About Pickled Panda

Pickled Panda is run and created by artist Mia Hawk, from her London studio. 

Pickled Panda all started very much unintentionally. 
I had purchased an ipad to use procreate with, to carry around as a digital sketch book. My intention was that I was going to practice my portrait drawing skills. Which I did.... for a while. 

Meanwhile, I was applying for funding to create a project/exhibition, which got rejected. Later, this would be a massive turning point in my art making. 

I felt quite frustrated and ended up feeling really down about not having the resources I needed to make a larger project come to life. In the midst of this, I was listening to a lot of artist interviews for inspiration, and I came across a quote that really struck me from the British artist Maggie Hamblin, she said the best advice she got from her mentor was to treat art as your best friend; you should be able to come to it with what ever you're feeling. 

And with that, I stopped practicing my portrait drawing and just started drawing some really really silly stuff. 

I loved how crap and basic the line work was; how confused and silly the animals where. The illustrations really made me laugh....! 
So it became a way for me to make myself feel better. 

There where only one basic rule; the drawing HAD to make me laugh. 

As the series evolved, the Pandas started taking over. 


Because pandas are my brain's spirit animal. They are utterly ridicules and there's a reason we have to fight so hard to keep that species alive. 
if you look at youtube videos of Pandas, you see them falling out of tall trees, doing rolley polleys down hills (and climbing back up to do it all again). They are natures silly fun lovers and all out jokes. If I'm depressed, chances are a panda video will cheer me up. They know how to have fun. And they are cute! 


The series also started taking on a slightly darker consumerist commentary.
In a lot of the products, on closer inspection the pandas are either dead or unhappy. The truth is that a lot of the things we consume aren't produced ethically. When we buy cheap crap, the reason it's cheap is that somewhere down the chain of production, someone isn't being payed fairly or corners are being cut. 

This is then often contrasted with bright, happy packaging, using cute animals. Often over promising what the product can actually deliver. 


Firstly, I LOVE the Japanese aesthetics. 

Secondly, I find things that have been translated from Chinese to English can be absolutely hilarious. I used to have a pintrest board with badly translated english signs. I think this is totally the vibe of the branding as well. 

So I use google translate all the Japanese. I have heard from Japanese speakers that most of the Japanese is actually pretty accurate to what I want it to say, regardless, I hope I might make a Japanese person laugh a little with what might be a badly translated sign. 

So there you go. 
Really, it's all just a bit of silly nonsense.