Life Designer with Jingyu Chen

Conversation with Artist/ Entrepreneur/ Funder of Sumi Threads Henry Feng

October 21, 2021 Season 1 Episode 12
Life Designer with Jingyu Chen
Conversation with Artist/ Entrepreneur/ Funder of Sumi Threads Henry Feng
Show Notes

Henry Feng is an Artist and Entreprenur based in Sydney, running his fashion Brand' 'Sumi Threads'.  After spending eight years in University with one step away from completing his Ph.D., Henry realized working in academia was not his true calling.  Stumbling upon a tattoo apprenticeship course by accident opened his eye and mind to understand art ranges that are much wider and broader than he ever imagined. He also came to his first revolutionary understanding of pursuing art through skill-based practice. Further stepping onto art training in an art school, he was connected to the convention, which led him to reach another revolutionary mindset shift in pursuing art as a career. Not only can art-skills be developed and progressed through practice, art- careers also can be built in various forms (being self-employed and freelance, etc.). He was also really empowered by the fact that all he needed was just a piece of paper and a pencil to start drawing, which was his first step to pursue art as a career.

He had to do lots of soul-searching and broke lots of his comfort zone to see what it means to be an artist and what is possible in the art world. He said pursuing art is the best decision he ever made because he also finds his roots and identity in this creative process: his rooted love in his gene for Asian art(calligraphy, woodblock, prints, folklore, manga, etc.,).  His art creation becomes unique and sustainable with the sense of id entity underpinned behind it.  He further paved to create his fashion brand 'Sumi Threads' and leveraged different avenues (Convention, Online shop, etc.,) to sell clothing with prints he designed.

He is fully oriented and focused on his art journey artistically and professionally. Then Covid kicked in. No doubt has it impacted his business devastatingly as his main business focus is on those conventions, shows which to attend in person. While they all got cancelled, he again had to shift back to online, which required him to be quickly adaptive to the new business dynamics.  Despite hurdles and frustrations internally and externally, he has continued his artistic journey with determination to reach revolutionary milestones one after another (as he always did). The underlying drive behind it is that he gains self-agency, autonomy, and independence through art, which are the values he truly appreciates, also not many alternatives in life he could find in accessing that.

Henry's story is so empowering because he is a true living example of 'it's never too late '. I'd like to end this episode with his own sum-up of his life journey up until now: Starting from Uni, I thought I was gonna be academia, I thought I was gonna work in Uni. I thought I was gonna be a scientist, doing research. But that original plan was completely out of the window. I never in a million years would have predicted or guessed I would be doing something artistic now, definitely not in this kind of capacity and scale, either. Again, traditional kind of understanding when it comes to art or creative pursuit is always unstable or difficult. It is in some way, but at the end of the day, you develop your skills, you believe in yourself, you really try to apply those skills, stay true to yourself.  I feel like you can go further than you think you can. So, it doesn't matter how old you are. It's never too late to start.

Thanks for listening to my podcast. See you next time!
Connect Henry
Website: sumithreads
Instagram: henryfengart     sumithreads