Where is Van Gogh’s Ear?, 2012, pencil, charcoal, chalk and gel canvas How did you start drawing or painting?
As a kid I would follow my dad to work. Spending the day with adults, I didn’t know what to do, so I started drawing. I drew more and more and my dad’s colleagues would come and compliment me. Of course, as a kid, you love to hear these kinds of things. It made me happy when people liked my drawings so I kept doing it. I took art all through school and I knew from a young age that an office job or corporate sort of lifestyle was not for me. I knew this was the path I wanted to take.
For example, I read an article about an Englishman who took 26 years to finish a Rubik’s cube and I thought, how dumb! So I got some Rubik’s cubes and created a sculpture that spells out “Dumb” using the different colours of the cube. Afterwards, I realized that I had spelled “dumb“ wrong and it looked like the word “dump”. So I guess the dumb one in the end was actually me (laughs). There was also a period when I really liked drawing fruit, I feel like there’s something very special about them.
Did you carry on to go to art school?
What interested you about fruit?
Yes I went to The Chinese University of Hong Kong. What made me happiest was having teachers who were so encouraging and who took the time to appreciate and understand my style and me as a person. It’s also great to meet fellow young artists going through the same things as you. This studio that I have now, I share with my ex-classmates. We got together and decided to share the rent but we end up sharing many other things, such as our collection of art books. We are all so different, so a book someone else buys might not be one I would buy, but we open each other’s eyes by embracing our respective individuality.
I feel that most of the things we eat aren’t necessarily made to be eaten. It is people who have made them into food. But fruits are grown for the sole purpose of eating. They exist to nourish our bodies; they were basically born to die. Bananas are particularly interesting to me. Oranges and apples and almost all other fruit, once they go black we consider them no good, but with bananas, it’s only when they’re a little rotten that they’re at their sweetest. And I apply that to people. I think people who have been through some kind of struggle come out of their circumstances with a certain sweetness.
What inspires the subjects in your paintings?
There isn’t really any consistency in my subject matter but that’s what keeps things interesting for me. I like news stories but I don’t mean cover stories; I like finding weird quirky, bizarre stories that are slid into newspapers and often overlooked. There are a lot of funny things that happen in our world every day.
Published on Apr 17, 2013