05 Spring 2013
RA W MAGAZINE
By Joey Pang, Tattoo Temple
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.
Art has always played an important role in Alba’s life (ever since grade school when she discovered that art making could get her out of team sports). Upon completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History, Alba was a luxury travel PR manager before breaking out as an editor and writer for various lifestyle publications. She’s currently the deputy editor of a leading interior design magazine and freelancer based in Hong Kong.
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: Leanne Mirandilla
Writer and editor by trade, Leanne is a Hong Kong native and arts and culture enthusiast. She enjoys reading, drinking coffee and finding new and interesting things to do in the city. Follow her on Twitter at @lemirandilla.
Claire is a professional dancer and teacher as well as a keen writer. She enjoys all aspects relating to the arts and is also a fashion blogger for AnyWearStyle.com.
Foreword My partner, Derek, and I started the concept of Random Art Workshop when we got past the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and past its hard outer shell. Many people come here to make their money and leave, but we see things a little differently and feel that Hong Kong deserves more permanence, especially in the field of art. We also felt that being an accountant, lawyer, and banker does not preclude you from being an artist, nor make you any less creative. We started RAW to plant a seed that would grow into a community where people could learn about art and an outlet for their creativity, without the confines or limits that society places on us. RAW Magazine is a natural progression of this emerging community.
Creative Director RANDOM ART WORKSHOP It was the human form that first inspired people to paint, draw and sculpt. As budding artists, we’re taught perspective by measuring objects in the distance using our thumb, we learn to trace the contours of a model’s naked curves with charcoal and pencil, and finally evolve to portray the body as we see it – an object of beauty or obscenity. The body – both nude and clothed – has been a fascination for artists since the beginning of time and continues to intrigue. In our Spring issue, we take a closer look at the artists who are using their own bodies as mediums of art. From whimsical body sculptures by Ho Siu Kee (p. 14), Daniel Yeung’s avant-garde dance performances (p.6), to a tattoo parlour where star tattooist, Joey Pang, paints onto skin with ink and needle (p. 22) – these are the people who are using the human form as a vessel in creating new and innovative bodies of art. By Alba Ma
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 STUDIO VISIT: HO SIU KEE We speak to the innovative professor and body artist about his past, present and future projects
FEATUDelving RE:intoDEEP SKIN 22 Hong Kong’s burgeoning tattoo
32 ART SAVVY Young and hip art collector, Mina Park, shares
culture, we visit Tattoo Temple and speak to the legendary Joey Pang
her tips on starting your own collection
We sift through what’s been going on around the globe art-wise, and share what caught our eye
The fantastic and fun gadgets that are changing the way we make art
OFF THE SHELVES 37 Good reads recommended by the city’s
40 DISCOVER Sneak peek at rising talents from around
Exceptional snapshots from everyday life
Daniel Yeung multimedia artist
to become a solo artist, creating pieces designed by and for him. It was from here Daniel’s choreographic journey began. His first piece, ‘Dance Exhibitionist’, forged a link across the art mediums, with a life size video projection of Daniel, creating a new dimension for contemporary dance. The use of multimedia and video projection has remained a constant of Daniel’s solos. Famous for exploring taboo subjects as well as using nudity, he emphasises that these are not just shock-tactics. “As a visual artist, one of the first skills you learn is life-drawing or sculpture of a nude model, it’s a very basic, mainstream thing. I feel that all art starts with the body, and should always come back to the body, whether the medium be paint or dance.” He also raises the valid point of not wanting his pieces to be judged based on his costume. “How should I know what to wear? I use the symbols of my body to create my art, not a costume detracting or leading the audience away from these symbols.” Daniel’s unique approach to dance has led to him being a sought after expert in Hong Kong. He is now ‘giving back’ to the dance community as he explains, “I wear many hats, I’m no longer just a dancer and choreographer.’ Daniel is working closely with local government organisations to create platforms for dancers, curating works across the dance fields and genres, including the Free Space Fest and Open Dance initiatives. He is also a guest teacher and lecturer across many Hong Kong universities as well as a dance critic for the local media. “These interactions give dance the nutrition it needs to organically evolve and move forward, new situations leading to new creations.”
Over the past 10 years, Daniel Yeung has rapidly established himself as one of the leading contemporary dance artists in Hong Kong. Daniel’s journey into the dance field has been anything but conventional. After leaving school, he majored in fine arts and music, before going on to work in various local art institutions. When he failed to find his true calling in this area, he went on to volunteer at a local contemporary dance studio. “I felt dance was something that was in my blood. Maybe my visual arts background led me to see myself as a piece of art, a sculpture perhaps, and therefore more capable to understand my body and how it moves.”
