When you’re in Guangzhou, China it doesn’t take very long to get the feeling that Monokuro Boo, a character brand consisting of a pair of minimalist cartoon pigs (one black, one white), has just usurped Hello Kitty as the pop icon of choice for the locals. Monokuro Boo has taken over Chinese fashion accessories, umbrellas, shower caps, windshields, pillows and any other thing with a fairly flat or round surface. Three main reasons for this:
- the pigs are quite cute,
- they’re simple to draw and can therefore be drawn on anything,
- they’re simple to replicate and can therefore be pirated by anybody.
The case of Monokuro Boo in China brings up some interesting issues for minimalism in China. The art and challenge in minimalism is the representation of an object with the least amount of detail as possible. Minimalism is all about stripping something down to its fundamental core. In real world practice this usually means that while this is very difficult creative work, the physical manifestation of it is both beautiful and very easy to copy.Monokuro Boo’s tagline is “simple is best.” But… will piracy change this sentiment?
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