Award-winning album designer still set on bucking the mainstream

Award-winning album designer still set on bucking the mainstream

Taiwanese album designer Xiao Qing-yang, who recently won an award at the Independent Music Awards (IMA) , said Monday the recognition reinforced his determination to continue working for less well-known musicians.

“This is my most sincere and true work and was done from a perspective that shows my concern for Taiwan, ” said Xiao, whose design for local musician Cin Cin Lee’s work “Story Island” won the “Album Packaging” award at the 10th IMA.

The design had already captured three other international music awards and a Grammy nomination, the fourth of his career, but Xiao said winning the IMA gave him renewed purpose.

“Winning the IMA this year made me determined to travel to more remote mountains and work with more children and musicians in indigenous communities, ” said Xiao, known as a leading proponent of Taiwan’s indie music ethos.

“I want to move forward with a spirit of originality that is not part of cultural and creative industry today, ” said the artist.

The 45-year-old, who has created nearly 1,000 record covers over the past 26 years, has always been committed to helping non-mainstream musicians better present their work with his creative designs.

“I hope the spirit of Story Island will keep me motivated. The awards given by people from other countries will continue to encourage me to stay in Taiwan and make a contribution to those musicians that have not yet been recognized.”

Unlike conventional album covers, the Story Island cover does not contain a single photo or digital image on the cover or inside the album.

Instead, it consists of a wordless book with 11 pages of intricate and beautiful paper-cut patterns featuring the beauty and wrath of Mother Nature in Taiwan.

Xiao used laser paper-cutting technology to piece together famous images and major events in Taiwan’s past, from scenes of Orchid Island and of a Formosan rock monkey hiding in the trees, to the Presidential Office surrounded by fireworks, and a group of people escaping from a flood.

The design earned him three major international awards in 2010 — for Best Recording Package at the 10th Chinese Music Media Awards in China, the Best of the Best from the Red Dot design award in Germany, and the Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum in the United States.

Xiao received financial support from the BenQ Foundation during the year when he worked on the album, whose limited edition of four CDs costs over NT$2,000 (US$70) , much more expensive than regular CDs.

Sales have been boosted by Xiao’s rising fame and awards, according to his studio.

Story Island Website:

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