What Matters: Zipeng Zhu on Building Anew With LEGOs

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Debbie Millman has started a new project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an ongoing effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer 10 identical questions, and submit a decidedly nonprofessional photograph.

Up next: Zipeng Zhu, a Chinese-born artist, designer, art director, illustrator and animator in New York City who wants to make every day a razzle-dazzle musical.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Making work that brings dazzling, colorful, joyous energy to people.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

I remember after I got my first box of LEGOs, I put the model together based on the box as soon as possible, but then tore it apart immediately just so I could rearrange the pieces into something new, something out of my imagination.

What is your biggest regret?

I don’t really believe in regrets, in the sense that, yes, of course there are things I wish I’d never done. But the fact is, a lot of mistakes are inevitable. Instead of regret, I like to focus on learning from it so I won’t do it again.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?


What makes you cry?


How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

Forever. Every time I look back at some super-complicated project that I’ve done, I always give myself an invisible self-pat on my shoulder. Because to this day I still don’t know how I accomplished some of the tasks.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I don’t know if you have watched “The Good Place.” That show kinda ruined my imagination about the afterlife. However, my idea of an afterlife would be us turning into some form of abstract matter, maybe like a liquid light floating in space. That sounds nice. :-)

What do you hate most about yourself?


What do you love most about yourself?


What is your absolute favorite meal?

Anything my mom makes. There’s nothing more comforting than her cooking.