Looking forward, Daniel hopes to continue these collaborations as well as creating further solo performances. In terms of what they’ll be, he’s not so sure. “Art is not like commercial design. There’s no fixed target to reach. You don’t know where art will arrive, you just transcend from stage to stage, and the life of the artwork leads you there. As long as it’s honest, I’ll just let it happen.”
Aged 29, Daniel made the life-changing decision to quit his day job and try to forge a career in the dance arena. The risk paid off, with him gaining dance and choreography scholarships in both Holland and the UK. After returning to Hong Kong, Daniel faced the tough challenge of carving a niche in this highly competitive space. Without fellow dancers or a company for support, he turned this disadvantage into his strength, deciding
Written by Claire Johnson 6
Painter, Poet, Curator and the idea of a blood sacrifice (hence the name). “There’s always some fear in our every day life,” Lee explains. “I’m very interested in that unknown fear inside our hearts, and I see it more and more in people around me. I think it’s a growing insecurity about material things; because we have technology in our hands for our convenience, the insecurity grows and the distance between people grows. Sometimes people find my work very negative or disturbing, but what I’m trying to communicate is actually the desire to be liberated.” Lee is currently working on another project called “Tofu and Violence” where she photographs people from different age and cultural groups holding a fragile brick of tofu, then asking each participant what gentleness means to them. The photography sessions will be taking place this spring, and will eventually be combined with mixed media paintings addressing the issues of violence and strength. Besides painting, Lee also curates shows and writes poetry in Chinese and English—some of which is themed according to her paintings, as with her “Sacrifice” series. “I think poetry itself is a very unique language; a unique way to say something,” she says. “Poetry is very internal. I have to sit down and indulge in an imaginary world, and then I have to write it out. It’s like being a messenger, while painting is like a journey of searching for materials and experiences.”
From a design background originally, local artist Claire Lee first delved into the art world in 2008 after studying art curatorship at the Hong Kong Arts School. Her art typically juxtaposes issues involving the human psyche with imagery of flora and fauna, and much of her work incorporates found or unusual objects.
In her most recent collection, “Sacrifice”, which has shown in various galleries around the city such as New Gallery on Old Bailey and Cattle Depot Artist Village, Lee addresses human fear through mixed-media paintings that utilize natural imagery
Written by Leanne Mirandilla 10
Weight of a Feather
Ho Siu Kee
Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
Ho Siu-kee is a multi-media artist who addresses the body and human perception through sculpture, installation, photography and video. He frequently involves his own body in his artworks—wearing his pieces or otherwise interacting with them, sometimes in public spaces. We visit him in his JCCAC studio after a day of teaching as an Associate Professor at the Visual Arts Academy of Baptist University.
Written by Leanne Mirandilla Photography by Matina Cheung, Selected Images provided by Ho Siu Kee
RAW: How did you start your art career? Ho Siu-Kee: More than 20 years ago, I graduated from the fine arts department of Chinese University in 1989. Getting into a university with a fine arts department, I think, is a more popular starting point as an artist. Of course, I had the interest in art since I was a kid. RAW: What did you do as a kid? HS: Whatever—drawings, clay figures, et cetera. Nowadays kids have a lot of opportunities to learn art. But at my age, when I was a kid, Hong Kong society was not as wealthy as today. I come from… not really a grassroots background, but not a very rich family. My family didn’t really have any spare money to allow me to learn art properly. But I just had the interest in making drawings myself. RAW: Do you come from an artistic family? HS: I’m the only one. But my son seems to be very interested in art. I try to play with him and allow him to play in my studio with whatever material he wants.
