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riaw magazine issue_04_2012

  1. 1. RW A 04 Fal l/Winter 2012MAGAZINE Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies
  2. 2. The RAW Magazine Joyce Yung TEAM Derek Ting Joyce founded Random Art Workshop in 2009 to expand Co-founder of Random Art Workshop, Derek has always upon her passion for photography, art and to build a com- been an ardent supporter of the arts. He caught the acting munity of like-minded individuals that can come together bug while studying in New York and subsequently, his in- to share their creative insights. The past several years has terests have led him into the art of acting and further pro- seen her involve her career in professional photography ducing for CNN and other well received short-films. With and championing everyday arts. With an affinity for dis- a Producer’s role for a feature film under his belt, Derek covering new avenues to continues to tirelessly pur- give the rest of Hong Kong sue his passions. He enjoys their dose of the unexpect- quick witted conversations ed and imaginative, RAW and running. He hopes Magazine is her brain- RAW will help others find child. She finds inspira- their callings. tion in traveling, loves the water, and is particularly fond of all things spiral. Beverly Cheng Matina Cheung Art has always played Matina is RAW’s resident big a role in Beverly’s life design and graphics wiz- (ever since grade school ard. Responsible for RAW when she discovered that Magazine’s innovative and art making could get her distinct aesthetic identity, out of team sports). After she celebrates her passion a bachelor’s in art history, for design along with art she was an editor for vari- mediums such as photog- ous lifestyle magazines raphy and sculpture. An before breaking out as a freelance editor and writer and up and coming visual artist, Matina’s art examines the con- spearheading various creative projects—from PR cam- cept of intimacy and perception. She is also a yoga afficcio- paigns for new restaurants to collaborating on cookbooks. nado with an intense love for aliens and gremlins.Contributing Writers: Leanne Mirandilla Renee Wong Greenwood Writer and editor by trade, Leanne is a Hong Kong native “Renee Wong Greenwood is a Hong Kong-based freelance and arts and culture enthusiast. She enjoys reading, drink- writer who loves everything that this exciting city has to ing coffee and finding new and interesting things to do in offer—the energetic vibe, the crazy pace, the juxtaposition the city. Follow her on Twitter at @lemirandilla. of the old and new, the East and the West—and writing all about it.” Claire Johnson Claire is a professional dancer and teacher as well as a keen writer. She enjoys all aspects relating to the arts and is also a fashion blogger for AnyWearStyle.com. 3
  3. 3. Foreword My partner, Derek, and I started the concept of Random Art Workshop when we got past the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and past its hard outer shell. Many people come here to make their money and leave, but we see things a little differently and feel that Hong Kong deserves more permanence, especially in the field of art. We also felt that being an accountant, lawyer, and banker does not preclude you from being an artist, nor make you any less creative. We started RAW to plant a seed that would grow into a community where people could learn about art and an outlet for their creativity, without the confines or limits that society places on us. RAW Magazine is a natural progression of this emerging community. In our Fall/Winter 2012 issue, we spotlight artists use fashion as a creative outlet, whether it’s wearable artist Movanna Chan or fashion photography Sean Lee Davies. We are greatly influenced by the fashion around us. Fashion is so much more than the big brands around us and there are plenty of up and coming, home grown designers that are showing off their wares. In this issue, you’ll find we look at designers who have created brands that are unique and true to their own style and artistic vision and pho- tographers who are able to interpret and capture the essence of various style through their camera lens. Creative Director RANDOM ART WORKSHOP 4
  4. 4. te n tsC o n 6 I nw o HTexamines th G d e ro le of HoTg Kongis 22 e INSGreeworod of excess. TLoIGg H n kes th Rene Won in a l g SPO e and min upc what ma l arts . eco-f ashio n otabl d us all of the visua of n min icks e e for Our p d artists r citing plac bas e an e x such place Y han VVAngelitk. a C 6 T SA ager, ris I er 2Lee R ry M galle an IgSphTSeaenwhat 44narAZ Gaoltlevations as a O Vo ra t T m i I e phot h to se . Ha SaToUsDtiasblMovana Cheein lives entails s her share RR E: sh d w t no t r ATU DaAWs and alsoaatypical day in rtFE vie 46 ARSounudr tehyee. U L ing on ar Cee go BIhNOt’s bharne what caug ht o wha ft throug s , and We si e art-wise glob 5
