cheeky and always jumping around. Moreover, there’s the saying... ‘monkey see, monkey do’.”
Originally known as Cheeta, the character has gone through some metamorphosis throug the years. Even though the face remains the same, the body of the monkey is now more elongated. Jiet also changed its name to Didimalao which means “little monkey” in Chinese. He explains that this was to gain a bigger reach and an international market for his work.
The pieces from Jiet’Art in black
and white show the relationship
between Nature and humans
For his recent pieces on Jiet’Art,
JietWong has been playing
around with colour
Earlier on, he had quit his job in an advertising agency to backpack around Europe for three months. That liberating trip was exactly what he needed to shake him from his comfort zone and the too controlling environment of the advertising world. Once he returned, he felt rejuvenated to start afresh in his own advertising agency.
Being a novice in business, he also found out through trial and error that people prefer to buy items with a message. “When you have a message, people will buy it. There needs to be something on a card, pin or in print.” Even though he is not adept with words and prefers to express it in his drawings, he pushed on with the help of friends who will edit his work. Jiet also does commissioned work that depicts the Didimalao character in various situations. For instance, in 2014, he collaborated with Chatime to promote their bubble tea drinks.
Wear a badge with a message (left).
The wall mural by Jiet’Art as seen in CAFFEine, Setiawalk Puchong (right)
Inspired by the Lynas incident, JietWong created this character, Lynasaur