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Beautiful Story behind La Dolce Vita

Beautiful Story behind La Dolce Vita

A stationery shop called "愛治文具房 / Aiya Bungu" is a shop in Taiwan owned by the illustrator of La Dolce Vita, Bofa Huang and her sister, and it is a paradise for stationery lovers and La Dolce Vita fans!  Visiting Aiya Bungu was one of our dreams, so when we finally arrived there to meet and interview Bofa last summer, we felt our blood pressure going up from being too excited!    If you are visiting Taiwan, you should definitely add this beautiful shop to your visit list!

We were over excited when we entered the shop because the shop was filled with all the beautiful stationery and large collection of La Dolce Vita products!  Bofa was waiting for us in the shop for the interview, and we were so excited to meet the illustrator of La Dolce Vita finally!  Here, we share our exciting interview to Bofa!

Ayako:
Thank you so much for taking your time today for us!  We are so excited to meet you!  Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Bofa:

Hello!  My name is Bofa, nice to meet you!  I have been drawing since...I can't remember.  When I was still studying visual arts at college, I started La Dolce Vita.  In 2010, I started selling my products at creative markets, and in 2015, my sister Feirou and I opened our shop in Changhua county.  There is not so much to do in this neighbor, so we hope this stationery shop accompany Changhua's people's life.

Ayako:
Please tell us about the name of your shop.

Bofa:
"Aiya" from "Aiya Bungu" is the name of our grandmother.  Because our parents were busy working, we spent lots of time with our grandparents when growing up.  She taught me many life lessons, how to live and how to do things, and the importance of being kind to people.  And I wanted my shop to have her name.  "Bungu" means stationery in Taiwanese, that is also the same in Japanese!

Ayako:
Your grandmother must be so proud of you and your shop!

Bofa:
Thank you, but she says she can't believe that we can make money from a stationery shop.  She is surprised that people buy those things.  Hahaha.

Ayako:
Why did you decide to produce stationery with your illustrations?

Bofa:
Well, I've always loved stationery.  T
he very first stationery I created was a planner notebook that I made for my friend.  I was in high school at that time and had an idea of creating a whole planner notebook with each page decorated with my hand-drawn illustrations.  I cut the paper myself, glued the paper together, drew the monthly calendars and weekly pages with my illustrations...I made 3 handmade planners and asked my good friends to buy them!  Hahaha!  Then, when I was at college, there was an event where students were assigned to create something to sell.  There I produced stationery with my illustrations for more people, and this is how it started.

Ayako:
Your friends must loved the planner!  Now you produce many beautiful stationery with girls theme.  Why do you draw only girls?

Bofa:

Well, I draw girls because most of the people around me are girls like my grandma, my mom, my friends, even at college, almost all my classmates at the design department were girls.  
I feel like I grew up being surrounded by girls and now I get inspirations from girls.  When I draw, I first start with her personality, for example if I am drawing a tough girl I will image her personality first and then imagine what she would like her hair to be like, what she would like to wear, to eat, to do...and I draw the girl.

But now, one of the biggest reasons I draw girls is because I want to send a positive vibes to girls.  By looking at girls, I realized that many girls are not satisfied with themselves.  They always think that "some part of me is not good enough."  I want to focus on such girls and show good part of them with my illustrations to tell them that every girl has something good about herself and perfect as she is.


Ayako:
Thank you very much for telling us the story behind these girls.  I am very sure that your illustrations send lots of positive vibes to girls!  You have drawn many girls, and do you draw and keep them for future products or do you draw when you want to produce new products?

Bofa:
I always draw, every day, every moment because I love drawing, but when I want to make new products, I draw new for the products with a theme.  For products, I choose different theme every year, and sometime I lock myself for two months to work and concentrate on drawing for products.  Sometime I just stay in bed brainstorming.  Other times I just draw and draw until I get ideas I really like.

Ayako:
What art material do you use for drawing?

Bofa:
I draw with my computer, Painter and Photoshop.  I use a type of digital brush tool to draw lines.  Now there are many good digital illustration tools, so I can draw very naturally with warm feeling.  I sometime post videos of how I draw on my IG stories.

Ayako:
I still can't believe that you draw with computer.  I always thought that you use watercolors to draw!  Where do you start drawing when drawing a girl?  What is the story about the red cheeks on girls you draw?

Bofa:
Well, I start from the eyebrows.  And about red cheeks, originally I was drawing girls with red cheeks, but now sometime the nose is also red, the elbows, the knees...the joints.  When we move, we use these parts like lot like when you smile, your cheek moves, when you walk, your joints...I try to show that the girls are active and alive by adding red colors to these parts of their body.

Ayako:
If you are to give a message to those who want to become an artist, what message would you give to them?

Bofa:
Just keep drawing.  When I was in high school, my mother told me to stop drawing because she wanted me to focus on studying, but I just kept drawing.  To achieve something, you just need to keep doing.  Someday you will do something very good.  Keep doing what you love, don't let anyone stop you.  Keep doing what you love.

Ayako:
Now please tell us a little about your lovely shop.  How do you select items you sell in your shop?

Bofa:
I use all the products I sell here myself.  I select everything I sell and make sample of how to use them.  This shop belongs to a group of stationery shop owners in Taiwan, and sometime we create products together.  Also there are some exclusive products in our shop because I like my customers to find something special and exclusive when you take your time to visit our shop here.  For example, we have postcards each hand decorated with washi tapes, stickers and stamps by myself.  You can only find them in our shop here.


Also there is a little cafe space inside the shop.  This space is for visitors to enjoy writing or using stationery.

(you can buy delicious tea in the shop and drink there.)

Sometime my friends come here, too.  This is a space for people to enjoy drawing, writing letters and postcards, journaling...a space for people to enjoy stationery.

Ayako:
Do you do journaling?

Bofa:
Yes, but I don't share them often.  Every year with the group of stationery shop partners in Taiwan, we do journaling exhibition at one of our shops, and the shop owners show their journals there.  This year I am using MD notebook for daily journal and Traveler's Notebook for traveling.  I like to draw with fountain pens and paint with watercolors, colored pencils etc.

Ayako:
Like your shop, we are also a shop with two sisters, me and my younger sister Junko.  How is it like for you to work with your sister together?

Bofa:
Well, we have different tasks in our shop.  She does managing business and I draw, so we are actually not together all the time.  Also we are not at the shop everyday.  It is nice to work with her.

Ayako:
Thank you very much for your time and all the beautiful story behind your illustrations.  Can you give a message to your fans?

Bofa:
Of course, actually I will draw myself for your customers.  Let me get my favorite fountain pen now.

This beautiful illustration she kindly drew for our customers is displayed in our physical shop, but for those who cannot come to our shop, we created a sticker of the illustration and will be enclosing it in an order with at least one item of La Dolce Vita products. :)

We now carry beautiful La Dolce Vita products in our shop, so please check our collection.  We hope you enjoyed reading our visit to Aiya Bungu and interview to Bofa.  We will do our best to share the story behind beautiful stationery and artists with you in our future blog posts.  Thank you very much for reading.  Have a nice day!

You can find beautiful La Dolce Vita products HERE.

Love, Ayako and Junko

Next article Beautiful Story behind Maruco Art

Comments

Léana - March 19, 2020

I loved this article especially because I love this illustrator so much! Very happy to see the shop reopened as well :)

Larissa - March 5, 2020

Thank you for this interview article. Really enjoyed reading it.

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