RA W MAGAZINE
01 Dec 2011
The RAW Magazine TEAM Joyce Yung
Joyce founded Random Art Workshop in 2009 to expand upon her passion for photography, art and to build a community of like-minded individuals that can come together to share their creative insights. The past several years has seen her involve her career in professional photography and championing everyday arts. With an affinity for discovering new avenues to give the rest of Hong Kong their dose of the unexpected and imaginative, RAW Magazine is her brainchild. She finds inspiration in traveling, loves the water, and is particularly fond of all things spiral.
Co-founder of Random Art Workshop, Derek has always been an ardent supporter of the arts. He caught the acting bug while studying in New York and subsequently, his interests have led him into the art of acting and further producing for CNN and other well received short-films. With a Producer’s role for a feature film under his belt, Derek continues to tirelessly pursue his passions. He enjoys quick witted conversations and running. He hopes RAW will help others find their callings.
Having started in the contemporary art scene in 2008, Zoe’s love for all kinds of art spurred her to book that one way ticket to Hong Kong in March 2010. She specializes in art writing and art consulting. The voice behind RAW Magazine’s mainstay column, ‘The Vitamin Box’, Zoe has an obsession with old school rap, her dogs Stella and Bogart and awkward moments.
Matina is RAW’s resident design and graphics wizard. Responsible for RAW Magazine’s innovative and distinct aesthetic identity, she celebrates her passion for design along with art mediums such as photography and sculpture. An upcoming visual artist, Matina’s art involves itself with the concept of intimacy and perception. She is also a yoga afficcionado with an intense love for aliens and gremlins.
Contributing Writers: Angela Li, Gallerist
Aurora Van Kerckhove
Angela Li is the director of Contemporary by Angela Li. G/F, 90-92 Hollywood Rd, Central
Aurora is the writing intern for RAW. Her interests and passions lay in music, art and writing.
Foreword My partner, Derek, and I started the concept of Random Art Workshop when we got past Hong Kongâ€™s hard candy shell of hustle and bustle. Many people come here to make their money and leave, but we wanted and still feel that Hong Kong deserves more permanence, especially in the field of art. We also felt that being an accountant, lawyer, and banker, etc. does not preclude you from being an artist, nor make you any less creative. Both coming from professional backgrounds, we started RAW to plant a seed that would grow into a community where people could learn about art without the confines or limits that society places on us. A safe haven to try new things without judgement because all art is created equal. We have survived the beginning, the naysayers. Weâ€™ve learned a lot about ourselves. And most importantly, we feel we were right about how we felt...that Hong Kong hungers for art and feeds its soul. That this community of people is diverse, extending beyond any ethnicity or background, local or expatriate, age or gender, and even beyond just Hong Kong. That people know to go to RAW to find something beyond the normal path. Our community grows each day, which has allowed us to collaborate with different venues, exhibitions, and artists; we remain committed to being a facilitator and supporter for anything art related. RAW Magazine is a natural progression of this emerging community: a powerful communication tool for all types of people to learn about and celebrate art, together.
Creative Director RANDOM ART WORKSHOP
Contents SPOTLIGHT 6
Our picks of notable and upcoming Hong Kong based artists remind us all of what makes this place such an exciting place for the visual arts.
14 FEATU RE: STUDIO VISIT
RAW spends a day with our featured artist, Kacey Wong, to chat about his latest works and inspirations.
ART SAVVY 22
Angela Li brings to you industry insights and advice to walking your way through art collecting, investment and more.
We sift through what’s going on around the globe art-wise and bring to you what we love most!
ART GIZMO 26
Find out what’s on our tech-radars at RAW HQ!
27 ON THE STREETS
Venturing into the alley ways and back streets of Hong Kong, we share with you our discoveries of creative and quirky establishments!
OFFTakeTHE SHELVES 28 a peek at the revolving bookshelves of
29 THE VITAMIN BOX
prominent entities in Hong Kong’s contemporary art scene.
RAW Magazine’s mainstay columnist Zoe Peña talks about art in everyday life.
OPEN HOUSE 30
With a theme for each issue, we invite you to take part and send in photos of your artwork!
Perpetual Paradise, 2011 Oil on Canvas
With a taste for the murky and complicated , Hong Kong-based Australian artist Marc Standing expresses the qualities of the human condition through surreal, distorted faces and an inventive colour palette. Originally born in Harere, Zimbabwe, Standing works with Lightbombs Contemporary in Hong Kong. Standingâ€™s works find root in a plethora of aspects that range from the political to the Freudian. Standing employs whimsy and fantasy to his most recent body of work, through blended pastel colours and dotted brushstrokes. Escapism totes a sinister note and this is not lost on Standing as the ever present masked figure emerges in this dreamland.
Written by Aurora van Kerckhove Images Courtesy of Marc Standing
Effigy, 2009 Mixed media stitched on paper
Lost in Limbo, 2006 Oil on Canvas
Reverence 4, 2009 Oil on Linen
The Never Never, 2010 Oil on Linen
Dolly and Me 2, 2009 Mixed media on paper
Photography lends itself easily to those that desire it but few possess the distilling eye that is needed. Over the past decade, fashion photographer Harry C has straddled the commercial and experimental facets of the medium, working with numerous fashion brands and publications as well as showing in fine art galleries in Hong Kong. Harry exploits the universal image of the body and produces photographs that arrest and draw in the viewer. His most significant styles include blurring of lights in peculiar angles, nearly transparent figures, symmetrical elements or even models striking interesting poses. He opened his first studio in Hong Kong in 1998 and currently works with Cube Management, one of the leading agencies in Japan.
Written by Aurora van Kerckhove Images Courtesy of Harry C 10
LV 2011 SS men collection advertorial 12
Ming magazine cover shoot
SS men collection advertorial
Kacey Wong is
beast” Interviewed by Zoe Peña Photographer: Joyce Yung Assistant Photographer: Matina Cheung
MONGKOK, HONG KONG - In a hole in the wall Taiwanese restaurant, renowned conceptual artist Kacey Wong scrolls through his phone, showing multiple images of his one-eyed tabby cat Ballball. “When I saw him at the SPCA, I knew he was the cat for me. Different but very sure of himself. Also, fully trained. But I taught him to do tricks, too.” There is a short video where Ballball slaps a clever high-five to Kacey. It has our small table in a gleeful ruckus and thankfully, through our late afternoon lunch, the restaurant is close to empty. Over brightly coloured bubble tea and noodles, the conversation wanders: from his childhood, his college years at Cornell and his upcoming pet project, which is installing a vegetable and herb garden in the balcony of Ap Lei Chau studio, Object Factory. Of course there is more brewing on the artist’s corner, career-wise. It is a fortunate multitasking role that Kacey (who also teaches at Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design) totes more so as the year closes. The word ‘superbeast’ is uttered a handful of times. And while the unintentional Rob Zombie reference is playfully discussed in varying philosophical, political and personal contexts, this could be just the word that encapsulates Kacey Wong and his drive to push and promote art. Outside, it is a beautiful afternoon in the Mongkok Flower Market. After lunch is wrapped up, our little group prepares to do a little wandering of our own.
Where do you find inspiration? I think there are two ways I do this. The first one is through the themes that are proposed to me when I do exhibitions. This is inspiration that is initiated from an outside source. But I also get inspired internally. There are recurring themes, kind of like recurring nightmares. A lot of these concepts have something to do with drifting, homelessness and wandering. This is a reflection on my early childhood when most of the time I didn’t have a permanent address. These days a lot of my work tackles the concepts and ideas of home, houses and shelter. What sock gets socked first? Left foot or right foot? I actually put on the left sock first, I will hold the sock with my right hand and when I lift my left leg, it is actually easier that is why the left goes on first. I think this signifies a balance of some sort.
Breakfasts usual ly start one’s day. What is the best way to start yours? This one is easy. My favourite breakfast food is two eggs, bacon, beans, and asparagus. I like my eggs sunny side up. But of course this idealism. In reality, my breakfasts are usually the quick bowl of cereal and occasionally an apple. Proudest far?
The proudest accomplishment I’ve achieved is that I am honest to myself and that I went for what I wanted, which was art. I didn’t veer away from what I love. This is very difficult, I think, to do in this city. It takes a lot of “city-ness” and guts to do this. Or craziness.
If you cou ld speak to one animal, what wou ld it be? And what wou ld you say? It would definitely be a cat, because I would like to speak to my beloved cat Ballball. However, I wouldn’t want to use language as a means of communication with Ballball, because it’s too intellectual. Actually, I can already communicate with my cat because we can read each other’s behaviour. Behaviour is real, not like an abstract level of thinking. Humans are always doing abstract level thinking - instead of living in the moment, we are always dreaming of the future or reminiscing the past. Animals are more grounded and authentic. For example, I can tell from my cat’s gestures that it is saying “Meow! I can’t poo!”. Or when I wake up in the morning, my cat comes and touches my leg with his nose. I later on found out it’s a feline gesture of ownership, so while I am petting him, he is petting me in the same manner. It’s quite funny. Tel l us a little bit more about your name. I was named “Kwok Choi” by my father and mother, but I wanted to be original,
so I decided to combine the two letters “K” and “C” and create the name “Kacey”. But then I realised that in America, a lot of girls are named Kacey. What are your thoughts on karaoke? My favourite karaoke song is “童年時” by Danny Summer (夏韶聲). I think karaoke is one of the best poetic environments, because it’s a rare occasion that we get to concentrate on song lyrics and get a chance to release our sentiments. When the lyrics are speaking to my heart, the tears come out because it’s not normal to feel these sorts of emotions in your daily life. Describe yourself in 7 syl lables.
What is eternity to you? For me, eternity is other people’s memories of yourself. If they can still remember me after my death, then I know that the memory of me lingers on even if my material body disappears from the world. This is a way of achieving immortalityfor any artist, good or bad. Wou ld you take the road that leads to the sea or to the castle? I would definitely go to the sea, because there is a horizon there, there is sea, there is the fish. And when you are looking at the horizon, you see possibilities and dreams. The castle is like a prison - you are well protected and on the top of the world but you can never come out.
Ve-ry in-tro-spec-tive. Oh, that’s only six syllables. Ve-ry in-tro-spec-TA-tive, then. Is Elvis real ly dead? No, because in every generation there is a reproduction of him. I think he is the ultimate representation of Rock n’ Roll that made it to popular culture and everyone appreciates it because of him.
What’s next in your bucket list? My version of a bucket list consists of a macro and a micro perspective. Micro perspective refers to small things that pop up, such as interactions with other people. It is like an exchange of the minds, because I can go deeper into my own mind when talking to others. In terms of macro perspective, I keep a chart to keep track of the number of exhibitions I do in a year. I try to experiment with the numbers to know my limitations and reach my full potential. For example, now I realise that I can do more than 12 exhibitions a year. However, I still focus on the quality and not the quantity of the art. Every year during the summer, I try to learn a new skill such as gardening to see what more I can do and how well I can do it. Favourite smel l and why. My favourite smell is cheap perfume, because it is one of the first things I
encountered in a woman when you are a child. Everyone has their version of comfort food whether it’s a childhood concoction or a discovery from a different cou ntry. What is your u ltimate comfort food? My ultimate comfort food is Reese’s peanut butter cups. I have a method of consuming a peanut butter cup - first I eat all the edges, then I eat the chocolate layer and leave the peanut butter part for the end. What do you love about Hong Kong? I love that I can walk transparently in Hong Kong. There’s nowhere else in the world that gives me this feeling. When I’m walking down the streets in Hong Kong, I won’t feel like I’m shining or being watched. I’m just an anonymous native. I think the comfort of blending
in is called home. Instead of focusing on your identity, you can focus on the meaning of life. Why do people climb mou ntains? I think people climb mountains because they want to conquer something. It’s to prove to yourself that you can overcome difficulties, sort of like a “Mom, I did it” mentality. In a way, we all climb mountains everyday. It’s good to have a “mountain”, because it is a goal and vision in life. Right now, part of my mountain is to conquer gardening.
A Day In The Life... 20
14:30 07:12 Woke up early and worked on studentâ€™s briefing
07:16 Played with Ballball cat 10:55 Teaching interior design students
at The Hong Kong Polytechnic Universityâ€™s School of Design
14:30 Worked on the door handle project in the studio
14:35 Continued working on the door handle project in the studio
18:00 Interviewing students from Chi19:11 Driving on the motorcycle 20:20 Attending art opening and watch art performance at City University
21:30 Heading for home
23:30 Images and Captions Courtesy of Kacey Wong
23:14 Picking up gas for the motorcrcyle 23:23 Arrived home and welcomed by Ballball Cat
23:30 Home with wife Margaret and Ballball Cat
Art Col lecting 101 with
Introductions by Zoe Peña Written by Angela Li Photographer: Joyce Yung
Why collect art? Ask any one person and they will most probably have differing answers. When it comes to something as subjective and yes, temperamental, as art, investing and collecting can be approached via a number of angles. But this is not to say that it is not extremely enjoyable once one gets bitten by the collecting bug. Perhaps this is one of the simplest reasons to explain as to why people collect art. On a practical level, there are other things to consider. The world we live in plays the numbers game often and as any market operates, it’s always better to have a guide of some sort. Cue Angela Li, gallerist and owner of Contemporary by Angela Li. Having been in the business for a decade, she has been celebrating and collecting contemporary art through her exhibitions and the art consultation branch of the gallery. Read on to find out her insights on starting an art collection and her breakdown on how to enter the complicated and intimidating world of art collecting. First thing’s first. Consider one’s intention. Do you want to collect because you a) like a piece, b) because all your friends are doing it and it has suddenly become a trendy thing to do, or c) because you keep reading about people getting some amazing returns on selling their paintings and you want some of that too? As an art lover, I always encourage people to buy art only if they fall in love with it. Buying art as an investment can be much 22
riskier than investing in stocks. There are so many variables determining the future value of art. It is close to impossible to predict creativity based on track record. Liquidity is also a big concern when considering art as an investment and this is often not stressed enough when people broach the world of art investment. Stocks are relatively easier to sell in the market. We read about how some people make x number of times their original investments but there is no hot-line on the radio that allows those who cannot sell their paintings to call and complain. No one hears this side of the story. The truth is, as there are plenty of cases of getting good returns on art, there are many more cases of people being stuck with their art that they cannot sell. Transaction costs are also very high. So if one took into consideration all these factors (and the mentioned are only some of them), they make art a terrible investment instrument. If you are still happy to spend some money on a piece of art after you have read the above, then this is my best recommendation: When investing in the stock market, one would read and investigate as much as they could about the company before putting any money down. Do the same for Art. Do as much research as you can on the artist. Go to as many exhibitions as you can, ask to be put on the mailing list of galleries. Attend auction previews and art fairs. Speak to people in the industry, such as gallery owners or if possible, the artists themselves. Compare what you see. Who is promoting the artist? Are the artistâ€™s style and ideas following a trend or is he creating a trend? This list can go on and on but the more you know, the better you have equipped yourself with the necessary knowledge when it comes to buying an art piece. I know many collectors who train themselves by constantly looking to train their eyes and asking questions to build up their knowledge. Some may think that this research may not matter much. The way I see it, learning about the history and artist process of any art piece is also part of the experience and of course, the pleasure as well.
Paper arts doesnâ€™t get too much buzz in the world of contemporary art making. Some may associate it with casual 2D paper cutout figures, others maybe collages and origami. Although this form of medium has rules and constraints, trust that Sydneybased artist Benja Harney pushes the limits and gives a whole new meaning to the medium. Looking at his works, it is hard to believe that these dynamic and vivid creations are simply made from plain paper. A paper engineer who expresses his distinct style and perception of reality in the commercial and artistic field, Harneyâ€™s ensembles and assemblages have chiseled out his space as one a luminary of the medium. In August 2011, Harney held his first solo exhibition Paper Attic at Object Gallery in Australia.
