Studio Stories

Celebrating Our Queer Community Through Art, Voguing, and Coming Out of the Shadows

08/16/2023

Moon Creative Lab thrives on building an inclusive and diverse community – it’s what keeps us creative, innovative, and human-centered. And though we celebrate inclusivity all year long, the month of June, which is International Pride Month, was a great opportunity to spotlight our LGBTQIA+ community.

Throughout June, our team led learning sessions, discussions, and other fun activities like trivia to celebrate Pride as a company. We also organized a community-based art show where artists could showcase their queer-themed art to the public.

Following an open call to digital artists around the world, an art show and pop-up exhibition was held at our Tokyo studio in Omotesando. The event, which was open to all, displayed the beautiful, queer-themed art on windows and walls throughout the office. Visitors were able to admire art that celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community, socialize over drinks, and listen to their peers discuss building a diverse community during an open mic session. “The community and the people that came through were super chill, and we were just chatting. It was a nice event not only for queer people but for their friends, too. And the open mic portion, where anyone could talk about whatever they’re doing or anything they want to share – it was really fun,” says Hoan Phan, who was also chosen as the featured artist during the exhibit.

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Featured art piece from artist Hoan Phan.

Hoan says the inspiration for his art piece came from a traditional Vietnamese dish called bánh bèo, which is also a slang term used to describe queer men. “I thought this could be an interesting concept. This slang in Vietnamese, when used as an adjective, could be a bit negative… I wanted to change this kind of mindset because we are a new generation. It’s not just like, being feminine means being weird.” Aside from using the illustration of bánh bèo, Hoan wanted to instill a sense of confidence to emphasize the reclamation of the slang term. Characters are illustrated in various poses, much like those in the dance style of voguing. One character in particular strikes a strong resemblance to gender-defying, cultural icon Grace Jones. “You can see some Grace Jones there. I love her,” Hoan gushes. “I was thinking of voguing or ballroom culture, which would be a good fit for this because the people in this scene have a lot of confidence, show good energy, and have a lot of freedom expressing themselves. So I thought putting these two pieces together could be fun.”

"It’s not just like, being feminine means being weird.”

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Hoan Phan at Moon's Pride art show. 

Hoan’s work of art is brimming with fantastic detail, allowing the viewer to take notice of something different with each view. But those details aren’t just there to embellish, fill, or adorn – Hoan is much more thoughtful, instilling significance and symbolism into every small aspect, something that he hopes is conveyed to the observer. “My work, generally, is really colorful. Through this piece, I would like people to feel a very positive energy through the poses of the characters. When you look at more details, you see small things, so I would like for them to spend a little bit more time, traveling around, moving their eyes through the piece, looking into the details. Even though it’s small details, it’s simple, but I think it’s fun because each detail stands for some meaning. For example, the nail polish – it’s like a ‘yeah, I’m pretty!’ kind of thing. Or when you see the chili, it’s like being a ‘spicy’ person!”

"I would like people to feel a very positive energy."

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Yu Onodera, Senior FP&A Analyst at Moon, sees events that celebrate our diversity, like the Pride art show, as a way of celebrating Moon’s culture and sharing that with the world. “Moon is a place that embodies diversity, and I am sure most of us are proud of the freedom to be ourselves at Moon. So I hope the Pride event was a great opportunity for attendees to see, feel, and experience our culture.”

Machi Rezende, Design Lead at Moon, helped create the Pride art show so that he could increase visibility, awareness, and education throughout the company, and embrace our LGBTQIA+ community to show that Moon is a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place. “I wanted to create a safe space where not only queer individuals, but also allies could co-exist and learn about each other's stories. Instead of a boring presentation, we wanted to create a space of joy where people could feel free to express who they really are. And allies could engage in that dialogue. There is so much invisibility and ignorance around the existence of queer individuals. Opening spaces and media for discussion brings those people out of the shadows they’ve felt they had to hide in. Queer people exist, they are all over, and their existence has to be acknowledged, protected, and celebrated.” 

"Queer people exist... their existence has to be acknowledged, protected, and celebrated.”

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Machi Rezende and Yu Onodera from Moon.

We know that culturally diverse teams transcend homogeneous ones when it comes to innovation and creativity. At Moon, being human-centered is a value that lies at our core. And there is no better way to show and practice that value than to welcome, love, and include all humans, no matter their background, their orientation, or how they choose to identify.


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