"There may be so many problems, worries and complicated things in our lives, but if you deconstruct them layer by layer, you’ll be able to understand them from an angle of simplicity."

Emily Choy

Emily Choy

Emily Choy Hoi Ying (L8-08) is a Hong Kong based artist who mainly practices printmaking, painting, drawing and sculpture. Her works are centred around the themes of community and characters, and are often inspired by a wide range of sources – including social issues, tarot cartomancy, literature and pop culture.

With her spontaneous and cartoonish drawing style, Emily hopes that her works resemble a series of fairy tales that evoke a sense of childlike wonder and simplicity, while still providing meaningful insights for her audience.

"The Snail and The Butterfly"
Image courtesy of the Artist
Q1. J

We often find animals in your paintings, is that a signature of your creative style?

A1. E

Yes. In addition to animals, I also source many other elements in my paintings from nature, such as plants and natural phenomena. I want to tell stories from a place of simplicity and gentleness in my work, so the subjects I choose tend to be straight forward ones or about nature. I also like to consult Tarot cards when creating art, and the symbols found in Tarot cards are often related to elements in the natural environment, hence it influences the way I interpret and enrich the artistic content of my work.

Q2. J

What do you consider is unique about your printmaking works?

A2. E

My printmaking work often relates to interesting and absurd things in our quotidian existence, and are presented through cartoon characters. I see printmaking is a direct and documentary medium which can accommodate complex compositions, making it suitable for recording special anecdotes – like the time I accidentally pushed my grandmother into the morgue, or how I ate sushi while wallowing in the bathtub… They are important memories for me and I wanted to record them in a lighthearted way.

My works are often rich in colour, and printmaking – especially silkscreen printing – is an artistic medium which allows me to adopt many different colour combinations. Besides, I find using a large range of colours helps to convey a sense of humour and absurdity in the stories, and make them more complete.

Takoyaki Swindler
Image courtesy of the Artist

The Starry Tree
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Q3. J

In terms of your own pursuit for artistic creativity and fulfillment, how do you differentiate between printmaking, oil painting, and digital painting?

A3. E

I use printmaking, oil painting, and digital painting as different channels for exploring and treating different subject matters. Among them, printmaking is the medium with certain constraints, which compels me to be more focused, simple and direct in my approach to the subject matter.

Oil painting and digital painting are more like my tools for artistic exploration. Digital painting allows me to try a wide variety of visual elements, eg in terms of colour combination and brush strokes.  In oil painting, an even wider range of materials could be included, which allows me more freedom of expression than in the other two media. It is in oil painting that I often explore more personal subjects, like those related to my own experiences and feelings, and I find that the process of painting actually helps me to find clarity in my thoughts and feelings too.

Q4. J

Are there any established artists that you much admire and find inspirational in your current creative practice?

A4. E

I have been a big fan of Dr Francis Yu’s work and his sharing since I was at university. The way he handles brushstrokes, space and artwork presentation, as well as his creative passion, have constantly provided reference points and inspiration for me! At university, whenever my classmates got stuck in their work, they would seek Dr Yu’s advice, because he would readily share many of his experiences and sources of inspiration, such as films, music and food… Even if the creative problem they bring him is trivial or very different from his own style, he could still maintain a balanced view on it or even make it funny. I believe that artists and those who love to create should all be like this – keep an open mind about things, absorb different ideas, and produce works that are truly sincere and interesting.

The Steak Mouse
Image courtesy of the Artist

The Butterfly
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Q5. J

You are a Hong Kong artist who participated in an exhibition in the Czech Republic last year. What differences did you observe in the art ecology of the two places?

A5. E

I went to the Czech Republic to participate in an illustration exhibition In October 2023. It was a very interesting experience as it featured illustration and comic works by artists from so many places – including Europe, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. I observed that artists from Western countries focus more on visual elements such as lines and compositions, while the emphasis of Asian artists is more on story-telling. I was also particularly impressed by the novel way some artists presented their works: one was a football themed illustration work made of paper pulp, and another one was an interactive installation where the audience could involve in cutting and painting the patterns. I’ve never seen anything that in Hong Kong!

Here We Are
Image courtesy of the Artist