Wenee and Jules
Graduate Certificate in Media Arts and Production (MAP) student Julian Ngui and fifth year Writing and Cultural Studies/Laws student Wenee Yap are a stylish and savvy pair to be reckoned with.
Having established their own "cheerful design brand," Catfox Design in May 2007 the pair's online tee shirt business which originated from one of Ngui's short animations has blossomed since its establishment in 2007, with a growing fan base and steady stream of orders from all over the world including America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
It's a far cry from doodling in notebooks as a child. For a project that he "never really intended to become as big as it is now," Julian says that Catfox Design was born almost on a whim.
"One day, I just decided 'why don't I start selling tee shirts?' I didn't have anything concrete prepared so I went back to one of my old animations and just pulled characters out and put them on tee shirts.
"I thought, 'this is a pretty interesting idea' - putting characters on tee shirts, each of them having a little story with them - and it just got bigger from there."
As the label manager for Catfox Design, Yap says, "it was a throwaway comment in the street actually. We were walking along and I said 'your designs are really good'.
Designer/animator for the brand, Ngui says that his designs which "specialize in the cute, quirky and colourful" are aimed at a broad market, rather than at a specific group of people.
"Ever since I was young, I have loved drawing and creating new things, and over the years this has not changed. I have a huge interest in animation and character design, with a focus on Disney styles and Japanese anime.
"I have a firm belief that not all things child-like are always childish and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and I do my utmost to reflect this in my creations."
Ngui, who is specialising in Film and Video with his Graduate Certificate in MAP says he chose to take on a Graduate Certificate to supplement his animation degree, reasoning, "it'd be very good to have knowledge in film and it would help with (his) animation."
Another of the pair's triumphs include being awarded second place in the New Media section for the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Together with friend Priya Vaughan, Yap and Ngui's piece 'Leaving the Woman' was applauded for its ruminative meditation on flawed romance.
"I think intrinsically the UTS degrees or at least the things that I've studied, is the inherent approach itself. As you said, we're thrown in and it's like, 'don't think of yourself as a student, think of yourself as a lawyer, or a writer or in this case, a fashion designer. It's about 'just go out there and do it.' So with that approach with what we're doing, it's really easy to take up."
Majoring in Film and Video in his Graduate Certificate in Media, Arts and Production, Ngui says that he enjoys the practical aspect of his postgraduate study.
"I'm having a lot of fun in all the classes really. Last semester we did Film and Video 1 and that was really good because there was a lot of practical, hands-on work and I learnt a lot from that."
With a successful launch of Catfox Design at the swish Statement Bar, features in several inner-Sydney newspapers and two photo shoots under their respective belts, Ngui and Yap agree that essentially, it's what you love that you do best.
"From a young age, I really enjoyed drawing," Julian says. "For a while I forgot that I liked drawing until I was almost finishing high school. That's how I got into the animation and film."
"I think that's something else that UTS encourages students to do - to invent your own style. Especially in one of my first classes, 'Writing, Style and Structure'.