Contents: A box of colour pencils and a blue tone colour pencil drawing that I am working at the moment, a poster with 10 lady costume images ( a new poster printed from my drawing of Anita Mui who is a Hong Kong pop singer died in 2003, this year is the 10th anniversary of her death.) The ten images are different costumes of Anita Mui from her famous albums. 4 yellowish printed leaflets to be distributed during the open studios day (5,6,12,13,19,20 Jan, 2013) on the right, acrylic paint and brushes.
Wilson Shieh (1970), a painter trained with Chinese fine-brush (gongbi) technique, works on various media ranged from Chinese ink drawing on silk to acrylic on canvas to paper cutout collage. He focuses on human bodies as his theme for narration. Transforming figuration by means of tailor-made costumes, the identity of modern people is always in query in his art world. Wilson lives and works in Hong Kong.
WILSON SHIEH: I used to work in gongbi technique which is traditional fine-brush ink painting on silk. Though I usually draw images in contemporary context. Recently I jumped to use various drawing medium including ink, colour pencil, and even collage. My subject matters is shifted from surrealistic figures to more social political topics.
FYD: What is your favorite sentimental object at your workspace and why?
WS: My hand painted big calendar. I like schedule and always work in schedule.
I will go back to modify or improve the old works.
FYD: What is your favorite or most required work tool?
WS: Chinese brushes.
FYD: Colour is evident around your workspace. How does it influence your work?
WS: I learned colour theory since high school. I used to follow the decorative but subtle colour scheme of Chinese gongbi painting. I have recently expressed stronger and brighter colours to give myself some challenge.
FYD: We know you employ the style called gongbi, what other ancient techniques inspired you?
WS: Chinese ink painting, folk prints. I also like late 19th century and early 20th century posters from both Western and Eastern culture.
I think I’m one of the very “Hong Kong” style artists.
FYD: How important is it to be critical of your own work? At what point are you satisfied?
WS: I’m always frustrated about my finished work. But soon I recover and think about new pieces. It takes some time and I will go back to modify or improve the old works.
FYD: Hong Kong has a vast, rich history. How does your work visit the various cultures?
FYD: How do you help enhance the art scene in Hong Kong?
WS: I’m involved in more community base and social engaging work. More and more local youths are interested in art. I am bringing my practice to meet more audience out there in our society.
FYD: What books and films are on inspiration?
WS: Nowadays, I like music more than books and films. I enjoy music while I am working in my studio. I prefer old and new stuff — rock, jazz, classical, Hong Kong pop, etc.
FYD: The Chinese New Year is upon us, and it’s the Year of Snake. What might one expect?
WS: There are twelve animals in Chinese Zodiac. The Year of Snake is rather not important to me. The year after snake is Horse which is my mom’s year. She will turn seventy-two.