He’s 11, going on 12. [My parents] are supportive and they respect my choice. They don’t have too much knowledge about art, so they warned me, “do you think art can [help you make a living] when you’re grown up?” Now, compared to the older generation, younger parents are encouraging their kids to learn art. RAW: You make scu lptures, and also become a part of your scu lp tures. When did you start having this approach towards art making? HS: Since I studied in the United States for my Master’s degree. Before that, I mainly worked on woodcarving. I was in Hong Kong working with a more mature artist as his assistant—Cheung Yee, who is a sculptor who established his work three or four decades ago in Hong Kong. For two or three years, I worked on woodcarving as my career. That experience was very interesting because every day I worked, but I didn’t really have responsibility for what I was doing, because it was not my own work. That experience made me more focused on the relationship between the human body and body movements with the material, and it
allowed me to have this kind of focus on how my body works in the process of art making. Then when I was in graduate school, I continued further investigating this experience. I started to make objects that I can either put on my own body, or that I could interact with my body. RAW: What’s it like being a part of your own work? HS: I think it’s two ways. The body, on one hand, is an object to be perceived by people. But on the other hand, I’m also the subject of the environment. It’s about perceiving the world, and also about being perceived by other people. This is a two-way interaction which I find very interesting. I always play with these kind of connections in my work. RAW: Do you ever involve other people in your artwork? HS: At the beginning, it was mainly myself. I was interested in the full perceptual experiences of a human, and I hardly experience what you experience. I can only experience my own experience. I actually didn’t have any other choice but to put my own self in a piece of work. But recently I opened up my approach more to allow the viewer—the audience—to interact with the piece. Say for example, the bronze container over there. It’s a kind
of instrument that the Buddhist monks used to create sounds when they’re doing meditation. It creates a very interesting sound. And I’m interested in this experience—when you hit it, you can feel the vibrations. And I fill the piece with water, so when you hit it, it has vibrations but you can also see the water ripple on the surface. RAW: Have you learned anything new about the hu man body through your artworks? HS: The most significant discovery [I’ve made] about the human body throughout the past 15 to 20 years is that I find that there are a lot of limitations of the human body. In some of my work, I start to build something that can be [exerted] on the body, in the sense that it further constrains the movement of the body. I have a piece that when you put it on, the very rigid form really constrains movement. On the other hand, you can see at the top of the head there is a metal plate which looks like a halo. When I wear it under the light, no matter if there’s sunlight or light indoors, you can see through the little holes that the light creates some sort of spiritual symbols, like a halo on the body. I try to play with this kind of contrast—on the one hand, the object symbolizes the limitation of the body, on the other hand, it also symbolizes
Aureola - public housing. Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
Aureola - MongKok. Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
Aureola No. 7.Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
the spiritual part of the body that can be unlimited. RAW: Have you had any interesting experiences seeing viewers interact with your work? HS: A very interesting experience is that people damage the work! [Laughs] But I think that that’s part of the work, because when you put the piece in an exhibition, and if you allow people to interact with it, it will very likely have this kind of damage. But throughout the process you can also identify how people interact with objects. Sometimes it’s [very different from] your expectations. RAW: You also teach classes at Baptist University. How do you find that?
Aureola No.10. Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
RAW: What changes have there been in the Hong Kong art scene since you first started out? HS: When compared with 15 or 20 years ago, now there are more programs in universities which are art-related. When I was in university, only Chinese University offered fine arts, but now we have our academy of visual arts at Baptist U and quite a number of other art programs. Society has quite a different view of art nowadays. There are more and more art venues in Hong Kong. West Kowloon is one, which will happen in five years time. It will provide much more opportunities for people to see art and to understand art. There are a lot of opportunities for people to learn more about art.
HS: I enjoy working with young people. They’re always inspiring. Of course, they’re not mature. They don’t have too much experience in making art. But they have totally different points of view. If you’re open enough, you can always learn from young people. The way they see the
world is quite different from my generation. Also, today you can see many young people who are more actively participating in social events. I think that’s a good sign. It’s very important. Young people are always concerned about society and they try to figure out their own way to respond to different kinds of social issues.
RAW: What projects are you working on right now?
RAW: Do you have any future plans for your art?
HS: I’m working on a project which is part of a series called “Aureola” [which means halo]. I’m making a piece with a big halo that will cover my whole body. Actually, it’s just a circle made with a metal rod, and there’s a stand I can stand on. And I try to put this object in different parts of Hong Kong and stand on it and take photographs. It would be an ongoing project. I’ve finished five or six shots in different places in Hong Kong. I took one in Mong Kok, in a very crowded area. I took one in Tsim Sha Tsui, on the waterfront with Victoria Harbour in the background. I had one in the Kwai Chung container terminals, and also the one from the old public housing estate. Hopefully I can finish 10 to 20 different places. I find this project interesting because I seldom put my work in public spaces. In this particular project, I don’t want other people to stand on it, but when I stand on it in a public space, you can see the interactions between the people and myself, and also the object. And I take photographs as a means to capture this kind of interaction. So in some sense, the viewer also participates in the work.
HS: I think this direction of art-making will continue. I’m also interested in researching traditional crafts—bamboo craft—and in how it survives today. It’s actually quite difficult for [bamboo craftsmen]. But if you study the skills and the technique carefully, you can probably figure out another way to use it in contemporary design.
