Bleach on cloth (2019)
29 x 20 cm
J: Why did you study arts? And why printmaking?
C: I have enjoyed painting since a young age. My art teacher in secondary school has been my mentor, she enriched my knowledge in the arts, and broadened my vision and appreciation for the arts. Consequently, I followed my mentor’s footstep and enrolled in CUHK Fine Arts. My parents were initially against my decision. To prove myself, I participated in various competitions and received several awards, giving me the drive to continue my artistic pursuit. During my studies at CUHK, I initially intended to specialise in Gongbi (Chinese painting), as I like paintings with refined details. However, the class schedule clashed with the mixed media course I fancied taught by Professor Kurt Chan. I eventually chose the latter and headed towards Western art, attempting mediums other than those in two-dimensional arts.
My foray into printmaking began with a visit to Hong Kong Open Printshop (L8-06 HKOP), when it happened to be looking for an intern. So, I applied for the position and was fortunate enough to be accepted. The opportunity allowed me to delve into printmaking, and be fascinated by its possibilities. I therefore decided to focus on printmaking after graduation.
J: Can you share your experience or some insight of working at HKOP? What prompted you to subsequently open isle the printshop by yourself?
C: Working at HKOP, I had the chance to engage in workshops, and to plan and organise exhibitions. I also learnt a lot from fellow participating printmakers while working alongside them. Silkscreen printing is one of the skills I picked up from such hands-on training. Among all the exhibitions I participated in, New to Print was the most memorable, as I was in charge of the whole project, from artist recruitment to exhibition set-up and promotion. It was a valuable lesson.
In addition, I learnt to appreciate the importance of cleanliness in printmaking. It takes a lot of time and strenuous effort to create prints – just a tiny stain on the work surface will ruin the work and cause all your effort to go to waste. Therefore, I keep the habit of tidying my table every time after use. Patience and good time management are also essential for printmaking, as it is a methodical process.
I established isle the print shop hoping to promote the art of printmaking to more people, by making affordable mass-produced prints available. This Chinese New Year, I created a series of Fai Chun (Chinese New Year banners) for sale online and at fairs. I also plan to make silkscreen-printed cards in the future.
J: Which printmaking medium favours you?
C: Silkscreen printing is relatively simple and easy to control, so works could be done rather quickly. For now, it is my major medium.
J: Tell us more about your upcoming exhibition “Asphalt Island”. Where does your inspiration come from?
C: I was inspired by the aftermath of the recent mass disruptions, when I noticed the pockmarked pavements around town, where holes left by missing bricks had been hastily filled with asphalt. One of the images was taken in Mong Kok – the unsightly pavement filled with asphalt to me resembled an island, hence I named it “Asphalt Island”.
Thereafter, I revisited Mong Kok, Hung Hom, Tsim Sha Tsui in the early mornings to capture the pockmarked streets through photography. I photoshop the images by colour separation into blue and yellow before turning them into screen-prints.
J: Why would you capture the traces of damage on the streets with printmaking? And how do you see the relationship between printmaking and photography?
C: Photography presents objects and events directly and realistically, while printmaking allows the addition of new elements on top of it to convey my thoughts. The repetitive nature of printmaking reinforces my memories about these images, but at the same time, wears away the emotions suppressed underneath.
Plant, wax, photos (2015)
15.5 x 10.7 cm (a set of 3)
J: Why did you choose pastel colours to present these images? How did you feel during the process?
C: To me, these images carry strong emotions, so I use soft tones to create a contrast. The blurry images also reflect the fading of these matters and memories. Besides, people often associate printmaking with sharp colours and clear lines. I wish to have a breakthrough and create works with a certain haziness.
During the process, I recalled the events that took place on those streets two years ago all over again, and realised the feelings were deep.
J: Any other plans in the future?
C: Looking ahead, I will explore other possibilities of printmaking besides paper, for example, by combining printmaking with different three-dimensional mediums. I am also interested in divination, and therefore wish to create a set of tarot cards.
36.5 x 28.5 cm (a set of 3)