Monday, 5 March 2012

Cool Cards Celebrity Interview with Boris Chang

This week we're very pleased to welcome Boris Chang from Fomato cards. Yay!

Boris is perhaps best known as the resident Teashop owning character in the brain of Los Angeles designer Emmie Hsu of Fomato and most especially for his critically appraised performance in the classic Fomato card, Tea.

Boris Chang has, for many years, worked closely with the owner, creator, disgustingly talented illustrator and creative design brain of Fomato, Emmie Hsu. Who, sadly, can't be with us today as she's "far too busy enjoying myself on a creative, spiritual and tax related journey throughout the world but mostly Tuscany and Ibiza until the heat's off".

CC: Boris. Welcome. Great to meet you. I have to say, it's not often we get to meet a Fomato greeting card character. An unreal pleasure! Welcome.

BORIS: Thank you. First of all, can I just say, Emmie sends her apologies for not being here. She just tried to fit too much in and found she couldn't do it. She feels awful about it. Quite sore...

CC:  Okay... So. Boris, straight to it. What's Emmie Hsu like to work with as a designer?

BORIS:  I'm not a designer.


BORIS: Hey! What can I say that you don't already know? She's the nice lady who draws me! She looks just like her photo. 

CC: Woah! That's Emmie? Are you shitting me? She's a babe!

BORIS: Duh... Yes I am shitting you. This is Emmie: 

CC: Oh...

BORIS:  Yeah. Emmie’s usually to be found leaning against something or having fallen over. Always so drunk creative. Always looking at life and things from different angles.

CC: Could we start by examining the various angles of Emmie's design process?

BORIS: Her what?

CC: Her ideas: design, evolution, exploration, change, stuff...

BORIS: What?

CC: How she makes her cards.

BORIS:  Oh ok.

CC: One of Emmie's latest cards is Ballz.

BORIS: I know... But they're not all bad...

No. I meant one of Emmie's latest cards is called "Ballz".

BORIS: Oh. Yes. Ballz. That one. Or, rather, those Two.

CC: Lots of words for testicles.

BORIS: Two isn't a lot.

CC: No.
I meant the inside of the card...


CC: Where does Emmie find the words and inspiration for her work?

BORIS: Oh, the usual places... For the most part she finds them down the back of her wine-addled, drug-frazzled brain and/or down the back of her soiled-sofa. She always has lots of words like that tucked away for later use. She’s got a very mucky mind you know. That's what 'Hsu' means in French, "Mucky-Mind".

CC: Really? 'Hsu' means "Mucky-Mind" in French?

BORIS: No... It means "Allowed to drink wine, and lots-of-it buster". In French.

CC: Okay... Moving on... The front of the "Ballz" card shows a character looking up at a pair of testicles..

BORIS: Please. Can we not talk about the testicles? It's a sensitive area.

CC: Of course… Would you like a cup of tea?

BORIS: Yes. Thank you. May I please have English breakfast tea?

CC: Of course you may. Boris, do you know what English breakfast tea is made from?
BORIS: Yes, as a matter of fact I do. English breakfast tea is made from eggs + bacon + sarcasm.

CC: Yes! That's right! How did you know that?

BORIS: "eggs + bacon + sarcasm" used to be the English breakfast tea line in my hugely popular "Tea" card. It was my favourite line. But Emmie removed it, on a whim.

Emmie removed it on her whim?

Boris: Not Her whim. A whim.

CC: Sorry. So what did you say?

Boris: I said if the eggs + bacon + sarcasm go, then I go.

CC: Good for you! What did she say?

Boris: "Get yourself off then"

CC: No!

Boris: Yes. After all these years... "Get yourself off then".

CC: What did you do?

Boris: I had a nice
cup of tea and a sit down and pretended the whole eggs + bacon + sarcasm thing had never happened in the first place.

CC: Did it help?

Boris: Did what help?

CC: Um... Other than testicl... testes, what would you say are Emmie's main sources of inspiration for her card illustrations?

BORIS: Me. Wine. Cheese. Custard. Wine. Drugs. And combinations thereof.

CC: Might we one day see a Cheesy Custard combo card?

BORIS: Well, never say never.. but No. Never. That's just wrong... Wait... It might just work..! Leave it with me and I’ll put the idea to Emmie next time she's blasted.

CC: Thanks Boris. I look forward to hearing what Emmie thinks. Can we return to the design evolution of another of Emmie's cards?

BORIS: If we must. We've finished with my hugely popular "TEA" card have we?