I’m also working on some smaller sculptures with more traditional material, like bronze casting. I recently had a solo exhibition in a commercial gallery in Central with bronze figures.
Aureola No.4. Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
Walking On 2 Balls. Photo provided by Ho Siu Kee
Little is more intimate and personal than permanently marking your body. RAW speaks to Hong Kongâ€™s top tattoo artists who are redefining the way we look at this ancient form of body art.
Written by Alba Ma Photography by Joyce Yung, Selected Images provided by Joey Pang
JoeyPang There’s a lingering blunt buzzing sound as we walk into Tattoo Temple, a tattoo parlour hidden in an upper floor of a nondescript building in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. Awash in a dark violet hue, a small reception area is upfront and two black leather reclining chairs tucked behind a screen. The space is small and full of people both flipping through snapshots of previous designs on an iPad or queueing to speak with Chris Anderson, who’s the key master to booking an appointment. When we arrive in the early evening, a girl is sprawled on one of the reclining chairs as the artist finishes off the contour of a trio of large lilies that span from her shoulder blades down to the small of her lower back. “It’s a truce symbol,” shares the admiring patron, a young girl in her mid-twenties. “My mom and I have been having a hard time recently, we fight a lot and I want this to be a symbol that I still care.” Every tattoo has a story. Clients are drawn from all four corners of
the globe for one thing only: Joey Pang, founder and creative director at Tattoo Temple. Having started off as a student of fine art, Joey dabbled in painting and sculpture and had a brief foray as a makeup artist before she stumbled on tattooing as art. Working in numerous fields to get by while searching for her true calling, it wasn’t until she went to New Zealand and discovered the tribal tattoos of the Maori people, that she realized the potential of this ancient art. The initial encounter sparked her curiosity. Not having a single tattoo on her bare body, nor much knowledge of the subject, Joey embarked on a journey that would bring her to tattoo masters from Asia, Europe to Polynesia. With each tattoo that was applied onto her body, she learnt a new technique from a master, many of whom are legendary in their field. From their teachings, Joey formed her unique touch—a definitive slant towards Chinese aesthetic. “The tattoo artists advised me that if you’re a Chinese person, you should really show people your language
and your culture—from that moment on it became my mission,” says Joey. While traveling abroad, Joey noticed the popularity of Chinese characters in body art, but was appalled by the prevalence in miswritten characters drawn-on by many who had little knowledge or understanding of the meaning of the words. From country-to-country, she witnessed tattooists simply copying Chinese characters from the same generic stencil book. Joey saw a window of opportunity: “I wanted to build-up something that is uniquely Chinese. Primarily because I’m a Chinese person, but also because I have a profound admiration for Chinese art and calligraphy—it’s something that I would like to introduce into the field of tattooing.” Eight years on and Joey has gained international notoriety in her field. Clients fly in from countries far and wide when their name is finally called on the two-year waiting list. Though it has been nearly a decade, her passion for her craft hasn’t feigned, but rather grown with each project. “It’s as if I were a child again,” she gushes. “Everything is fresh, new and exciting, as if I’m seeing it for the first time. I feel like I’m more curious and younger.”
But is tattoo a form of art? For Joey, there was never a single doubt in her mind, “From the moment that I started, I always viewed tattooing as an art. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have started.” _____ Tattooing is making its mark in the Hong Kong art scene with art exhibitions like “MAYA” at Voxfire Gallery Hong Kong, which combines the works of a prominent local tattoo artist, Sze C., with body painter Michael Lam. The exhibition juxtaposes the aspects of permanence and transition in body art as a representation of greater questions of illusion and identity. Working as both a tattooist and an artist, Sze C.’s duality with both mediums has enabled her to express herself in painting and through her tattoo works. “Using needle to ‘paint’ on skin gives me a complex feeling,” she says, “it is a very private job that only my client and me can share at the same moment—I can get my client’s response and feeling immediately.” Having recently entered the medium of painting, Sze feels the transition inward, making art with a brush rather than a needle, is more of an inward reflection and meditative study into herself, rather than engaging with a client.
