Paperboy – the app that lets you send artist-led gifts from your phone – has brought together a group of 19 international illustrators to create prints in aid of Stop Asian Hate charities. Featuring work from Aga Giecko, Amy Phung, Arose Garden, and Yuk Fun among others, the prints are part of a project titled Must Be Nice, a collection of “nice things” that help raise awareness of social and environmental causes, all the while supporting independent artists.
For this collection, a portion of every sale will go directly to the artists, many of which are of East and Southeast Asian heritage, while profits will go to Besea.n, End The Virus of Racism and Hackney Chinese Community Services – all of which are working to combat the rise in Asian hate crimes and xenophobia.
The app’s co-founder Matt Nguyen, who’s a British-born Vietnamese, decided to launch the platform last summer after directly experiencing racism himself. “In March when the pandemic began to hit the UK, I started experiencing noticeably more racism when out in London,” says Matt in an interview about the reasons why he started Paperboy. “I’ve experienced it all my life, however, I felt increasingly overt prejudice and hostility towards me simply because I was of Asian heritage. From micro-aggressions like a shop assistant looking me up and down and asking her colleague if it was safe to serve me, to a group of guys coughing and laughing at me in the street.”
“It lit a fire under me and in April I promised myself I would do something to change the narrative. I’ll change what I can, I’ll build my own platform. I decided to use my publishing experience to create a platform that championed diversity and inclusivity, whilst celebrating my love of illustration and good design.”
In response, Paperboy was co-founded along with his close friend Pete. “The goal was to create a platform that supported established, young and aspiring illustration talent from a truly diverse range of backgrounds, with a focus on representing, humanising and telling the stories of ESEA and minorities by putting the artists front and centre of everything we do,” he says in an announcement.
Other artists involved are Celine Ka Wing Lau, Christina Tan, Darcie Olley, Debbie Tea, Kimberly Morris, Jessie Wong, Lena Yokoyama, Marie Larica, Marina Ayashiro, Melissa Mathieson, Subin Yang, Vivienne Shao, Wendy Wong and Yee Poon.
The prints are available to buy from the Paperboy app which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. Prices start at £30 with framed options from £60.
Paperboy: Must Be Nice. Illustration by Subin Yang, Korean Groceries (Copyright © Subin Yang, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.