Artist Creates Fantastical Illustrations to Conquer Quarantine Boredom

Being stuck in a Chinese quarantine hotel isn’t fun, but Siu Tang entertained himself by developing a fantasy world outside of the hotel room window

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Jan 13, 2022 1 mins read

Shanghai-based entrepreneur and creative Siu Tang received a not-so-merry surprise on Christmas Eve. Thanks to a business trip to Xi’an, a city in Northwest China with a recent outbreak of Covid-19 numbering in the hundreds, he was summoned for a precautionary quarantine.

With respect for public health, he hastily packed his bags, said goodbye to his wife and kids, and announced his short absence in a status update on WeChat.

“BUT why, WHY call me on Christmas Eve???” Siu Tang posted on WeChat Moments on December 24, 2021

“BUT why, WHY call me on Christmas Eve???” Siu Tang posted on WeChat on December 24, 2021

“So I have 6-14 days locked up during the holidays in a hotel on my own … I miss my wife and kids on the most special of holidays where it’s about being together with family,” Tang bemoaned in his WeChat post.

On the first night, the prospect of isolation and separation from his family on Christmas Day provoked a minor panic attack. “It took me to some pretty dark places, so I started to do some meditation, which helped me calm my breathing and then my mind,” Tang told us via WeChat text messages.

He began drawing to externalize the whirling thoughts in his mind.

Christmas Day found Siu sitting alone — looking out the window at generic grey buildings, and he decided to do something to improve the drab view.

A headhunter-turned-artist, Siu co-founded one of Shanghai’s hippest creative agencies with his wife back in 2012.

Siu says his busy work schedule prevented him from doing his ‘daily doodles,’ which he used to kickstart each morning for 30 minutes before the agency’s growth.

But in quarantine, time was in abundance. Using Procreate on an iPad, he developed a fantasy world outside of the hotel room window, turning quarantine daydreams into illustrated scenes of monster battles.

The illustrations were posted on WeChat and Instagram as videos, showing the entire creative process. His works featured dragons, cats, and unicorns, and each was finished with a sign that reads “this view sucks!”

Siu’s advice to others facing Covid-19 quarantine: stay positive, pack an HDMI cord, a yoga mat, and, most importantly, a spoon — otherwise, you’ll be stirring your tea with a toothbrush.

Siu Tang is the founder and executive creative director of The Orangeblowfish, an award-winning independent creative agency headquartered in Shanghai, with teams worldwide.

All images courtesy of Siu Tang

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