Using the body as a blank canvas narrowly ever escapes the sense of the erotic. Sex and the foreboding is something that seeps naturally into the sphere of tattooing. For Sze, the human body is simply a tool for people to differentiate the real world from illusions through our sensory skills. The practice of her art form expresses a strong erotic element. “I chose the most sensitive feeling and experience which is lust and also showing the beauty of eroticism, maybe because I’m so familiar with the human body in my line of work,” says Sze. Bringing together the works of several body artist, the concept of “MAYA” is to question the aspect of what true permanence really means. While body painting washes off, hence theoretically nonpermanent, tattoos are fixed and permanent—or is it? As our bodies change and age over time, even tattoos may not be as ‘permanent’ as one might think. It’s an art form that wears and tears; that changes with the passing of time, creating an unbreakable bond between both the wearer and the artist. Timeless and truly one-of-a-kind, tattoo art has long been one of the truest expressions of self. It is a means to beautify the body, all the while mapping memorable moments and representing them through meaningful symbols. While tattooing has long associated with gangsters, hooligans and petty thugs in Hong Kong’s conventional circles, the artform has rapidly evolved over the past several decades. Beyond the tired stereotypes and countless studios that stick to the same stock pile of stenciled appliqués, lies a new generation of tattoo artists who are redefining their trade—in both style and practice—by taking tattooing above the limitations of needle and ink.
MAYA, Voxfire Gallery
MAYA, Voxfire Gallery
Photo provided by Joey Pang
Photo provided by Joey Pang
k n I K H Hongkongers share the pleasure and pain of this artform.
Written by Alba Ma, Photography by Joyce Yung,
How many tattoos do you have? I have always loved tattoo art, however I never had the courage [to get one]until two years ago. Then I guess it spiraled out of control since I’m at six and counting. I am very fortunate to work for a business that is very open and allows their team to be self expressive. What’s the meaning behind your tattoos? My lipstick reminds me of my mum because she never leaves the house without it; my flamingo was because I like the idea of what they eat affecting their colour; my mermaid was inspired by the fact that I’m a water sign in both Chinese and western horoscopes and because I love the idea of the siren song. Was it painfu l? As painful as it is, it’s soon forgotten. I am known for stepping out of the parlour and starting to talk about my next one before the bandage has come off
Graeme & Eli
What motivated you to get the first tattoo? Graeme: I got my first tattoo when I lived in North Carolina during my third year of university. With my roommates we were watching a lot of anime and so I picked a little symbol from one of the shows we were watching a lot of: “Naruto”. There was a studio in the town so I went in, paid $50 and got the tattoo. One of my roommates filmed the process and I remember it being much more painful than any of the others I’ve had. I reckon I was pretty hung over at the time. Eli: My first tattoo was my wings. I had just left home and wanted a tattoo, wings seemed like an appropriate coming of age image. I seem to get tattoos at exciting times in my life but it’s never a conscious decision to mark a specific moment, more of an accompaniment to the experiences. Have you always loved tattoos?
Eli: I don’t think that tattoos are an exceptional way of expressing myself, but rather I think it just reflects how comfort29
Any plans for new tattoos? Graeme: The next two I want to get are a diamond and a little pig. The pig is a good luck symbol for sailors but I just like pigs! It’s a fun cartoony style. Pigs and chickens used to be kept in wooden boxes when being transported and, if a ship sank, they’d live because they’d float. Sailors are said to have had them tattooed on their feet as good luck. The diamond is another old school design but you actually see it on the sewer covers around HK, so I think it’s quite fitting to get while we live here. Eli: I am not letting myself think properly about my next tattoo because I’m in the middle of this current one. Although I’m always dreaming! I’d like a heart with an anchor, a lighthouse, a diamond, a pig on one foot and a chicken on the other. I’m actually quite worried Graeme and I will end up with almost all the same tattoos.
Graeme: I like good tattoos. I like people with tattoos. And I like the process... I guess it’s like anything - why do people start watching ballet, or collecting paintings? Something about tattoos, the history, the culture, everything that goes along with it just appeals to me. I won’t lie though, it probably helps there’s a rebellious and rock ‘n’ roll association with them. It can be quite adventurous when it’s done correctly.
able and relaxed I am as a person. Many people I work with don’t know I have tattoos because they are covered, it’s more like a conversation with myself rather than showing off to the world.
