Celebrating Lunar New Year with James Jean x Johnnie Walker

Renowned visual artist, James Jean and Eyedress pose with his Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year Bottle at the 88rising Moonrise Gala in Los Angeles, CA
Photo courtesy of Jojo Korsh / BFA / Hunter PR

We recently got to ring in the Lunar New Year in Los Angeles with James Jean and Johnnie Walker at the 2024 Moonrise Gala by 88rising and the AAPI community. The beautiful event was held at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California, and included a cast of celebrities from Jocelyn Enriquez and Guapdad 4000 to Anderson .Paak and Destin Daniel Cretton. There were special performances and awards throughout the night in honor of the celebration.

Johnnie Walker had on display their latest collaboration bottle art with renowned artist James Jean. James is a Taiwanese-American visual artist who has done work in everything from DC Comics to working with Prada. We got a chance to speak with James about his inspiration behind the design and any upcoming projects.

BallerStatus: How did it come about, your partnering up with Johnnie Walker for this collaboration?

James Jean: Well, I received a request from Johnnie Walker about a potential partnership and I was immediately very excited to talk to them about the opportunity. They’re globally recognized and appreciated and I was very excited to be able to figure out how we could work together.

BallerStatus: With the year of the dragon were curious about some of the inspirations that went behind the design of the piece.

James: Yeah, for the year of the dragon, it’s very important, one of the most auspicious symbols in the Lunar New Year in the Chinese zodiac. It was important for me that I created a version of the dragon that felt innovative as well as pay tribute to the traditional visuals of a Chinese dragon. And so I worked hard to kind of create a dragon that felt uniquely mine while also being very recognizable as a dragon for the Lunar New Year.

BallerStatus: For the Lunar New Year, do you have any favorite traditions you celebrate for the holidays?

James: Well, you know, when I was a child, I grew up on the East Coast, you know, kind of away from the rest of the family in Asia. We did make dumplings and I would get red envelopes growing up from relatives. But, you know, there’s always been a sense of, I guess, detachment, which is, I think, a common story with, you know, the Asian diaspora and, you know, with all cultures. I think that sense of detachment kind of contributes to, I guess, the poetic part of my work, that sense of longing and loss. With this artwork, the dragon, it’s sort of a way for me to kind of reclaim those traditions and that heritage by creating those connections. And what’s great about collaborating with Johnnie Walker is that it’s something tangible that people can, can, you know, allow the art into their lives. It’s a really easy way for them to connect with the art.

Johnnie Walker continues the create its roots in the community and we’re very excited to see the Lunar New Year design for 2025 which is the year of the snake. Below are some special Johnnie Walker recipes to craft the cocktails at home yourself and be sure to grab yourself a bottle of this year’s Lunar New Year design by James Jean here.

Dollar Bills

  • 1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  • 0.25 oz Kumquat Cordial
  • 0.5 oz Lime Juice
  • 0.25 oz Agave
  • 2 Dashes Cucumber Bitters
  • 3 oz Soda Water

Glassware: Highball Glass

Dragon’s Lair

  • 1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  • 0.25 oz Roasted Barley Jaggery Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Toasted Almond Bitters

Glassware: Rocks Glass


  • 1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  • 0.25 oz Lime Juice
  • 0.75 oz Melon Syrup
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 0.5 oz Hibiscus Tea
  • 0.75 oz Pomm Green Tea

Glassware: Highball Glass

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