  5. 5. TANG KWoK HIN multimedia artist His most recent series of works—exhibited at ART HK 2012 and again at Amelia Johnson Contemporary this past September— is a collection of 18 collages and two videos centered around Nancy, the fictitious younger sister that Tang never knew. “My mother terminated a pregnancy over twenty years ago because of the one-child policy introduced by the Chinese government in the late 1970s,” explains Tang in his artist’s statement. “I imagine that [she] left to study overseas and [has] yet to return. [She was] born with a quiet nature and [has] become slightly eccentric.” He combined images hearkening to what the media commonly presents as the “ideal family” with images iconic to Hong Kong, as well as images found via Google. “I keep using Google as a tool to do collage,” Tang comments. “When I type different key- words into Google Search, we normally see the same image in the same region. This is a standardized mode to frame everyone.” Tang commonly appropriates and re-contextualizes images in his collages, giving them a new perspective and meaning. Some of Tang’s other past projects include making landscapes out of wine labels and a fictional “Google Worldview” composed of found online images. Besides his artistic work, Tang also cu- rates and writes. “To me, curating a show, writing, and making Local artist Tang Kwok-hin—who walked away with the first art are quite similar in some ways,” he says. “I prefer grouping all prize at the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards in these as a whole [as] creation in life. They are same to me and it’s 2009—often appropriates images from print and digital media in complicated to split them off.” order to create his collages. Tang explains that, like most artists, he needs to balance the com- Tang Kwok-hin remembers drawing on the walls at home from mercial and the experimental in his works. “I regard myself as a when he was age 3; his career as an artist kicked off when he watermelon that needs to be cut into pieces. I need a commercial completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts at the side to sustain myself as a full-time artist. Another part is thor-SPOTLIGHT Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2008. Since then, he has oughly done for experiments or pure fine arts.” worked extensively with Amelia Johnson Contemporary and has shown his work at Art HK 2011 and 2012, taking over the Man- darin Oriental’s elegant Clipper Lounge with his mixed-media www.tangkwokhin.blogspot.com artwork in 2012. “I have never thought of doing any other thing except being an artist,” Tang says. “Perhaps I find a personal way to lead a different life in that.” Written by Leanne Mirandilla 6
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  9. 9. CARRIE CHAN fashion designer prints and ever popular tattoo tights are often seen on bloggers and in style magazines. “I’m inspired by a mixture of tradition- al art forms in both Western and Oriental culture. At the same time, I’m a total pop culture junkie. I create an old meets new, East meets West clash [in my work].” With a keen eye for prints and illustrations, it’s here Carrie’s work really stands out. She starts by creating collages to scope out her idea, before transferring these onto a mannequin to see how the lines and shapes work with the human body. Further fine tuning is needed after the initial draping; refining the pattern, experi- mentation with colour and proportioning before finally reaching the production stage. Carrie isn’t averse to obstacles as a young designer and is focus- ing on carving a niche in the retail market. She hopes that more trendsetters will start developing a desire for her products and she remains constantly looking to create and evolve her designs ahead of her competitors. Her new range of legwear is an exam- ple of just that—by taking the already popular graphic print leg- gings and combining them with origami print and darker lines, the tights are designed to shape the wearer’s legs and make them After graduating in journalism, Carrie went on to work at the appear slimmer. South China Morning Post while studying and joining Fashion’s Collective. It was there that she began to realise her passion and When looking forward to the future, Carrie has clear aspirations, would even go on to win awards at Hong Kong Fashion Week. “I would like to take the label to a trade show in Paris and in turn, A subsequent scholarship to the University of Westminster to develop a larger international audience.” Also in the pipeline is a study a master’s in fashion design paved the way to Carrie’s ca- potential collaboration with a handbag designer, which will com- reer change. bine Carrie’s unique fabric prints with leather in order to create one-of-a-kind accessories. It was in the UK that Carrie really began to explore different tex-SPOTLIGHT tile techniques, working in Alexander McQueen’s print section before moving on to assist British designer Boudicca for almost RI by Carrie legwear is available at Heaven Please, 2B, Po Foo two years. Following her relocation back to Hong Kong, Carrie Building, No.1 Foo Ming St., Causeway Bay; RI by Carrie clothing is available at Amelie Street, Flat M, 1/F, Po Ming Building, 2-6 Foo began to focus on her own label and develop her first range of Ming St., Causeway Bay signature legwear. www.ribycarrie.wix.com/ri Carrie’s designs involve unique fabrics created in-house incorpo- rating distinctive patterns and techniques. Her signature origami Written by Claire Johnson