CC: Yes. Do you have a favourite Fomato card?

BORIS: That's not how you spell Favorite.

CC: Sorry?

BORIS: Thank you. Favorite is my favorite word. Favorite is spelled Favorite. Not Favourite.

CC: Do you have a favorite Fomato card?

BORIS: Yes. Mine. The hugely popular eggs + bacon + sarcasm Tea card. Can we talk a lot more about that card please...

CC: Let's first go back to the very early days of Fomato? How and where did it all begin? How did Emmie come up with the name "Fomato"?

BORIS: Fomato? It's a mystery. Seriously. No-one knows. Emmie came round one morning - and by "came round one morning" I mean "regained consciousness and somehow managed to get up off the floor" - and discovered she'd registered "". Fuck knows why. Or how. But hey, that's our Emmie!

CC: Great name though, don't you think?
BORIS: What? Emmie?

CC: No... Fomato.

BORIS: Yes, I guess... at least "Fomato" is pronounceable. Unlike some she's registered. The other week? She "came round" and found she'd registered "". I ask you, who registers But that's our Emmie!

CC: I think that's a great name!

BORIS: What? Emmie?

CC: No...

BORIS: Sorry. Am just shittin' with ya. But seriously, that's how she works. That's the creative secret to her entire design process. She gets smashed, registers some crazy domain and then designs a card using the domain name as inspiration, but mostly to hide embarrassment. Would you like to see Emmie's hoo-hah?

CC: Her hoo-hah?

BORIS: Why sure you would! Who wouldn’t? Look, some pictures:

CC: So... What do you guys like to do for fun in your spare time?

BORIS: Emmie has an impressive rack...
CC: Does she.

BORIS: ...of Samurai swords and Paintball sniper-rifles.

CC: Ah...

BORIS: So. For fun we sometimes load up a Rickshaw with a few Samurai swords, wine, drugs, cheese, more wine and sushi. We sing the Rawhide song and we picnic in the woods. We have a campfire and it's really quite lovely. Later we re-enact Samurai swordfight scenes from our favorite movies.

CC: Fantastic. Movies such as?

BORIS: "Crouching Emmie, Hidden Boris".

CC: Don't you mean "Crouching Tig...

BORIS: No. Also, we re-enact "House of the Flying Boris" and "The Seven Emmie"

CC: Ok... Er... I hardly dare ask... And the Paintball sniper-rifles?

BORIS: Sometimes we load up our camouflaged Rickshaw with paintball sniper-rifles, wine, drugs, cheese, more wine and sushi. We whisper the Rawhide song and we picnic in the woods. But no campfire because we like to shoot Boy Scouts.

CC: You shoot Boy Scouts?

BORIS: Yes. We attack and score points for shooting Boy Scouts. 100 points for a woggle shot.

CC: You shoot Boy Scouts in their woggles. For fun?

BORIS: Yes, of course. It's how they earn the Woggle Dodger badge. But we don't only paintball Boy Scouts.

CC: No?

BORIS: No, of course not. That's not The American Way. 
Mostly we paintball Atheists: 75 points. Then, Democrats: 20 points. Creationists and other religious wingnuts: 2 points. Republicans: 1 point.

CC: Only 1 point for Republicans?

BORIS: Yes. There's not much fun in hunting Republicans.

CC: No?

BORIS: No. They're quite slow.

CC: Like shooting fish in a barrel?

BORIS: What? Do I like shooting fish in a barrel? No, I don't imagine I would like to shoot fish in a barrel, thanks for asking..! Is that what you frickin English freaks do for frickin fun?

CC: No. Well, no not usually…

BORIS: Hey... "shooting fish in a barrel"... it might just work..! I remember this one time, just for the fun of it, we were hunting in the woods with our huge soft-foam Samurai swords. You still only got 1 point for a Republican. It was so funny, I was chasing down an Atheist, me in fancy dress, waving my foam sword shouting "Alla

CC: Well..! Boris, sadly, we've run out of time. Thank you for your time and your excellent company. I hope we can meet again sometime.

BORIS: Thanks for having me. I hope we can meet again too, so I can talk more about my hugely popular "TEA" card. How about next week? Afternoon tea and cake?

CC: We'll be in touch. Love to Emmie. Hope she feels less sore soon.

Cool Cards
Boris Chang

Fomato Cards


Keep an eye out for future interviews with Boris Chang and/or Emmie Hsu. In the meantime let's close with a few of Boris and Emmie's favourite things: