Sai Kung is a coastal town situated within the eastern peninsula of Hong Kong’s New Territory, famous for seafood, it’s geo-park and many scenic hiking destinations within the Sai Kung Country Park. The location, is very much at odds with what people think of as Hong Kong, where many would imagine a skyline filled with skyscrapers and dazzling neon lights with the perpetual rush of modern urban activity, the town is rather quaint, with a wonderful view of the South China Sea, where tiny islands dot the view as low mountains and foothills carry lush greenery broken with pockets of centuries old enclaves that have farmed the lands long before Hong Kong became what it is today.
This town, is my childhood home, where I spent my formative years living with my grandparents, learning about my Chinese roots and where I took my first steps into Art, inspired by an attentive teacher willing to be a part of my enjoyment of drawing during after school art classes.
It has been about 9 years since my return to Hong Kong, during which I have been evolving my own style in painting and drawing, opening new opportunities and constantly developing different series in my ongoing works.
Living in a location known informally as the Hong Kong’s Back Garden, it is quite often that you come across many tourists, especially during the weekends where the streets and roads are jam packed with people. with those interested in photography, amateur or professional due to the views available or wanting a record of their visit. As someone that was raised in the rather sleepy village in rural England, having to dodge people and not getting in the way of their cameras are somewhat bothersome.
When revisiting my Art after a long hiatus during the first few years in Hong Kong, I tended to focus on figurative and still-life with the use of a limited palette of colours but with heavy application of paint to play on textures. But in time, I was drawn to drawing and painting landscapes of and around Sai Kung, taking inspiration chatting with artists doing just that by the waterfront, composing images of the sea, the boats and greenery. I travelled amongst some accessible rooftops in town, climbing little used stairs to get a high vantage point, to try to get that image of the town I wanted to put to paper.
The image of the landscape I wanted to put to paper escaped me for quite some time. As much as I liked the view out to sea over the town, it was too conventional. It wasn’t till a visit from friends from England that gave me that scene I wanted. On a group boat trip to Hap Mun Bay, we conversed about my drawing and painting again and they pointed out to many scenes and locations that I could paint but none interested me though I still took many photos of said areas and our time there.
The very moment which inspired me for my landscapes wasn’t that journey out to the beach, away from my home but the journey back. The moment I saw the late afternoon sun cutting through the clouds hitting the angular buildings of the small coastal town of Sai Kung, with a line of ships and boats bobbing by the waterfront, framed by the mountainous outline of the region the town was built on, I knew I had the scenes I wanted to work on. A sudden burst of activity with my camera had told my friends that I found what I want.
With hindsight, I realised it was never just nature and natural forms I was after, I had already explored some of that in earlier works. I was interested in a landscape that included things of human manufacture, of the building that we had constructed for our homes, of the boats we had constructed for transport, and most importantly, something that was very pronounced in Sai Kung, an excellent contrast of an urban setting nestled amidst the greenery of nature. Of the taller buildings as a challenge to the towering silhouette of the mountains around the town. It was about transition.
I remember my friend, amused and asking me whether I found what I wanted to paint. I remember my reply left him confused with a single raised brow, replying cryptically that it wasn’t a painting I was after.
UK artist of Chinese descent, now based in Hong Kong his ancestral home since 2010. Trained in Western Fine Art since an early age, a traditionalist who love working in figurative, still life and landscape. After a brief period of working in the catering industry after University he relocated to Hong Kong where he revisited his passion in the practice of painting and drawing, having had his first group show in 2013 with other likeminded artists based in Hong Kong.