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  13. 13. CONNIE LO jewellery designer Jewellery design followed, although it was a completely self- taught, it came easily to Connie because of her foundation as a fashion designer. “I was never particularly good at the drawing part; it’s the concept and realisation of a product that really ex- cites me. The endless possibilities and seeing each piece develop from start to finish is what I really enjoy about jewellery produc- tion.” The pieces at Nutcase do make a statement, with bold, eye-catch- ing styles that combine both the profane and beautiful. Each season Connie devises her collection around a ‘muse character’, such as her previous sea-themed collection which was inspired by a mermaid. Her current season is inspired by two witch sis- ters. Connie is, however, acutely aware of her lack of training in and the potential setbacks this could cause her. “Sometimes my lack of experience makes it difficult to realise my ideas to their full- est potential, [it’s] definitely a hurdle I need to jump over to take Nutcase to the next level.” That said, Connie is very in touch when it comes to the jewellery industry. She focused on fine A self-confessed accessories addict, Connie Lo is paving the way tuning her designs for three years before starting her label. She in bold and brave jewellery design with her own label <Nutcase>. clearly sees the importance of good marketing and an efficient sales platform for her design—sometimes, simply having beau- The term ‘nutcase’ means crazy, and this has become the under- tiful designs is just not enough. To assure quality, every piece lying theme and philosophy of the label’s pieces, from the neon of handmade jewellery passing Connie’s close inspection before spike earrings to its metal and gem bedazzled necklaces. In a city reaching the customer. like Hong Kong where we are all driven a little ‘crazy’, these ac- cessories provide an outlet to stand out from the crowd with this Nutcase’s customer base spans quite an interesting demographic, bold jewelry collection. covering both male and female with online sales across much of Europe, Asia and the U.S. Connie doesn’t have a set target cus-SPOTLIGHT Connie’s inspiration to work in the fashion industry came at an tomer, but just wants people to have fun with her jewellery. “I early age. After moving to the UK at the age of 10, her eyes were challenge everyone, particularly the understated Hong Kongers opened to a more creative, expressive fashion style. “Even as a to go ahead and stand out—why not?” nerdy teenager, it fascinated me how something as silent as cloth- ing could make such a huge impact on others, be it in first im- Nutcase is available at Amelie Street, Flat M, 1/F, Po Ming Building, pressions or as a tool to communicate,” she says. Connie went on 2-6 Foo Ming St., Causeway Bay. to study a bachelor’s in Fashion Design at the University of Leeds before relocating back to her hometown, Hong Kong, to work as www.nutcasefashion.etsy.com. a commercial fashion designer. Written by Claire Johnson 14
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  16. 16. CARMAN photographer & blogger CHAN Met Your Style. She runs the blog together with photographer and designer Ken Wu—the two photograph fashion bloggers wearing their own ensembles in casual settings, whether at home or roaming their neighborhood. The result is a site that has been cited as a source of fashion inspiration by such powerhouses as Vogue Paris and Glamour. “It was the beginning of my photography career and I wanted to build my portfolio and produce test shoots,” explains Chan. “Usually you have to find a hair stylist, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist and model, and it’s hard to find a good team.” Chan ended up photographing a fashion blogger whose style she admired, and the project took off from there. The pair plan to include art- ists, designers and other creative types from cities all over the U.S. and Asia—particularly more locations in South East Asia like Hong Kong and Taiwan. The natural settings and poses of How I Met Your Style echo Chan’s distinctively natural and organic photographic style. “I try to use natural light whenever possible. How I Met Your Style is 98 percent film. With digital, unless it’s specifically requested by the client, if the direction is up to me there’s very little post- Photographer Carmen Chan currently works between Los Ange- processing. I’m not going to add lens flare and post, or adjust the les and Hong Kong, making stops throughout Asia and the U.S. color too much. If I want to add color, I add gels to the light. Any along the way. Though a fashion photographer, her style is soft- post-processing that I do is to