T Wei “I like to pull the cinematic qualities out of characters and present them as objects”

March, 2017
Reading Time
5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

We talk to T Wei about street art and illustration in New Zealand.

This week Creative Chair is in Wellington, New Zealand, where we’re talking to T Wei, an illustrator and street artist.

T Wei has a strong visual style which often uses anatomical and isometric themes. We caught up with T to find out more.

You can see work from T Wei on Behance.


Tell us a little more about yourself and what you do.

Hello, I’m an illustrator who currently lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. I draw silly pictures, make up crude characters and occasionally paint on walls that seem too pristine for me to paint on.

T-Wei Alligator Child

I often sit in cafes and public transport watching people watch me pretending not to watch people. I then record my findings in illustrated form.

Misc Salad

There seems to be a community of illustrators and street artists in Wellington, NZ. How did this come about, and, what sort of collaborations has this led to?

There’s a nice little community here, the population size of New Zealand being what it is I think artists here were just surprised to find others that do what they do, because of this most illustrators seem to know each other in some way or another. The NZ network is small, then take a (relatively) obscure subculture like mural-ing(?) or illustration…

“The isometric perspective provides a stripped back composition where I can focus more on the narrative ”

I probably don’t collaborate as much as I should, when I do it’ll usually be on a wall with a studiomate or for a groupshow someone’s taken the time to put together. I’d love to do more, but sadly my to-do list never seems to shorten. It’s nice to catch up with folks every now and then, talk shit and see what everyone’s been up to.

Sneaky Subs

What draws you to the anatomical and isometric themes in your work?

I really like to pull the cinematic qualities out of my characters and present them as objects, maybe because I drew cinematically so much in my formative years. The isometric perspective provides a stripped back composition where I can focus more on the narrative I’m trying to tell without having to worry about which camera angle will add what emotion etc.

Ack Bam Pow

Whenever I apply anatomy to a piece usually, it’ll be in juxtaposition to that. Applying a wholly organic shape to a grid-based system. Fluid forms vs. rigid structure. And what’s more organic than guts.

Wooden Croc

What is your favourite personal project?

My favourite personal project will always be the one I’ve put off making next. Everything else generally feels like poppycock.

The 64th 366 Award goes to T Wei for her outstanding creative work.

Site eat poop die

And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?

Something utterly pointless but cheerful all the same. Randy Newman’s Short People will do.

Short People"
Short People (1977)
Randy Newman
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What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
T Wei
Our Forest