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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

Art Radar Asia launches Hong Kong Street Art Series: interview with co-owner of Above Second

Posted by artradar on October 6, 2010


HONG KONG STREET ART URBAN ART SERIES

While the street art gallery scene in Europe has been pushed into maturity by world-renowned and highly sought after urban artists such as Banksy, it is only in recent years that it has started to emerge in Hong Kong. In response to the burgeoning street art scene in the city, Art Radar Asia is launching a Hong Kong Street Art Series to introduce to you Hong Kong galleries which show urban art. With the prominence of a number of local street artists and the founding of at least three urban art galleries in the city in the past couple of years, we will observe how street art is being taken into new contemporary art galleries in Hong Kong.

We introduce this series with a brief interview with Jasper Wong, co-owner of Above Second art space, in which he presents his views on Hong Kong street art and the urban art business, and how the Hong Kong scene compares with other more established communities.

Jasper Wong wouldn’t call himself a street artist, as he doesn’t like being restricted to any particular form of art. After studying graphic design in Portland, illustration at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and manga (Japanese comic books) in Kyoto Seika University, he returned to Hong Kong to work on various art projects. Earlier this year, he started Above Second with his partner May Wong.

 

Jasper Wong (middle) at Above Second's September show "Nebula". Image courtesy of Above Second.

Jasper Wong (middle) at Above Second's September show "Nebula". Image courtesy of Above Second.

 

 

This collaborative work by Jasper Wong and his half-brother Wu Yue was shown in Above Second at the March show "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am". Image courtesy of Above Second.

This collaborative work by Jasper Wong and his half-brother Wu Yue was shown in Above Second at the March show "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am". Image courtesy of Above Second.

 

What do you think of street art in Hong Kong? How is it different from the street art in Europe?

I know a lot of street artists in Hong Kong. They are all doing their own thing in this city, so I really respect that. They get up all over the city and also pursue other creative outlets such as apparel, etc. They have their own styles. It’s not that much different from the rest of the world. The ones in Hong Kong are influenced by their own cultures growing up in Hong Kong, and [they] respond to it. Other artists around the world do the same and respond to their own individual cultures. Hong Kong is very small though. There needs to be more artists out there pushing like SFZ (Start from zero) and Graphicairlines, Invasion guys like Sinic and Xeme. (I meant the Invasion Magazine crew. Invasion Magazine was started by Sinic. They’re one of the few graffiti magazines in Asia and the only one in Hong Kong.)

What about the sticker culture here? Is it a global culture?

Sticker culture is global. It’s an aspect of street art. People do pieces with spraycans, wheatpaste, stickers, and sometimes even create installations by knitting. It’s about taking art to the streets. There are no rules. Look at Invader – he creates art with ceramic tile.

We have been told that in Hong Kong there are lots of limitations for street art. Do you agree with this statement?

The only limitation is yourself. You can do whatever you want, thanks to the Internet. You can get your art to people all over the world. So I don’t agree. I just agree on the point that people in Hong Kong don’t care about art as much, they think of it as useless. But they don’t see that they are surrounded by art from the clothes they wear to the movies they watch and the chairs they sit on.

But shouldn’t street art be in the street rather than the Internet? Or is it changing now?

I’m not talking about art being on the Internet persay. I’m talking about getting people to know about your art. You use the Internet as a tool to get the word out so people can learn about Hong Kong street art through the use of the Internet. The Internet changed the game  for everything.

How would you describe the status of street art in Hong Kong?

Street art is up and coming out here. There is a small group of individuals seeking to get the word out about it and they get up strong around the city. It’ll take some time for it to be[come] bigger but it’s definitely happening.

What do you think about the street art business in Hong Kong?

Street art can’t be thought of as a business. The words together are an oxymoron. Street art is for the people. That’s why it’s on the street; you can view it for free. Some artist segway their art into products and that is a way to get the word out, an additional channel to inform people about your art. In that case, the business plays a role in supporting the art.

So apart from the street, street art business and the Internet, can you identify other channels for showing or promoting street art?