make it look closer to film. I just er and more natural than most, winning her clients from Lane like that aesthetic, color and contrast.” Crawford to fashion brand Rag & Bone. One client Chan has worked with recently is Mata Hari, where Born in Las Vegas and raised in Hong Kong, Carmen Chan origi- she shot a lookbook for their handbags. Another notable experi- nally dreamt of being a TV or film producer after an eclectic edu- ence with a client that Chan mentions was a shoot with ColonialSPOTLIGHT cation in communication at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Goods, who were then doing a collaboration with local brand After three years in the business in L.A., though, she discovered G.O.D. “They created T-shirts manufactured by Lee Gong Man, a love of photography and decided to switch careers. a really old knitting factory. I got to go into the factory and pho- tograph the machinery and the process.” Like any aspiring photographer, Chan was first presented with the challenge of building a solid portfolio, which actually ended up leading to her personal fashion photography project, How I www.carmen-chan.com Written by Leanne Mirandilla 18
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  20. 20. FASHION F Sustainability is quickly picking up momentum in the fashion to be sold on Paltrow’s lifestyle and e-commerce website, Goop. industry. Almost everyone in the fashion world is getting in Although only available in the U.S., they are apparently selling on the act from high-end designers to your high street stores. out fast. Surprisingly, even Hong Kong, our city of extravagance and excess is producing some very promising up-and-coming eco- Not to be outdone by the designers and celebs, even high street conscious designers. We talk to some of these designers about department stores like Marks & Spencer are jumping on the their designs, as well as Christina Dean, CEO and founder of bandwagon. Recently launched is the store’s first garment made Redress—a non-profit that is promoting sustainable fashion in from second-hand clothing donated by customers in the UK Hong Kong and China­ to get the lowdown on what’s hap- — called the “Shwop” coat—a limited edition double-breasted pea pening in the Hong Kong eco fashion coat for women which reportedly costs world. less than half of the price of a coat made from pure virgin wool. M&S launched The movement itself is not new—the its campaign of “shwopping” back in idea of sustainable fashion has, in fact, April this year where customers leave an been around since the early 90s but it old item of clothing each time they buy has come a long way from its days of something new with the aim of col- hemp ponchos, bamboo shoes and oth- lecting as many pieces as they sell. The er miscellaneous odd-looking garments. donated clothing is then passed onto Ox- Sustainable fashion is now a global fam; shipped to Italy, where it is reduced phenomenon and a part of the growing to fibre form, cleaned and made into new design philosophy where a product is fabric before being sold on to M&S sup- created and produced with the least en- pliers. The retailer believes this to be a vironmental and social impact (and this huge step towards creating a sustainable includes carbon footprints), but which future for fashion. are all still stylish and wearable. What’s more, sustainable fashion is no longer And just to show the world that the the exclusive domain of a handful of fashion industry is serious about sustain- alternative designers, these days it’s the ability, eco-friendly fashion weeks are established haute couture designers as popping up all over: Portland Fashion well as high street fashion retailers that Week, which has featured sustainable are re-introducing eco-conscious ways designers and apparel since 2005, has to their creations, whether it’s through also attracted international press for its the use of environmentally friendly materials or via socially efforts to sustainably produce a fashion week that showcases responsible methods. 100 percent eco-friendly designs; Ecoluxe London runs a non-profit organization that promotes and supports ecological From the likes of Stella McCartney, where 20 to 30 percent of and sustainable luxury fashion a bi-annual exhibition during her collection is said to contain some sort of eco or sustain- London Fashion Week showcasing work of eco fashion brands able element, whether it’s an organic fabric or a natural dye; to from around the world. There’s also the Copenhagen Fashion Gwyneth Paltrow, actress-lifestyle guru-food expert and now Summit, and according to the Summit’s organizers, this is the fashion designer, who has teamed up with British ethical label world’s largest and most important conference on sustainabilityINSIGHT Chinti and Parker to create limited-edition cashmere sweaters in the fashion industry. This biennial event gathers more than which feature Chinti and Parker’s signature buttoned shoulders, 1,000 key industry stakeholders to identify new opportunities contrast-colour pockets and statement-making elbow patches and forward-looking solutions for the global fashion industry to 22
  21. 21. FORWARDtackle the growing challenges facing the planet. sustainable fashion design competitions, seminars, exhibitions, by conducting research and certifications, explains Dean, “WeSo that’s the story on the global front, but what’s happening in have to work with the whole fashion supply chain. Every singleour own backyard? Is Hong Kong doing its bit to contribute to player in the fashion supply chain creates environmental degra-a more eco-conscious way to produce and consume fashion? dation, whether you’re the cotton farmer, the textile producer,What is available out there for those of us who are ready to be the garment manufacturer, the designer, the retailer or the endmore socially responsible with our purchases? consumer.”Firstly, a few statistics about the clothing industry in this part of On the educational side, Redress is targeting two main groups:the world: according to a study done by the Hong Kong Envi- the consumers and the design-ronmental Protection Department in 2010, on average, a mind- ers. On consumers, Dean says,boggling 234 tonnes of textiles were discarded into Hong Kong “Although we often focus solandfills on a daily basis; in China 17 to 20 percent of industrial much on the industry, therewater pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment, as a are studies that have found thatresult, 72 toxic chemicals in China’s water originate solely from more than half of the environ-textile dyeing and of these, 30 cannot be removed; and finally, mental impact of a garment isfrom a study done by BSR, a non-profit organization promot- created by the consumer. Thising social responsibility in business, on Water Management is because consumers overin China’s Apparel and Textile Factories claims that the textile wash and over dry and discardindustry is one of the largest polluting sectors in China. their clothing inappropriately. We consume approximatelyFaced with such shocking statistics former dental surgeon and 60 percent more clothes todayjournalist, Dr. Christina Dean was jolted into action and started than we did 10 years ago. ThisRedress in Hong Kong, a Hong Kong based NGO with a mis- means that many consumers aresion to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion basically on the search for low-industry. As the founder and CEO of Redress, Dean recognized price clothes with which to stuff their wardrobes and they don’tthe severity of the damage that we are doing in the textile indus- consider the ‘true’ price for their purchases. The ‘true’ price istry alone “We have a very serious issue on our hands in Hong a horrible environmental and social bill that millions of peopleKong, because of our proximity have to suffer. Because of this, we need to educate consumers.”to China. China is the world’s To do this, Redress regularly organizes public exhibitions, cloth-largest clothing and textile ing drives and workshops to educate and raise awareness of theexporter that is responsible for consumers.approximately 30 percent of theworld’s garments and 40 per- For designers, Redress has, for two years running, been organiz-cent of the world’s textiles. It’s ing the EcoChic Design Award as a way to inspire and challengebecause we are so close to this local fashion designers to combine style with sustainability.incredible fashion machine that According to Dean, 80 percent of the environmental impact ofour position in Hong Kong and a product is determined by the designer and in Asia there is aour work at Redress is so im- lack of sustainable fashion education for designers, adds Dean,portant,” states Dean. Redress’ “One way to do this is via a competition that draws in emerging INSIGHTgoal is therefore, to reduce fashion design talent and brings them on an educational andwaste in Asia’s fashion indus- competitive journey that ultimately helps to change the pat-try by organizing educational tern of fashion.” Not only does the winner get bragging rights 23
  22. 22. to being EcoChic Design Award winner, he or she will be sent available. Hong Kong fashion designer, Johanna Ho, who re- to the UK to experience a cultural exchange to soak up UK’s cently collaborated with British artist and print designer Leanne pioneering sustainable fashion scene. The trip serves to expand Claxton to launch their joint collection called HO:CLAXTON. the designer’s creativity and understanding of innovation in The collection uses zero wastage pattern cutting techniques for sustainable fashion and the winner also gets an opportunity to each design, in which each garment has no leftover fabric wast- work with popular fashion label Esprit, to design and create an age, cohering to Ho’s belief for her overall design concepts—to eco chic collection using innovative recycled textiles, created by create and produce responsibly. There is also Mutt Museum, recycling Esprit’s own textile a label started by designer, Janko Lam (who happens to be manufacturing waste. Once the last year’s winner of the EcoChic Design award), has