For this week’s interview piece, we sat down with the inspirational Hong Yi Red for an insight into her creative process and what got her started as an artist. We’ve included images of some of her beautiful creations below as well. Enjoy!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself, your journey as an artist and your interest in creative art?
My interest in the arts began as early as I can remember. It was my mum who taught me how to colour, and my dad taught me how to sketch. I chose architecture in university and graduated with both a bachelor and masters degree in it. After living and studying in Australia for more than 6 years, I moved to Shanghai to work as an architect and worked on art projects on the side, such as portraits made from everyday, ordinary materials. I posted up a video of one of my artworks and after it went viral, I gained the confidence to create more artwork and share it online. Eventually I quit my job in architecture and became a full-time artist. The last 4 years of my art career has been a whirlwind. It’s been the most exciting 4 years of my life.
Does fashion influence your art at all?
The way we dress creates a statement about ourselves and it influences the way people view us so I do think it is important to know what is happening around us, including in the fashion world. While it’s important for artists to stay informed about the latest trends, I usually prefer classic long-lasting styles.
Could you describe a typical art video shoot for us?
I take about 2 months to complete my art installations, from conception to installation. Shooting the videos usually takes 1 to 2 days, so my piece has to be done before the shoot. Shooting takes a lot less time because I have to hire a video production team and rent a studio/warehouse space suitable for the shoot. In reality, I’m usually super unkempt and in a frenzy trying to get the installation completed, and usually tired from working long hours. In the shoot though, I’ve likely had a good rest the night before, so I look refreshed and camera-ready for the video.
Which artists have inspired you?
I really enjoy Stina Perrson’s work – I’ve been a fan since I first saw it, I think in 2007. I love the way she blends her colours and the way she creates negative space illustrations is stunning.
I enjoy following Nicole Warne and Aimee Song’s fashion posts on Instagram. It’s also inspiring seeing how far they have come through their passion and hard work.
Which piece are you currently most proud of?
I would say my installation for Jackie Chan, made of 64,000 chopsticks bundled together and hung off a frame, or Teh Tarik Man, made of 20,000 dyed teabags that was presented at the World Economic Forum in 2015. These pieces took a lot of long hours and determination to complete, so that gave me extra satisfaction to see them turned into reality.
How much time do you spend thinking up an idea?
A lot – I think about it all the time!
Do you have a favourite art-related book or website?
I enjoyed Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”. He writes about how the future of global businesses will be ruled more and more by creatives or right-brainers.
Do you have a technique you particularly enjoy using or an objective you consistently keep in mind?
Yes, to use overlooked, ordinary materials in my work, often to challenge the way we see things around us.
What’s the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?
That I care more about the heart behind why I am doing my art.
How do you market your pieces?
I think a lot of my work has been circulated via media covering my work, social media platforms and through word of mouth. It has all been pretty organic.
What upcoming projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a series of art pieces about refugees all around the world.
Could you tell us a bit about your hobbies outside of art, specifically ones that inspire your work?
Running – it helps clear my mind. Baking – I love seeing how when raw ingredients are combined, something else comes out of the oven. Reading – I love a good book, usually non-fiction!
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome as an artist?
Traveling a lot for my work, I think lately my challenge has been to balance my travels with work and family and friends. I’m determined to make this work!
What advice do you have for people considering becoming an artist?
Show your work. Be consistent. Don’t strive for perfection, but work towards great work and improve your work bit by bit.