Mike Haskamp What is your most meaningfu l tattoo? The tattoo on my back is of two Chinese Door Gods, which symbolize protectors of the home that are frequently seen on the doors of houses in Greater China. Images of Door Gods are some of my earliest and strongest memories from childhood: when I was growing up in Hong Kong, my parents’ office was in Tsim Sha Tsui, and when I would go over there after school or on Saturdays, I would always pass by the Peninsula Hotel, which has two of the most beautiful examples of Door God art... Although I rarely even see them because of their location, it gives me comfort to know that they are always with me, keeping an eye out for my family and me. Do you have any tattoos that you regret getting? I got my first tattoo shortly after my 16th birthday, back when I was living in Bangkok. What I got should give you a sense of what an idiot I was back in my high school days: it was a small skull with a marijuana leaf on its forehead, inspired by the Cypress Hill logo... If my own children ever ask me about getting their first tattoos, I would have some very clear advice to give them based on my own
experience: think long and hard about what you want, wait until you’re 18, and be smart about the size and location. Do you consider tattoos as an art form? Along with sculpture and carving, I think of tattoo as one of the highest forms of art, and tattooists as some of the most talented artists in the world. As with sculpture and carving, tattooing is a complex, three-dimensional art form, and leaves no room for error. Getting a tattoo is effectively a lifelong partnership between you and the artist—a statement that you are so confident in their skills and talent that you are willing to put their work on your flesh forever. And that you are willing to pay a price in physical pain as part of that process. I’ve been very happy to see tattooing gaining more respect as legitimate art over the past decade—it’s certainly well-deserved.
DJ Angus Wong Which are the tattoos that stand out?
Do you plan on getting more? If so, of what?
My first tattoo is on my upper back, it’s of a diamond. My favourite tattoo is actually my most recent one, it’s on my right upper arm, of a hybrid of a unicorn and a pegasus.
Yes! For me I don’t treat each tattoo as a separate piece. Instead, I think of it as an ongoing process to “fill-up the canvas”, and every time I have something new, it’s considered a portion of a bigger piece. I am considering a few options for my next portion. It could be a dragon, it could be a koi... I am influenced by traditional Chinese tattoo culture and really want a piece something Chinese to be represented on my skin, which is who I am, essentially.
What motivated you to get tattoed?
Do you regret any of the tattoos you’ve gotten? I like the idea that a tattoo is permanent. That means once it’s done there is no going back.The very idea of that really excites me. I am a person of no regrets.
Is the pleasure worth the pain? For me, getting tattoo is not really a painful experience. If anything it reminds me of why I get it. It’s an experience and you have something to show for it at the end of the process, and it stays with you forever. So yes, I guess in that sense it’s totally worth it.
For me, tattoo is decoration. I know many people tattoo themselves because it represents a period of their life, and some tattoos might have a deep meaning for them, but this is not the case for me at all. I simply like the effect of ink on my skin. I think it looks spectacular—when it’s done right, of course!”
my mother paint in her studio and attempted my own paintings and drawings alongside her. My brother and I both collect art now and it’s certainly because of the cultural education our mother gave us. What was your first piece? I suppose the first real piece that I bought was a photograph by a young photographer named Kathryn Hillier about 10 years ago. She was part of a group show in the old tobacco factory in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and I fell in love the stillness in her interior landscapes. I invited her over for coffee and spent a lovely afternoon talking about art, how she started taking photographs, our backgrounds and more. That photograph is still hanging in my home as its reminds me of when I first realized that as a collector, you could actually engage directly with artists, learn from them and do my little bit to support them. I was hooked since then and have tried to buy work from artists that I can interact with since you can learn so much from talking with most artists. How do you choose your pieces?
Inspired by her late mother’s avid love of art, Mina Park has been snapping up some of the best that Asia has to offer. She simply collects what she falls in love with, no holds barred.
These days, I am concentrating on certain contemporary genres since I want to focus on collecting in depth. Right now, those areas are drawings (in particular by Asian artists) and works by living Korean artists. I also am interested in Middle Eastern artists, especially from Iran. But ultimately, it comes down to whether a piece catches my eye and makes me pause. So I have some random pieces that I’ve bought recently simply because I loved them. What are some artists that you’re on the lookout for?
Why art col lecting? Is it for profit or for passion? Collecting art is something I do really because I can’t stop myself. The investment value of a piece – will I make money from this work—is not a part of that thinking. I do think that as a collector it is important to think of investment value in terms of investing in an artist’s career. Right now I buy works from artists because I believe the artist has a unique way of interpreting the world around us and can contribute and have a meaningful career. To be clear, that is not the same as thinking they will be financially successful. History obviously is littered with artists who were unappreciated during their lifetimes. I have no idea if the artists I collect will have lucrative careers, but I think they have something valuable to communicate in their work and help me see things differently than I did before. Has art always been a part of your life? Art was always a part of my family’s vocabulary. My late mother was a painter and graduated with an art degree in Seoul, South Korea. Since I was school-age, on weekends she would pack us up into the car and would drive us hours to various cities to visit particular museum exhibitions. I remember sitting in the back of the car at age five studying those art postcards that you can buy in museum gift shops and my mother, a quintessential tiger mother, quizzing us on the artist’s name, the piece, the movement, what was special about the work. She was most interested in contemporary art and whenever we travelled we also visited emerging galleries that just didn’t exist in the small towns where I grew up. I spent a lot of time during my childhood watching
Several established artists that I would love to collect are Lee Bul, Do-Ho Suh, Atta Kim and Shirin Neshat. I am also interested in Haegue Yang, whose work I saw at the 2009 Venice Biennale and who I’ve been following since. Given the current financial markets, it may be some time before I can think of
buying a decent piece of theirs, but I keep dreaming about it.
too much emphasis in criticism because you have to trust your own taste—you’re the one who has to live with a piece.
