For someone who wears as many creative hats like Jasmine Wong (director, photographer, filmmaker, video editor), it's hard to believe that she is actually a full-time pharmacist who only does creative as a side hustle! And it's not so much about how much she's doing as it is how good she is at it—passion projects or not—seeing how she has attracted brands such as Ferragamo, Longchamp, Uniqlo and the like through her stellar use of visual storytelling. Below, we speak to the creative on how balancing her creative and non-creative lifestyle, creating art that resonates and more.
When and what was your first professional creative project?
I definitely didn’t always know that I wanted to venture into the creative field, it was something that came very naturally and in a roundabout way. Photography played a huge part in how I grew my interest in the creative world.
My first photoshoot gig was with Buro Malaysia in 2018. Then in 2019, a friend of mine got me to work on a video project for social media posting and it was for the brand Lancome; I had zero knowledge on videography and it was my first video! I directed, filmed and edited it all on my own and I was pleasantly surprised it turned out alright! [laughs] From there onwards, I started working on more video gigs for digital content on social media.
How would you describe your artistic and creative direction? Do you feel much has changed?
I guess my artistic direction is constantly evolving over time? Back in 2017, when I started to get serious with the photos I showcased on Instagram, it was more towards minimalism as I was into still life and street photography.
Ever since I started working on video content, I found that my creative direction varied based on the project or how I want to tell a story of a brand: it can be fun and playful, sometimes moody and dark. To date, I have been working on mostly fashion films and music videos. These videos are usually volatile and often experimental, providing me full creative freedom to explore. I will usually go for the softer side and forge deeper connections with the audience, and I love to incorporate storytelling if possible.
What are you always seeking to capture through the lens?
Moments, feelings that will always reflect the story you want to tell the audience.
From video directing, fashion photography to even album art, we love that you are so diversified in your creative skillset! Can you share with us tips on how you manage to constantly stay creatively productive for our audience?
Honestly if u ask me, staying creatively productive when juggling between non-creative and creative jobs introduces challenges for sure - sometimes I feel like there’s a switch in me that turns on and off really quickly to keep the ball rolling. There are no limits as to where the next idea will come from. After my workday has ended, my creative pursuit continues after hours. I look for inspiration in anything and everything around me. Connecting ideas that at first glance might seem unrelated and looking for inspiration in the unlikeliest of places helps to extend my creative pursuits beyond my workplace and work schedule as well.
Also, I would say it’s passion that drives my creative process, or else it will never lead me to that light-bulb moment I am looking for. I tend to collect and make notes of ideas that inspire me, glean insight from peers or other creatives I respect and admire. It somehow resonates with what a friend of mine, who’s also a creative director himself quoted weeks ago, “Never complain about being tired or else it shows that you are not passionate in what you do after all”.
What has been the most significant/impactful project you've done thus far — why?
That would have to be my first music video gig. Exactly a year ago (post MCO), I was given an opportunity to create a MV for Daiyan Trisha when I had zero experience in directing a MV. I have never worked with her before yet she graciously gave me the opportunity. The timeline was really tight plus we don’t have a big budget to work around, so I knew I had to figure a way to navigate that. Thankfully, I’m glad to have really helpful creative friends that always come together and make it happen. From then on, I slowly venture into more directing gigs and get to work with a team of talented people to execute my visions.
...staying creatively productive when juggling between non-creative and creative jobs introduces challenges for sure - sometimes I feel like there’s a switch in me that turns on and off really quickly to keep the ball rolling.
How do you usually decide on the brands and/or creatives you work with?
To me, creative freedom is very important. To date, I have been working on mostly fashion videos and music videos and I am pretty lucky to be given almost full creative freedom to explore. As I mentioned above, I will usually go for the softer sell to see if the brand client buys the idea of it, of course it has to be a mutual agreement between you and the client.
What is your favourite and least favourite part of the creative process?
The best would be when you’re given full creative freedom to explore, discover new ideas, use your imagination all day long and work with creatives that you can get along with.
My least favourite part? Mental blocks when you’re given a super tight timeline to process, and clients who “pay with exposure”.
Are there certain people, styles, or places that you constantly draw inspiration from?
It’s a really long list of them, but I'll name just a few! When it comes to photography. my favourite will definitely be the OG — Alice Gao, Simon Schmidt, Zhong Lin.
As for film directors, I always look up to Ari Aster, Sarah Bahbah, Tan Muino, Bardia Zeinali and Anton Tammi.
What should creatives consider when trying to create art that is both visually appealing and resonates with the audience?
Be yourself and find your own style when creating, walk the line of inspiration while staying true to yourself — that's the key. Follow your gut, and also, don’t be restrictive in what you do: fully immerse yourself in the process and dare to go crazy with your imagination!
Your recent guilty pleasure(s)?
Fries and Cheese! Owning a cheese platter business (@guiltyplatters) certainly doesn't help with it.
What do you wish to achieve with your art?
I wish the content I make can inspire and resonate with the viewers in significant ways, and the visuals will strike a chord with the viewers, giving the audience food for thought even after the film is finished.
Lastly, please list 3 of your favourite local creative crushes along with their IG handles for us to shoutout!