Everything can be a channel if you’re creative. Of course, there are the traditional ones like magazines and television, but there are no rules.

Who are the important street artists in Hong Kong?

Start from zero and Graphicairlines. Those are the two I know personally and they work hard here in Hong Kong.

Over the coming weeks we will be presenting a number of interviews with urban art gallery owners in Hong Kong. With these we hope to provide an in-depth study of the current and future aims of this constantly evolving community.

CBKM/KN/KCE

Related Topics: Hong Kong venues, street art, interviews

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First New York exhibition for celebrated Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak

Posted by artradar on February 24, 2010


THAI FEMINIST ART

Pinaree Sanpitak, artistic chameleon and feminist artist, will hold her first New York exhibition, Quietly Floating, at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in March this year.

Quietly Floating Quietly Funny, 2008

Sanpitak is a prolific and celebrated Thai artist who takes her inspiration directly from the female form.

The exhibition will feature a series of large monochromatic paintings of breasts and cloud forms, a number of drawings on paper expressing the same imagery, and an installation of large aluminium mirrors.

Dark and Sweet, 2008

These works, created during a 2008 artist residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in California, USA, build on an earlier series of works titled Breasts and Clouds, started in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2006.

“The form of clouds came about in a hot studio in the summer months of Bangkok in 2006. Later a friend told me that there’s a word in Pali/Sanskrit called Pa-yo-ta-ra which means beholder of water and giver of milk.” (Pinaree Sanpitak, artist statement)

Over the Blue, Breasts and Clouds, 100 Tonson Gallery, Bangkok, 2007

A versatile and prolific artist, Sanpitak has worked in an abundance of mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and performance. In 2005, she even delved into the culinary arts with her Breast Stupa Cookery series.

Breast Stupa Cookery

Sanpitak has been a powerful voice in Thai art since the 1980s, contributing a strong female presence to her local art scene.

Many critics and art writers contribute the formation of her artistic style to the birth of her son in 1993. However, it seems she has been working with abstracted female iconography since the late 1980s.

She has held solo exhibitions in Asia, America and Europe and has participated in major biennials in Australia, Italy, Japan and Korea.

Quietly Floating will show at New York gallery Tyler Rollins Fine Art from 4 March to 17 April this year. The gallery will host an artist talk on Saturday 13 March from 2 pm.

KN

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Posted in Feminist art, Gallery shows, Illustration, New York, Painting, Sculpture, Thai, USA, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kuwaiti print maker Thuraya Al-Baqsami on identity, Kuwait art scene, writing – ART Interview

Posted by artradar on November 28, 2008


Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

 

KUWAITI ARTIST INTERVIEW

This is an abridged version of ART Interview’s talk with Kuwaiti print maker Thurayama Al-Baqsami who is considered one of Kuwait’s most outspoken female artists. For over three and a half decades, Thuraya Al-Baqsami has remained steadfast in her commitment to use the arts as a vehicle for intellectual transformation and social change.

Brief bio

Thuraya Al-Baqsami was born 1951 in Kuwait City. She received her academic training in Cairo, Egypt at the “College of Fine Arts” during 1972 and 1973 before moving on in 1981 to earn her Masters Degree in book illustration and design from the “Art College of Surikov” in Moscow, Russia.Thuraya Al-Baqsami received the Golden Palm Leaf award from the GCC in 1989 and in 1992. Her work on the book on the International Declaration of Human Rights, Liberte 98, was praised by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. In 1987 and in 1992 she received the first prize award from the Kuwait National Museum.

Collectors of Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout Asia, the Middle East and the United States as well as in Europe. Some of the museums that have collected Al-Baqsami’s work include; the Kuwait National Museum, the Bahrain National Museum, Modern Art Museum in Escobia-Macedonia, Contemporary Islamic Art Museum in Amman-Jordan, The British Museum – London, Bayan Palace-Amiri Diwan in Kuwait and the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing, China.

