Unfolding the Future


Unfold the future: Grace Ciao
Artist & Fashion Illustrator

Artist and fashion illustrator Grace Ciao is best known for her signature illustrations of women donning real flower petals as dresses, whom she affectionately calls Bloom Belles. Combining hand-drawn lines and watercolour brushstrokes with real flowers, her trademark pieces have appeared in TV commercials, limited editions collectibles, and more. She has previously worked with notable names such as Chanel, JW Marriott and Jaeger-LeCoultre, and adding to that list is her latest collaboration with Samsung.

We sit down with Grace for a quick chat and discuss her journey as an artist, her aspirations, and what it means to Unfold the Future in the age of digital creativity.
How did your journey as an artist and fashion illustrator begin?
It all happened by chance: one day as I was painting, I noticed that a rose on my desk was wilting. Wanting to preserve its beauty, I decided to give a new lease of life by pasting its petals onto the illustration which I happened to be working on. It turned out really well; to my surprise, it garnered an overwhelming response on social media which blew my mind!

What was the greatest lesson you’ve learned about business?
Before all else, discovering and defining my beliefs and guiding principles as an artist is extremely important, as I use them to govern my attitude towards building a business that works for me.

What has been the best life lesson?
As an artist, I think that stepping out of one’s comfort zone can’t be overstated. Taking that leap and giving up a stable job to support my passions in creative work had been both enlightening and fulfilling.

Have you rewritten any rules?
I used to live life the way everyone around me deemed acceptable: the schools I’ve gone to, the courses I’ve studied, the decisions I’ve made — I was always playing it safe just as my parents have expected me to. As I grew older, I learned not to chase after other people’s dreams and forge one for myself instead. When I live life on my own terms, I’m happier, healthier and more alive.
What does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Success means setting my own goals, whether big or small, and doing my best to achieve them. Every small step made towards accomplishing that goal counts.

In 5 words or less, how would you sum up your life philosophy?
Always go beyond your limits.

What is your style must-have?
My trusty phone—can’t live without it.

How has technology changed your life?
As a digital creative, technology definitely played a major part in shaping my world. With smartphones and mobile apps, the possibility of having a platform to showcase my work and networking beyond my own circle has broadened by a long shot.

I could do business with stakeholders and companies internationally, and connect with others from a different timezone with just a click of a button. Technology has been so ingrained into my life that I can’t quite imagine a life without the internet, social media, or e-commerce!
What trend or developing idea are you keeping tabs on?
People are always looking for new ways to express themselves. I remember Tumblr and Twitter being really popular at one point, now people have moved on to use TikTok. To be honest it’s a platform that I haven’t really explored yet, but I probably should!

Can creative people be entrepreneurs?
Definitely! It’s a common misconception that creatives aren’t cut out for business. On the contrary, I find that creatives have a rather unconventional approach when it comes to problem-solving. That being said, I know of some creatives who would rather work with a partner who can manage the business aspects of things while they focus on their creative work — it’s very much a personal preference.

In the digital age, is social media fame really necessary for all entrepreneurs?
I think it really depends on the nature of the industry and the key audience that they are targeting. For B2C companies, social media can definitely propel the brand to reach their key audiences (who tend to be more social-media savvy) a lot faster. On the other hand, B2B companies tend to place emphasis on other platforms when targeting their key audiences.

What does ‘Unfold the Future’ mean to you?
Stepping out of my comfort zone, exploring new things and making breakthroughs I didn’t think were possible.

Check out the latest Galaxy Z Flip x Grace Ciao collection.
To learn more about Grace, visit her website or follow her latest creations here.
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