From bridal gowns to bug art may sound like an unusual career change, but COVID-19 has inspired one artist, Tak Hau, to finally follow his true passion. When the pandemic hit, The Washington Post reported how many were finding new space for creativity — perhaps learning to play instruments, taking up baking, or rediscovering abandoned hobbies. At the same time, research indicated that the coronavirus was prompting many to reevaluate their lives and contemplate positive changes for the future. One survey concluded that as few as 9% of people actually wanted life to return to the so-called normal after the pandemic.
Tak Hau is one such person whose life turned upside down in 2020, drastically shifting direction as a top-rated bridal designer who has been featured On My Fair Wedding and The Try Guys. As many as 80% of businesses reported disruption from COVID-19, and Hau — a fashion designer for over 20 years —realized that the bridal industry would be hit particularly hard.
“The whole wedding market completely unraveled. The last thing on anyone’s mind was planning events. Those still wanting to get married were in no way splurging, but often having small ceremonies without much flair.”
Professional struggles were soon followed by personal ones when Hau’s partner was hospitalized with Covid. A light at the end of the tunnel was the connection he maintained with friends through regular Zoom calls. This led to an epiphany: “Part of the new-normal was the fascination people had seeing friends and colleagues in their homes -noticing their walls, the décor, the whole vibe. It motivated many to think about how to smarten up their rooms with some personality now that they were spending so much time at home.”
Hau had a previous interest making art out of butterflies and beetles, after spending years exploring entomology, but never believed it could become a full-time venture. All of a sudden, he had nothing but time to throw himself into doing what he had always wanted to do. He started insectism.com to showcase his art, which has a modern, architectural vibe.
“My style is a bit outside the box, perhaps rendering something that would make you do a double-take, evoke a fantasy, or stimulate the imagination. I often like creating something that is both beautiful and thought-provoking. A major aspect of my art is focusing on the environment and utilizing ethically collected insects so I’m not merely enlivening a wall but starting a conversation as well.”
Much like butterflies emerging from their cocoons, Hau’s story is one of transformation. COVID-19 holds a silver lining where destruction generates new growth: “I didn’t give up and am now doing what I never dared dream I could do before.” Tak’s art debuts at Portland’s Paxton Gate later this month.