When I grew up in Hong Kong, it was hard to believe that you could survive as an artist.
In secondary school I thought that if I liked art I should study something related to art but that was practical, like architecture or design.
I studied architecture at the University of Hong Kong, but I quit after the first year. I found that with architecture, you can create, but only within certain limitations. You have to do something that is functional—I like to create something without any limitations, so I left.
Over the past five years, Wilson Shieh has become one of the most important and best-known contemporary artists in Hong Kong—and an art auction staple. He recently took time out to walk Sean Hebert through his career retrospective exhibition at Osage Gallery, discussing his education, his influences and how he gives back to the city that raised him.
HK Magazine: Were you born a clown, or did you come to it later in life?
Wing Wing: I was first exposed to clowning when I participated in an amateur class during high school. The class exposed me to the basics of juggling and other clown acts, which captured my interest. After that, I pursued Ocean Park’s Clown College courses to further develop my skills. Basically, my life has been revolving around it since 1998.
“Wing Wing” the clown, a.k.a Tony Leung, has been a full-time clown for the past 15 years. He’s currently mentoring clown school students at the Juggling Home of Hong Kong, passing on his clowning expertise to the next generation of funnymen. He tells Kiki Elijandy about the cons of being paid to clown around, and what it takes to make people smile.
HK Magazine: You are a Hong Kong headhunter who has written a book, “Bel Canto Bully,” about a 19th century opera impresario. How does that work?
There are hardly any straight lines in life, and Philip Eisenbeiss’ career trajectory is a perfect example. From failed singer to financial headhunter to acclaimed author, the Hong Kong-based renaissance man sits down with Charlotte Rea to explain how a work ethic drawn from his day job and his passion for the opera combined to create a heck of a good read.
HK Magazine: You made a huge rubber duck. Can you explain the concept behind it?
Florentijn Hofman: Our waters around the world are a global bathtub; we’re all connected in a way, you know? Especially in these times of the internet and social media, we can forget that we’ve always been a family. We need to take care of each other and the planet.
After 14 cities and four continents, you get the sense that Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman is forever Dr. Frankenstein living in the shadow of his massive, adorable creation. Hounded by media and booked solid with appearances during his Hong Kong tour, there’s hardly a thing that hasn’t been asked and answered about that darned duck. So Charlotte Rea pored through his FAQ and turned to the Twitterverse to try and dig a bit deeper.
HK Magazine: Tell me about the history of Ngau Kee.
Mak Ping-keung: Ngau Kee first opened its doors on Staunton Street in 1951, and then it relocated to Gough Street in 2005 due to the government’s urban renewal projects. I took over the business 17 years ago as the fourth owner, and the restaurant mainly rose to fame in the past two decades.
Three weeks ago legendary Central cha chaan teng Ngau Kee shut down for good, after 62 years of operation. Owner Mak Ping-kuen tells Kiki Elijandy why it had to happen, and what the future is for Ngau Kee.
HK Magazine: So, how old is Linva Tailor?
Mrs. Leung: We’ve been around for 40 years now. This is our only store, and we have never moved. Our furniture is just as old as this store, and we still use paper receipts for our client records. I started out in fashion, and Mr. Leung specialized in qipao. Together, we started Linva Tailor.
If you need a tailor-made qipao for your next big event, pay a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Leung of Linva Tailor. The couple has been making traditional dresses with love and care for the past 40 years. The two sifu chat with Victoria Wong about the decadent years of the tailoring business—and how some traditions are still very much alive.
I was born and brought up in Hong Kong in the New Territories. I went to Kingston, Ontario for high school. I graduated and took economics for my first degree in Canada, then went over to London, England to study my second degree in fashion design.
I had no intention to do fashion design at all to start with. I just loved drawing. I’ve loved drawing all my life. I wanted to do something related to drawing and the creative field.
Fashion designer, writer and social commentator William Tang‘s career has spanned 25 years—and he’s nowhere near done. From designing his namesake label to consulting for big brands, he’s always got a project up his sleeve. He tells Adele Wong about taking inspiration from the King of Kowloon, and getting into the industry at the right time.
HK Magazine: So, what’s your pottery background?
SWL: I have over 25 years of experience as a potter. Around 14 years ago, the person in charge of the St James’ Settlement’s rehabilitation service approached me and three fellow potters to set up a pottery workshop—it all started from there. Everything began from scratch: from clearing out the workshop, which used to be a deserted storeroom, to buying simple pottery equipment.
More than a decade ago, potter Sze Wai-ling started volunteering at the St James’ Settlement, teaching pottery to students with mental disabilities. She’s currently the ceramics consultant at the organization, and she tells Kiki Elijandy how rewarding it can be.
I was born and raised in Hong Kong until I was 13—my parents sent me to boarding school in Devon, England. So I went to boarding school for four years, then after that I went to Toronto for school and university. I came back to Hong Kong in 1991.
I didn’t know [I was going to be the owner of a nightclub]. I wish I did. I always loved entertainment, but I never knew I would be so lucky to do something that I really love—and working with great people around me.
Gilbert Yeung is the owner of local institution/nightclub Dragon-i, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. He talks to Andrea Lo about how partying has changed, growing up, and learning from his dad.
HK Magazine: You have an exhibition in which a video of moving water is projected into a foggy room. Where did that idea come from?
When Portuguese artist João Vasco Paiva is done taking over a gallery space, his exhibitions turn heads. They’re challenging, visually appealing and totally open to interpretation, and his inclusion in this month’s Hong Kong Eye arts show signals that his career is on the verge of blowing up. He sat down with Sean Hebert to discuss his most recent installations, the reactions they’ve garnered and his advice for young artists.