Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

Five great Hong Kong artists

Discover some of the city’s most accessible creative talents

Words: Rachel Read

Hong Kong’s thriving art scene is yet another thing to love about this city, with fantastic galleries, fascinating museums and buzzing art fairs that ensure art aficionados always have plenty to pack their schedules with. It’s unsurprising then that Hong Kong is also home to plenty of homegrown creative talent – and here are five great locally-based artists that celebrate the colourful city in their work.


Eleanor McColl

British-born, multi-disciplinary artist McColl has been based in Hong Kong for over twenty years – and her love for the city shines through in her vibrant pieces, which contrast soft blurring with sharp focus to captivating effect. Working in a range of mediums including oil painting and photo montage, her pieces are inspired by the “arresting details that catch my eye when I walk through the city”, capturing both the bustle of the urban landscape and the smaller human elements that make the city so unique. To admire McColl’s artworks in-person, head to Chai Wan’s Blue Lotus Gallery or make a date with Hong Kong’s annual Affordable Art Fair, where she is a frequent exhibitor.

eleanormccoll.com


Jonathan Jay Lee

Counting the likes of Marvel Comics, HSBC and Harvey Nichols among his former clients, award-winning Taiwanese-American illustrator Lee takes inspiration from Japanese manga and Western comic-book traditions, resulting in a distinctive style that’s packed with colour and character. Having grown up in Hong Kong, Lee graduated from New York’s prestigious Parsons School of Design in 2007, but soon found himself back in the city he calls home – and nowadays himself teaches illustration at SCAD Hong Kong. Lee’s pop culture-soaked approach vividly chronicles the city in a style that’s equal parts glamorous, nostalgic and realistic, with Hong Kong’s wet markets, cha chaan tengs and high-rises depicted in all their glory. For one of the most delicious ways to enjoy Lee’s work, book yourself in for dinner at Ho Lee Fook, where several pieces that he created especially for the restaurant inspired by the nearby Graham Street market are on display.

jonathanjaylee.com


Kitty N. Wong

With a penchant for drawing “dumb dogs, retro patterns, cute faces and cool girls”, Wong’s quirky illustrations are instantly recognisable… and instantly adorable. Hong Kong-born and Canadian-raised, Wong started illustrating professionally in 2012 and has since created custom commissions for Lane Crawford, Dior, Cartier and Chow Sang Sang – where her artwork was displayed in over 400 stores across Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Working largely in gouache, Wong’s stylish pieces sparkle with life and energy, with many of her pieces incorporating whimsical Hong Kong touches. Visit her Etsy store to buy some of her most popular pieces, including stickers of Hong Kong’s most beloved street foods, phone cases featuring smiling egg tarts, and a print series of girls wearing fashion outfits inspired by traditional Hong Kong food items, like egg waffles, fish balls and iced lemon tea.

kittynwong.com


Francesco Lietti

On first visiting Hong Kong in 2005, Italian-born artist Lietti was struck by the mesmerising colours and vivid sensations of the city – and found himself immediately inspired to capture those experiences on canvas, before making Hong Kong his home a year later. “I instantly fell in love with the place,” Lietti reminisces, a passion that is clearly visible in his vibrantly-hued renditions of the city’s skyline and harbour. Usually painted in acrylic and oils, his work often features collage elements that add texture and depth (including pieces from local magazines and newspapers that reinforce each work’s connection to place), with a trademark final finish of glossy resin to further enhance the brightness of his colours. A frequent exhibitor at the Asia Contemporary Art Show, Lietti has also collaborated with Hong Kong students to create murals at local schools.

francescolietti.com


Florence Traissac

There’s definitely no mistaking that Traissac’s paintings are of Hong Kong, with many of the city’s most distinctive sights – including the bustle of Graham Street Market, the sampans around Aberdeen Promenade, the bird cages of Mong Kok’s Bird Garden and the bric-a-brac of Cat Street Market – brilliantly depicted in her work. Having lived in Italy, France, Australia and now Hong Kong, Traissac believes that “every place has a different story to tell”, and creates artwork inspired by “people, faces, streets, life, markets, shapes and moments in time”. Packed with rich details and a lively sense of movement, her prints make excellent mementos of the city, with many people buying them as leaving presents to commemorate their time in Hong Kong.

arteflodesign.com

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