If you’ve ever wanted to experience another person’s daydream, Colorful Dreams by VOFAN may be what you’re looking for. It’s a mixed media art book featuring ruminations on life, photography, and art, all combining to share the experience of living life and sharing in the smaller moments. If you give this book a chance you’ll find it’s a unique experience and one you don’t see often in the marketplace.
Split up across 14 stories, VOFAN opens each story with a title and some context, cuts to some manga-style art and story, and finishes the same story with the same title and further reflection. Each story is different from one another and unconnected, but the format keeps a thread in each story so as to draw your interest and reflect on the subject well. Much of the book is focused on living in Taiwan which is unique in itself, but it helps share and builds on the culture of the area. A lot is covered over the stories and the calm in each story creates a pace and flow to the overall book that’s unmistakably hard to resist.
Stories range from waiting for the bus on a hot summer day, to taking refuge under a makeshift roof containing idols, and working outside a restaurant with competition staring right at you. VOFAN is very good at capturing a bit of the magic of being alive in every story. A personal favorite is a story about the back alley of apartments on the first day of snow. VOFAN captures the beauty of the dark and tight space while reflecting on why it’s so touching to stand between apartment buildings. Most stories feature young female characters which help add softness and sense of youth to every story too.
Adding to the overall package is VOFAN’s photography, which is at times abstract, obtuse, and vaguely reflective of life. It adds a personal layer to the subject and makes the book feel intimate. Also of note is the lettering and placement, which sometimes runs at an angle or rests in an unexpected place. Translated by Sze K. Chan, the lettering and language is beautiful and draws you into the narrative in its own way. There truly is a blending of artistic styles from translation, photography, art, and personal story. It’s a richly layered story well worth exploring.
Added to all this is a Q&A with VOFAN, which is helpful especially for readers like myself who aren’t familiar with the artist. It’s a nice way to finish the book since it helps add context and personal personality after sharing in VOFAN’s journey along the way.
This is quite a book that’s beautiful, introspective, and really a celebration of life via the smaller moments. The blending of artistic types and stories helps make this feel like a day in the life that’s intimate and well worth exploring. This is the perfect book for a rainy day of introspection.