In celebration of Lunar New Year, we sat down with Chinese artist and freelance illustrator Vanilla Chi (@vanilla_hchi), who designed our beautiful, limited-edition lucky red envelopes (that you can get on us when you order an Always Pan or Perfect Pot!). She talked about the inspiration behind her envelope design and her favorite childhood memories of Lunar New Year.
Can you tell us about a detail in your artwork that you really like?
The traditional Chinese costume, the tiger hat, is one of the inspirations on my envelope. I used to wear a tiger hat when I was an infant, but with the times, this tradition is not much talked about anymore. I’m glad that I can put tiger hat elements in my design.
Did anything in particular inspire you?
The traditional Chinese custom of the tiger hat, and Tibetan Art.
What’s a Lunar New Year ritual that’s very important to you?
Lunar New Year is one of the few holidays when my family can spend days sitting together, eating, watching TV, and celebrating traditions. Being Chinese, there are many unique traditions for my family and me to celebrate, such as dust sweeping, putting up couplets, the dragon and lion dance, worshipping gods and ancestors, etc. People always need rituals to review the past and brand a fresh start.
What is the significance of the tiger? Does the year of the tiger hold any personal significance for you?
In Chinese folk culture, the tiger signifies good fortune. The tiger totem symbolizes the suppression of evil. I hope the Year of the Tiger can protect us and help us pass the pandemic smoothly. The tiger is also my father’s zodiac sign, and I hope my family is safe and healthy.
Do you have any favorite memories of giving or receiving red envelopes during Lunar New Year?
Growing up, I was the kid who received the red envelope, but then my cousin was born, and I could give him red envelopes every year. As the one sending the blessings, I feel growth and happiness. I haven’t seen my relatives for three years, and I really miss them.
See more of Vanilla’s work here.