MSW Interviews: Themba Child – A Canadian Artist in Taipei

Themba Child Flyer
What do donuts, vinyl and toast have to do with one another? Come to Themba Child’s art show in Taipei on August 4th, 2012 to find out! Some of you may remember me interviewing this talented Canadian artist a few years ago. If you don’t, here’s a link to Themba’s first interview with My Several Worlds.

Baker’s Dozen Art Show 

Saturday, August 4th, 2012 at 8pm

Original paintings, prints and t-shirts by Themba Child.

The party starts at 10pm and ends at 4am.

Music by DJ Charles, DJ Vicar, and DJ TwoHands.

The party is at REVOLVER

No 1, Section 1, Roosevelt Toad, Zhongzheng District, Taipei

MSW: Hi Themba. You’re back! Thanks so much for agreeing to do this second interview with MSW. Let’s start with a brief introduction, please.

I’m a Canadian artist that loves pop culture. I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate my favorite pop culture references into my art. While I was living in Canada, I was fairly casual with my art production. I think thought of getting involved In art shows, but when I moved to Taiwan, I decided to take advantage of the opportunities here after I attended a few of my friend’s shows. Shortly after that, I met my art teacher and I’ve never looked back.

MSW: How would you describe the art that you typically create?

Themba Child T-Shirts
Themba Child T-Shirts

For people from my generation, we regard the 80s and 90s as a golden era of movies and music (specifically hip-hop). To this day I still listen to music and have numerous conversations about movies, TV shows and cartoons from that time period. My art is highly influenced by all the things that I grew up loving. You are guaranteed to pick up on some pop culture references as well as some more obscure elements or hidden gems from that time in my work. There is also a high sense of comedy in my work. I think laughter is essential to my life. It gives my life an unbelievable amount of joy when people look at my work and get the comedy aspect of it while appreciating it from a strictly visual perspective.  So basically, pop culture from the 80s and 90s, comedy and a unique style are all the elements that I usually incorporate into my paintings.

MSW: What is distinctive about a Bulletproof Toast exhibition?

We always try to make it an event rather than just an exhibition. We believe in the idea of making a night out of it. There will be a viewing period from 8pm – 10 pm where you can view the art, have a few drinks and speak with the artist. And from 10pm – 4am we will have some of the best DJs in Taipei playing amazing music. We also know that it can be frustrating to love the art at a show and not be able to take anything home with you. That is why we usually try to add a few extras for the casual attendee. So whether you just want to view the artwork or have an amazing party, there will be something for you at our events.

MSW: Has there been one particular moment in your artistic career that you’re most proud of?

For one of my past shows I decided to recreate album covers of some of my favorite albums. When I completed my first one, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB), I knew the show was going to be successful. All the paintings were sold out and it gave me a real sense that there were lots of people like me who cherished things of the past.

MSW:  Your upcoming show on August 4th,  2012 is called Baker’s Dozen Art Show and celebration of vinyl records. What can guests expect from your show and what does the vinyl era represent to you?

When I first started going out to clubs it was all vinyl, and every dj was always so excited to be the first one to play the newest shit. The cool thing was that when the dj dropped it, the club would go nuts because they knew how to judge music. A hot song is a hot no matter who plays it, but you have to know how to make the crowd feel it.

Though the show came from what I thought was J Dilla’s slang for vinyl, I decided that I would represent artists that have great character and some that may have some connection to Dilla. It was not easy coming up with all of the artists and the ideas to represent them. Some artists, though they are known for great albums, just didn’t have a big enough personality, while others just seemed to pop right into my head when I was brainstorming.

MSW: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists in Taipei?

I would tell them to make sure that they have put in the right amount of work and that they are really proud of what they are putting out. I am always inspired and impressed when I see an artist that is serious about their art, but doesn’t necessarily take their art seriously. What I mean by that is try to take chances, be fun and love your work. Don’t worry about what others say because chances are that if you love what you’ve done then other people will as well.

MSW: In the past few years since your last interview with MSW, you’ve really geared up your artistic efforts. What brought about that change? How much time do you spend on your art each week?

Well I’ve had a few more successful shows and decided to make a real push for it to try to become a full time artist. I have also received a lot of interest on different blogs and media like Instagram for example, so it’s given me the confidence to give it a serious try. As for the time spent working, it varies. I can get into a groove and paint all day, or I can be in a rut and not get much done. I have just learned that when that happens I need to leave my studio and clear my head and that usually works.

MSW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I see myself traveling the world and spreading toasty goodness to galleries.

MSW: Where can we find you?

Instagram  – Bulletprooftoast

Our website is under construction right now, but it will be up and running shortly. In the mean time I have and will continue to post some of my old work on Instagram, so sign up and follow us at Bulletprooftoast.

We have a pretty cool and interactive event that we are starting on Instagram. I have asked our followers to post some of their favorite hip-hop lyrics. We will choose a weekly winner and I will illustrate the lyrics and post it on Instagram. We think it’s a fun thing to do with the people that like our art.

MSW: Thanks very much, Themba. Good luck with your show!

Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian expat who has been living abroad in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. My husband and I have owned our own business in Taiwan since 2012. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on on Twitter @globetrotteri or on Instagram at

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