What are some trends that you’re interested in and foresee having potential or growth in the near future?
What is the u ltimate goal of your col lection (gal lery, private-use, sales)?
I am happy to see the resurgence of abstract painting, since my mother was an abstract painter and we spent a lot of time studying the work of Motherwell, Joan Mitchell and others. I would like to see more Korean abstract painters since they tend to concentrate on portraiture or landscape. I also am interested in seeing where online art sales go. I suppose this forum for buying art will only grow, however for me, I have a lot of difficulty buying work that I haven’t seen in person. I look at online auctions frequently but haven’t been able to connect enough with a piece virtually. But I’m also a Luddite that resisted most technology like mobile phones and Facebook for a long time, so maybe I’ll come around in a few years after I have little choice.
My goals for collecting change continuously. When I started, I didn’t have any goals. I just wanted to buy what I fell in love with and couldn’t get out of my head. Now, as I mentioned, I’m focused on gaining some depth in my collection. Beyond that, I don’t have aspirations to open a private gallery. And I can’t imagine selling any of the pieces that I have as they mean so much to me. Are you in touch with the art world through your interest in art?
What are some of your tips for first time investors/ art col lectors? Spend as much time as possible looking at art. Then you can find out what kind of art actually interests you. Talk to the staff at galleries and find out more about the artists you like, their past shows and see what work the galleries have that’s not on display. Also, read about art. Research the artists that catch your eye and the galleries that represent them. Find books about the art movements from which these artists come from. Peruse art magazines and online databases. By the same token, I don’t put
Written by Alba Ma 33
Certainly. Hong Kong is the perfect place to be if you’re interested in art. The art community here is relatively small and unpretentious compared to other cities I’ve lived in like New York and London. I also try to support local non-profit arts groups that are doing good work, like Para/Site Art Space and Asia Art Archive, as well as new galleries like Saamlung who are bringing intellectual, cutting-edge work to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also a hub for Asia, so in Hong Kong I’ve made many connections with gallerists or other collectors from other parts of Asia, for example Taiwan, Korea and Manila. Actually, one of the main reasons I moved to Hong Kong was to learn more about the Asian art market and discover new artists—so far, it’s been an amazing ride.
Ariana Page Russel l With Bachelor’s degrees in both art and psychology, Brooklynbased artist Ariana Page Russell has dabbled in photography ever since the 90s, but only began seriously dedicating herself to her craft after earning her Master’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, teaching photography and showing her work in various galleries. Her primary subject is the human body. More specifically, temporary tattoos imitating blushing, which she mostly applies to her own skin before photographing them. She also takes advantage of her dermatographia—a condition that causes the skin to welt after only a light scratch—to draw on her own skin and photograph the marks before they fade away.
drawings, which she draws onto her skin before photographing. Plans for time-lapse and stop-motion videos of the process are in the works, too. Her newest shows will be at the Royal Hibernian Gallery in Dublin, which will include photographs and a wall installation of her tattoos, and another show at the Adelphi University in New York. www.arianapagerussell.com
“The human body has been a long-standing interest of mine. Even in college I was photographing friend’s bodies in black and white, abstracting them to look like landscapes and anonymous objects,” she explains. “Then in graduate school I started to think about the idea of blushing—with my sensitive skin, I have a tendency to blush frequently—and I decided to focus on skin and the body more directly. I took the idea of a blush—something transient and fleeting—and made it into something I have more control over.” Russell makes her film-like, pink and red “blush tattoos” using photographs of skin printed on an inkjet printer on a special kind of paper before cutting them out by hand. Currently, Russell is collaborating long-distance with a street artist from Bogota, Columbia, who sends her stencils of his Written by Leanne Mirandilla 34
We got a chance to use the GoPro while filming a 2013 WWF Earth Hour video encouraging Hongkongers to sign-up for the cause. We used the GoPro to create the effect and look of an elevator surveillance camera and the result was very convincing. Even though DSLRs are already much smaller than older cameras for video production, it’s more difficult to mount one. The only drawback to this camera is that we couldn’t see the screen, and had to conduct screen tests before we could find the angle we were looking for. It’s not perfect, but GoPro really served the purpose of the shot. I think the Gopro is a nice addition to abt camera repertoire, but it won’t cover all of needs. GoPro can go places you wouldn’t normally be able to – especially in tight quarters – but can also be mounted in different ways, including point-of-view shooting and vehicle shooting. In the editing room, the footage was easily transfered using an SD card. I highly recommend this camera to video production professionals, but also to sports and action enthusiasts looking for a small and light camera that’s very versatile.