Interview abridged

Art Interview: Is there an art-scene in Kuwait?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: We have an art association, of which I have been a member since 1968. There is also the National Council of Arts. It is part of the Department of Culture that belongs to the Ministry of Information. We have quite a few artists but they tend to be female rather than male. We have painters and sculptors but I think I am the only print maker. We also have video artists and computer artists now. I think the level of art in Kuwait is okay for such a young country. But since we don’t have art colleges it is developing more slowly than in Europe or America.

Art Interview: Are there modern art museums in Kuwait?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, yes, we have a museum of Kuwaiti art. You could call it modern because it’s only 30 or 40 years old.

Art Interview: Have you always done the type of art that you are doing now?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: No, I’ve changed. I try to discover myself through my art. I started making experimental art. I built upon this step by step. I like to change every 2-3 years, not dramatically, but step by step. When I work with a media or a subject and I feel that I can’t take it further then I move on. Sometimes to loosen up I’ll work abstractly but I like people and I want to see them in my work. So much of my work centers on portrait and figurative art.

Art Interview: How has your writing affected your art?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: I have six published novels, two books for children, a book of art criticism, a book of poetry, a book about my experiences in the war in Lebanon and another one with funny, satirical articles. Writing is part of my personality. It takes up much of my time. But people know me more as an artist than as a writer. Writing is a big challenge for me and I feel it will continue to be a wonderful part of my future. I am trying very hard to establish myself as a good writer. Writing is very important for me because I have things inside of me that I cannot put into paintings. Painting is different than writing. Writing means paper, information, and feeling to me. It means good language; you can do it in a corner, on the bus or sitting in the park. Painting, on the other hand, means technique and composition to me. Sometimes I mix the two together. If I have an image in my head I’ll often I write about it and sometimes I’ll do a painting based on my writing.

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Thuraya Al-Baqsami

Art Interview: Would you consider them as illustration?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, they are illustrations of what I feel. Sometimes I feel that what I write down would be too difficult to tell in a painting. I live in peace with these two forms of expression: writing and painting.

Art Interview: Do you write in Arabic?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, I write in Arabic, in my own language. It is a difficult language and at the same time it is very, very rich. It is a wonderful language to write in.

Art Interview: Do you illustrate your poetry?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes. I illustrated my poetry, my short stories and the children’s stories that I wrote. My poetry is about love and women and human relations in Arabic society, which are very complicated themes.

Art Interview: Is it possible to buy these books? Have they been translated into English?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes. Yes. Arabic literature is very difficult to get in North America but Europeans can get some of my books translated into English over http://www.amazon.co.uk

Art Interview: Do you think that your choice to be an artist was a difficult choice or did it feel very easy and natural?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Becoming an artist was very natural for me. Since I was a child I knew that I wanted to be an artist. This has made life easier. One of my daughters is also like this. Since she was a kid she also wanted to be an artist. These people don’t suffer the same as some people do because they know from the beginning on what they want to be. Some people even finish university and get a job and still they don’t know what they want to be. This was my decision from the beginning: I want to be an artist.

Art Interview: What about your identity in Kuwait? Is it typical that Arabic women artists have the opportunity to exhibit internationally as frequently as you do?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: No.

Art Interview: It is unique then?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, I’m unique.

Art Interview: What is it that drives you to do this? It’s a lot of work.

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: Yes, it is a lot of work but as I told you my husband plans my schedule for me since he is my manager and I usually agree with time frames.

Art Interview: Is the relationship between you and your husband atypical for the Arab world?

Thuraya Al-Baqsami: For an Arab man my husband is very unique. Usually Arabian men are very selfish and they don’t like having their wives in the spotlight. My husband is one of the rare men who shows his strength by allowing freedoms that others would not. For example, many people have the wrong idea and they ask him how he could let his wife stay alone in another country. But he trusts me and he trusts that I am doing something good for my future.

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Posted in Feminist art, Human Body, Identity art, Illustration, Interviews, Kuwaiti, Middle Eastern, Museum collectors, Profiles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »