More than words

High Life discusses the power of words with Macau-based lettering artist Miko Ieong.

At a time where everything is done electronically and in an instant, Miko Ieong is holding onto the notion that anything done by hand comes with unique essence and meaning.

“Realistically speaking, technology makes our life convenient, but I believe that other things should be done by hand because it makes our lives more interesting,” explains Miko, a highly talented calligrapher and partner in Good Life Macau.

Occupying an entire two-storey building and featuring a range of natural finishes from white pine to warm redwood, the Good Life Macau shop speaks true to its branding as Miko is not only a business partner but also the interior designer.

“My main role here is to design and develop workshops,” she says. “At Good Life Macau, we select interesting workshops from around Asia and bring them to Macau. Occasionally, I also teach here.”

With feel-good jazz music playing in the background, it is evident that passion and positivity are the key inspirations behind this unique and fascinating place. On a high-ceiling entrance, it’s hard to miss the hand-lettered note stating, “Do what really makes you happy.”

Having spent her childhood years in the city, Miko migrated to San Francisco for seven years to study graphic design at college. She later landed a job in IT before returning to Macau in 2016 to follow her passion for letters.

“It’s not about coming back to a place where I feel comfortable, it’s about getting my inspiration from people here in Macau, who I would best describe as some of the most interesting people in the world,” Miko explains.

Miko’s curiosity about typography and lettering grew from her experiences in the US where such ancient crafts are making a comeback. She now uses the skills she has developed to apply her own stamps and style to everyday products such as t shirts, aprons and tote bags – a trait she says separates her from other calligraphy artists.

“I consider myself a designer or a lettering artist rather than a calligrapher because so much of my work is really about design,” she says, adding that her style gives context to her creations.

“Take fashion for example. You have clothes for sport and you have clothes for formal gatherings. You use them appropriately. In different situations, you use different style to match the look and feel.

“That is what calligraphy does. It’s all about expressing the deeper message, more than the words alone.”

Asked if she ever experiments with negativity in her messages – an emotion commonly found in the artistic world – Miko laughs before uttering an emphatic “no.”

“Sure I may write negative words, but this doesn’t necessarily convey negativity. Some words are just interesting as they are. By doing these kinds of things, I share positive vibes and I think a lot of people prefer positive things too,” she explains.

Better than anyone, Miko understands exactly how powerful words can be.

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