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Page-turners recom mended by the city’s creative minds he settled in Likiang when the Nakhi kingdom of Southwestern China was still the main trading thoroughfare from India. The narrator’s voice is a bit naive and the translation is somewhat shoddy but the stories are fascinating tales of a world that no longer exists.
Fou nder ofAmong Stran- Fou nder of Tangram gers, UMA MIY is currently reading: is currently reading: I started to collect books when I was about 18 but because I move around quite a lot these past few years, I have had to be really selective of what I collect. Most of what I have now are art and design-related books. I am very much into art photography books and find that the emotional power of art photography transpires into the mood of a collection I design.
When reading nonfiction, I’m usually researching artists and art movements. I love to learn about those who challenged the norms of society at their time, or influenced history with their new ideas. Simone de Beauvoir was not only a pioneer in feminism, but also in existentialism. Her book The Second Sex is definitely worth a read.
Last night I finished Patti Smith’s Just Kids, which I enjoyed so much and read very slowly for it to last longer. Not only is it exquisitely written – going from a poetic to a conversationalist style; to wisely indispensable in the turn of a sentence – but it’s also the most selfless love story between two artists that were so devoted to each other that they continued being partners throughout the many changes in their lives. It’s also fantastic “people watching” as she gives the reader a humble and coy insider’s perspective of New York’s blooming cultural scene in the 70’s. I read through Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her in a couple of sleepless nights and loved it and hated it with a passion. It’s mischievously written and the voice changes and you get lost at times. It dissects sex-obsessed Latino culture with baffling precision. Like his previous novel, it’s definitely not for the weak-hearted as it’s a real life drama narrated by an irreverent mind who manipulates the language like a skillful poker player. It’s taken me ages to finish Peter Goullart’s Forgotten Kingdom but as I near the end, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. The book is a real-life account of a Russian born, Shanghai-reared adventurer who travelled widely in China whilst performing a number of odd official jobs. In the 1930s 37
OFF THE SHELVES
One of my favourite books has been the lesser-known book of Sam Haskins’ work November Girl. For fashion photography, I love Nick Knight’s work as seen in Nick Knight: The Photographs of Nick Knight.
I have an inconveniently short attention span and bore easily so I tend to be reading a few things at the same time.
And to finish off with a delicious morsel, I recommend Fuchsia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, which I also read in a couple of sittings and is a mustread for anyone interested not only in the delights of Chinese food but also in how it is the most important metaphor of social and political life in China. Fittingly the author came to China as a young scholar to research local minorities,but soon realized that she would have to face the contradictory realities of China by delving into the world of food.
Eylu l Aslan Eylul, who is from Istanbul, Turkey, is now 22 years old and living in Berlin, Germany. She graduated from Istanbul University, where she studied French Literature. Her photos are distinguished by candor, simplicity, precision and sensuality. She has been featured in photo blogs, zines and has created album covers. Her work has been used by Adidas, Elle Magazine Turkey and by Phoebe Philo for CĂŠline. She has recently won first prize for a photography competition sponsored by Smart Car. www.flickr.com/photos/30710205@N08
Fox Harvard Native to Florida and born in Tampa, Fox Harvard studied mixed media at the University of South Florida. It was not till the end of a tumultuous sevenyear relationship that Fox finally moved to Paris for the better part of 2009 to concentrate on his photography. He has now returned to his hometown and is now focusing on photography seriously for the past three years. www.flickr.com/photos/51068974@N08
MARGOT PANDONE Margot Pandone is a freelance designer based in Bologna, Italy. She mainly works in the disciplines of editorial design, concept, photography, video and music with a big interest in all visual and theoretic matters. She has worked for many aadvertising agencies in Bologna and is now a graphic advisor at WP Lavori in Corso, a fashion conglomerate based in Bologna. www.flickr.com/photos/8523602@N05
A store owner on Antique Street. One of the few old shops that remain in the rapidly gentrifying Sheu ng Wan neighbourhood. Photo by Joyce Yu ng
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