BENJA HARNEY Written by Aurora van Kerckhove Images from from www.paperform.wordpress.com 24
HOLGA LAU NCHES NEW iPHONE 4 PHOTO FILTER TU RRET
Many people may not know that the Holga originated right here in Hong Kong in 1982. In the niche photography culture of toy and box cameras, Holga has remained true to their low-fi aesthetic yet reinventing themselves to let a new generation of aspiring toy camera-enthusiasts experience Holga in a completely new way. Holga’s new Special Lens and Art Filter Case Turret promises pictures on the go with the brand’s iconic quirky feel. For those of you that don’t know what a turret is, a turret is originally defined as a “small tower on top of a larger tower or at the corner of a building or wall, typically of a castle.” This is actually in reference to how the photo adaptor is attached to the iPhone’s back area. Just like most iPhone cases, it latches on quite easily (very user friendly) to the mobile phone. There are 10 filters built into the turret. These include various colour filters, heart-shaped frames, an impressive macro lens and a handful of clever split screen filters. All of them are fabulous ways to quickly capture your mood and feel of a situation into a photo. Particularly notable is the macro filter which allows you to take some really nice closeup detail shots with an artistic background blur. The vignetted color filters also diversify ways to quickly take a snapshot and add your own creative flair to it. With the popular rise of numerous photo filter applications at present, Holga brings to the table a great tangible addition for everyone look forward to encountering!
Written by Joyce Yung Photographer: Joyce Yung 26
Konzepp Rare is it that a commercial identity is hashed out so clearly. Ironically, a store called after the notion of an idea, Konzepp, is just that. Grounded by clever design and a notable curatorial slant to the products and merchandise found in the store, it is a pocket in uber capitalized Hong Kong that lends itself to an extremely niche but equally creative market and audience. Located in 50 Tung Street, Lower Ground Floor, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
Identity Art Gal lery Identity Art Gallery is one of the newest spaces that support Hong Kongâ€™s skyrocketing art scene.The gallery is housed in a stark white building and comprised of a first floor gallery and second floor showroom with airy windows that overlook charming Tung Street. Featuring a stable of emerging contemporary artists who produce timeless pieces influenced by their cultural identities, Identity highlights the significance of a sound concept and sentiment behind their artworks.
Writtn by Aurora van Kerckhove Photographer: Matina Cheung 27
ON THE STREETS
Located in 53 Tung Street, Lower Ground Floor, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
OFF THE SHELVES
Simon Birch is currently reading: Being an artist people often assume I read art related literature but I’m mostly interested in science and history, with a bit of science fiction thrown in. When I paint I’m often working on up to a dozen or more works all at the same time, bouncing from one to another as my mood changes or while I’m waiting for things to dry. I’m the same with books, I always have a few on the go. Right now it’s: “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jarred Diamond. I’ve read this in the past and often come back to it, a great insight in to how civilization happened.
“The Shock Doctrine”, Naomi Klein’s insightful study of how governments and institutions take advantage of shocking events to bring about changes, sadly not always for good. Bill Bryson’s new book, “At Home; A short history of private life”. Much more than a literal history of the home, a great fun read. His other book, “A Short History of Nearly Everything” was great too.
The Cat Street Team is currently reading: We are currently reading a variety of Indian travel and history books as research for an upcoming show with artist Richard Winkworth, who was born in Bombay and whose Encaustic wax/ oil works are influenced from his extensive travels there.
Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009.
“The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund de Waal. The compelling memoir centred around the inheritance of his uncles collection of netsuke, two hundred miniature Japanese figures which have been in his family’s possession since the nineteenth century.
All of these have been, or are being, read by the entire team. We share books often.
“Life” by Keith Richards. A candid autobiography detailing his life on the road as a Rolling Stone, an enticing and riveting read from Rock and Roll royalty.
