Pop culture villains meet traditional Chinese art in this project

Blue-Eyes White Dragon was made for this

Well-written and memorable characters can be found throughout pop culture and one kind of character we love is the villain. Not just the straightforward evil guy, he’s a bore. We love the villains with a hint of moral ambiguity, the ones that have a softer side, and once they’ve secured themselves in our hearts they live on forever in our fan fics, fan art, cosplays, and cross stitches. There’s no end to the different ways we try to immortalise these characters, but a really different one has just popped up on Kickstarter: hand-painting them onto porcelain plates.

With the fast-paced growth of China’s economy, the rise in technology, and the influence of other cultures, the creators of the project say there’s been a decline in interest in China’s traditional arts and crafts techniques. Mobile game developers themselves are disappointed by the fact that “Many skills and techniques passed down from one generation of artisans to the next are slowly fading due to younger generations preferring to pursue more modern career paths”, Mona Tang and Chris Ng hope that their idea of combining pop culture characters with traditional porcelain painting techniques will inspire artists and revive the craft.

They’re calling their project “Vice and Virtue” because “the way we see things in the world are not always clearly black or white. For example you may see ‘good’ people do bad things and ‘bad’ people do good things.” Inspired by this they chose five characters who they felt matched this idea, and renamed and rendered them to suit the traditional Chinese style: Dragon Ball’s Goku is Prince Ape; Super Mario’s Bowser is Black Tortoise King; Charizard from Pokemon is Arrogant Fire Dragon; Godzilla is Pacific Dragon; and, finally, Darth Vader is Dark Samurai.

The plates will measure 10 inches in diameter and be available in two tiers. The standard plates will be created by using decals on bone china and can be secured for a minimum pledge of £20. The other tier features plates that have been individually hand-painted by Chris Ng onto kaolin porcelain before being glazed and fired to protect the image. These plates are the reward for a slightly steeper minimum pledge of £65 because of the time it takes to make them and the fact that the porcelain is thicker and heavier than the bone china.

The pair are trying to raise $37,000 for their project and at time of writing have $310 with 36 days of their campaign to go. It’s an interesting project with admirable intentions as well as some genuinely beautiful and creative designs. If you want to find out more you can visit their Kickstarter page here.

Image: Kickstarter