21 July, 2023
Words by Pera May & Jonathan Thai
VISUAL FORMAT x PERA MAY
Q) If you had to summarize yourself, your journey, or a little part of your unique essence in one sentence or paragraph what would it be? - Could be like Hi, My name is Jonathan, I like long walks along the beach, crazy experiences and astrology. Fun fact, I have 6 toes and used to professionally dance, Haha
Alternatively you can describe your fave place or thing to do on earth.
A) My name is Jonathan Thai from Visual Format. Taurus Sun, Cap Moon, Aquarius Rising. You will usually find me leaning into experiences that are sensory; friends, music and food come top of mind! I’m a sun worshiper, so naturally I love summer and the beach, and seek an innocent, playful adventure in life. A bit on the cusp of society, outward looking in.
Q) What draws you to create or explore life through this artform?
A) I have this playful curiosity towards anything visually creative that incites excitement, a feeling/memory or prompts me to ask “why” to better understand their perspective. I feel lucky to work in this industry, it all feels natural or an extension of how my brain ticks.
Q) Drawn to collaborate with PERA MAY, why?
A) I felt excited to collaborate with an emerging designer that I felt were heading down their own identity path, that I could be on board with and contribute to their journey. Little did I know what bond lay before us on how we connect; creatively and spiritually!
Q) What was your intention, hopes or lessons learnt through this project?
A) To trust myself in being creative without the safety nets that I’m used to. I think it’s easy to revert to familiar comforts but sometimes you need that one person or voice in your ear that says - you got this, now let go! The more you do the things that make you feel uncomfortable, the easier it is to clear the mind before it spirals into things that haven’t even happened yet. Sometimes it’s better to be reactive than proactive.
Q) It’s beyond important to acknowledge the incredible artistic moment that you have explored here. In the spirit of being present and proud of this moment, what did you love most about this experience and your display of creativity?
A) If I look to all the different projects that I’ve been apart of; when I was an intern schlepping garment bags on the subway to when I lead a team of 100+ during a show at New York Fashion Week; that when we feel the most successful, we’ve all been that person starting out and moving up in the industry. Cutting to when I was shooting and collaborating, in the way I would watch Meisel on a Prada campaign - felt full circle for me as a creative. We out there doing it! Care less about the labels or publication, but what you can produce when your heart has the right intentions.
Q) From your authentic time here on Planet Earth have you any insights, thoughts, hopes or dreams to improve the evolution of human consumption through creativity?
A) I think educating yourself first, is a good step in the right direction. There is a lot of green washing and tokenism out there, so making sure that you have the tools to start putting the real type of action to work, that eventually becomes autonomous to your life, keeps the momentum for me.
Q) Best advice, quote or moment you have experienced in life that you would love to share with others?
A) OMG I have an entire Notes page dedicated to clever quotes that I’ve come across! But right now, these two light a fire under my ass in life and love;
“Your best life won’t seek validation, but insecurity will”
“Sometimes the blessings are in the redirections”.
Jonathan Thai / @visualformat | www.visualformat.co.nz