Image, Recommendations Courtesy of Simon Birch and The Cat Street Gallery
For The Love Of Art
by Zoe Peña
he velocity of this city is jarring to a newcomer. After two years of living here, Hong Kong is still an alien entity to me. It is tricky to understand what makes it tick. But there is one thing that I do understand of Hong Kong: that there is an unmistakable creative vein pulsing. Art is important in Hong Kong. It is important everywhere but it is most essential in the place that one calls home. Two years is either too short or ample enough of a time to define what a home is - but this is besides the point for someone who loves art. What matters most for an art lover is finding spaces that allow them to enjoy what is inspired and creative in a more unassuming manner. I suppose this is why it’s a little heartbreaking to receive the news that my favourite (and I truly mean favourite) watering hole in Hong Kong is closing down come the first of January. More than a bar, the place has become an alternative urban art space. Many of Hong Kong’s creatives frequent the place. The community associated with the bright orange triangle are some of the most artistic minds in the city. Whether a quiet night or a rager, moments in there are, I feel, never wasted. I found my place through the revolving door of places and strangers - it was on their steps, nursing a drink with friends, always with the possibility of meeting more bright, like minded people. And what a pleasure to see unexpected art gracing it’s front wall, more so to hear and see people react to it. However lengthy the discussion, people talking about art in casual conversation is refreshing.
I am writing about this because fostering creative energies in any form is a responsibility. I think when people can find their place in a city that is quite selfish with space, that it is an incredibly special thing. I think it’s a shame for rent issues to knock down that little bar which more than just serving drinks, really provided a way for creatives to encounter each other. In some way, those meetings contributed to the local art scene via new projects and collaborations. Perhaps the space was on borrowed time, lasting eight plus years when other establishments these days close down after two. Speculations aside, it would have just been nice to have it around for a bit longer. Then again, I believe things work out the way they are supposed to. Certainly my favourite watering hole is not the only fortuitous alternative art space in Hong Kong. There are others, often overlooked by most, yet loved dearly by a handful because of what they are to them: a vibrant space for exchanging earnest insight and ideas on a regular basis. Everyone has their version of this. And while I will be feeling displaced for awhile, maybe with me facing year three in Hong Kong, it is time for me to venture out and see what else this place, quick paced as it is, has in store for myself. Things in Hong Kong sprout up as fast as they can be dismantled and with one less prime spot in Wyndham Street being occupied, who knows, the possibility of an artist-run space or some art library cafe is ripe for the picking!
THE VITAMIN BOX
But the real estate climate in Hong Kong is often challenging to art and culture. Galleries pay more than what they can for high ceilings and big walls which may hurt the business because in reality, the art market is finicky. Some may decide to go without the appropriate type of space for the art they exhibit, which could compromise the presentation of the art itself. Artists travel all the way out to Fotan, New Territories and Chai Wan for affordable studio space and even then, ‘affordable’ is a term that is pushing it. Big sizable artworks struggle to find homes in Hong Kong for lack of enough wall space in people’s apartments. Of course there are the few with enough money for anything, but that’s not really the point of art, is it?
Inspirations Rather than RAW Magazine being a one sided conversation, we want to get our readers involved. With a theme for each issue, we invite you to take part and send in photos of your artwork!
“Song of Life” There’s something about this street performer that invokes the feeling of hope and optimism in the world. And that is what keeps me going everyday. Photographer: Joyce Yung, www.joyceyung.com
Amongst all this organized chaos, I’ve always wondered what those individual fish are thinking. Do they long to break free from the group or do they just go with the flow? Photographer: Derrick Fong, www.shotbyfong.com
“Quiescent” Life under the sea is truly an amazing sight, like the way that a school of fish are able to maneuver and swin in unison through almost a psychic connection.
“The Red One” Suddenly, I like a girl. Photographer: Trevor Yeung, www.trevoryeung.net
“Star Wars” Nature after rain is full of surprise. Photographer: Elden Cheung, www.101sight.com
“Coco Pop” Photographer: Fanny Cheuk, www.fanny-cheuk.com
“Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These” Every little thing in my life gives me inspirations. Photographer: Smellslikeme, www.smellslikeme.com
Email us your submission to: email@example.com 35
For our upcoming issue, we would love to see YOUR take on “Old Hong Kong” - whether photography, painting, sculpture - send us a snapshot of how you encapsulate the theme. Selected submissions will be published in our next issue! Those selected for publishing will receive a gift sponsored by Holga.
firstname.lastname@example.org www.randomartworkshop.com www.facebook.com/randomartworkshop