It's the Year of the Tiger! But what exactly does that mean...?
Chinese New Year, one of many Lunar New Year celebrations, begins on the new moon which marks the end of Winter and beginning of Spring. One of the many components of Chinese New Year that makes it unique from other Spring Festivals is the Chinese Zodiac, which is a repeating 12-year cycle of animal signs based on the lunar calendar. 2022 is the year of the tiger!
With her passion for climbing and desire to share Chinese Culture with the community, Co-Founder and CEO Alice Kao was inspired to launch a Tank that celebrates both. Alice share's more with us about her inspiration for the tank top and her own Chinese New Year Traditions below in a Q&A.
Celebrating Chinese New Year Through Art
These Chinese-inspired Climbing Tanks designed by artist Ariel Lee are available for purchase in-person and online. Sender One will donate 50% of proceeds during February 2022 to the Asian Pacific Island Forward Movement, a group dedicated to cultivating healthy, long-lasting, and vibrant Asian and Pacific Islander communities through grassroots organizing.
Co-Founders Alice Kao, Wes Shih and family on Chinese New Year 2021
Wes Shih in a Chinese-inspired climbing shirt from Uplift Climbing
Q&A with Co-Founder and CEO, Alice Kao
Q: What was your inspiration to share this part of your Asian culture with the community?
A: "Actually the idea was inspired by Andrew Hou at Uplift Climbing in Seattle, WA. Wes and I went to Seattle last September to meet up with other climbing gym owners and we checked out Andrew's new bouldering gym. He sells a shirt at this gym that says "Climbing Gym" in Chinese. I was so intrigued by it I told him I'd like to copy his idea (and send him a shirt when Sender One prints one!)
The truth is I've always wanted to share Chinese culture with the community, since we started the company almost 10 years ago, but it didn't feel like it was a good time until now. We attended our first Climbing Wall Association summit in 2012 and we were the ONLY Asian people who were climbing gym owners. I might have been the only woman of color who owns a climbing gym in America for a very long time. It has definitely changed over the past few years and the climbing industry is becoming more diverse across all levels. I'm really proud to be a part of this transformation."
Q: Sender One has 6 Core Values, why did you choose 'Climb Together' to be represented in this design?
A: "Because "Climbing Together" is what has gotten all of us through the past 24 months, and because the Chinese phrase for Climbing Together sounds and looks cool."
Q: Does your family celebrate Chinese New year, and if so how do you celebrate?
A: "Yes! I was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to the US when I was 12. My memories of Chinese New Year as a kid were lots of family gatherings, mahjong, and lots of red envelopes. My mom and I have tried to carry some of these traditions with us now that we're in the US. We still eat hot pot on Chinese New Year's eve, dumplings on Chinese New Year's day, and give the kids red envelopes. Hopefully soon we'll start teaching the kids how to play mahjong, it'll help them learn Chinese characters."
Q: What is your Chinese zodiac?
A: "Year of the Sheep. To illustrate how much my family cares about this, my Chinese name has the character of the sheep in it!"
Q: What's something you'd like to accomplish in the Year of the Tiger?
A: "To be courageous like a tiger and open another gym 🙂 "
About the Artist
Ariel Lee is an Asian American artist and illustrator based out of Southern California. Just like her Chinese Zodiac animal, the Ram, her heart seems to be in the colorful mountains shown in her art. She shared with us that some other AAPI artists that inspire her include Josh Cochran, Tomi Um, and Andrew Hem. See more of her colorful paintings on her Instagram @lee_ariel_, or visit her site.
Bitterbrush Mountains, Gouache on paper, 2021, 11x15 in
Mural by Ariel Lee, Photo by: Andrea Ceseña
Horizon Showers, Gouache on paper, 2021, 15x11 in