a unique collection launches for retail, collection of elegant cheong sams made out of recycled fabric the designer’s name, design and denim which breathes new life into a classic shape, but also concept and quote will be pro- makes the traditional dresses suitable for daily wear. moted via Esprit’s press release and be promoted via Esprit and Accessories-wise, there are a few ingenious and stylish design- Redress’ social media channels. ers out there, though two of note are: Annalisa Ryle of Bez & Oho and Handsome Co.’s Billy Potts (who is actually a qualified One such lucky and inspired solicitor before becoming a designer). Whilst both Ryle’s and designer is this year’s winner, Potts’ collection are primarily focused on bags, their design Wister Tsang, whose edgy yet looks could not be more different: Ryle’s collection of bespoke sophisticated collection for the bags, totes and messenger bags and accessories are fun, colour- competition focused on using ful and at times, flirtatious and pre-loved denim as his main whimsical while Potts’ designs material. On top of being a are more metropolitan, sleek durable material, denim never and modern. goes out of style, and also, as Tsang further explains, “Eve- But what is interesting is both ryone has jeans and the cost of designers’ choice of materials. this material as a second hand For Ryle, she uses rice bags and commodity is low. My collec- excess fabrics from factories, tion’s focus is on collage and “The rice bags are collected simplicity. For the details, I and bought from restaurants turned the jeans inside out and and shops and individuals. The used the lining as a distinc- fabrics are purchased from local tive feature of the collection.” hawkers selling off the factory And since winning the Award over production and also from earlier this year, Tsang has been locally established material working with Esprit on their shops. All of our hardware is Recycled Collection, which is also from companies started in said to debut in the Spring/Summer Collection 2013. Hong Kong.” Potts’, however, uses a material that is very In the meantime, where can eco-conscious but fashion-savvy familiar to us all and yet it’s not Hong Kongers turn to for some sustainable fashion? Admittedly, something we would think of we are not exactly inundated with choices, but there are options that can be up-cycled—taxi seatINSIGHT 24
  23. 23. upholstery. Sounds rather dull, but the end result is surprisingly industry back and preventing innovation. Too many peoplesmart and urbane, says Potts, “I like taking elements, which are are fixed on, for example, the higher cost of organic cotton andperceived to be mundane and elevating them. Most of these they repeatedly cite this as an over-arching obstacle to achievingelements are regarded as mundane because they are ubiquitous sustainability in the fashion industry.”and have become invisible to us. Our designs appear simple inform and construction. The reasons for this are practical as well In spite of this, it is comforting to know that organizations likeas aesthetic. I’m looking to reduce wastage in production and Redress all over the world are standing firm in their convic-make the manufacturing process as efficient as possible while tion and are pushing forward with research, educating, raisingreducing, where possible, additional materials.” awareness within the industry as well as the consumer and while the number of eco conscious designers and clothingIt is good to know that there are sustainable and totally wearable retailers are on the rise, it is ultimately the consumers who needalternatives available and in theory, it makes perfect sense to to demand a more sustainable business model from the fashionbe more eco conscious, so why isn’t eco fashion gaining a more industry because after all, as Dean puts it simply, “Money talksprominent and it’s consumers who drive the fashion industry, what theyspot in the buy is vital to how the industry shapes up.”market place?Accordingto Dean,there aretwo underly-ing factorsstanding inthe way of thesustainablefashion indus-try, “On theconsumer front, the issue is low price and over-consumption.Like other industries, such as food, the price of various goodshas dropped over the last few decades owing to globalization.As a result, consumers now view fashion as ‘fast-fashion’. On thedesigner front, there are a few challenges. One might be the fear that sustain- able fashion design costs more. It is long cited that sustainability in the fashion industry costs more. This is something that is really holding the Written by Renee Wong Greenwood INSIGHT 25
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  25. 25. na Chen Photo provided by Movana Chen
  26. 26. Movana Chen first started out studying fashion design in university—now, she creates wearable art using thin strips of paper, often from deconstructed books given to her by friends. From journeying to Sicily to retrieve a book for a new piece to orchestrating group knitting sessions filled with hundreds of people, Movana brings people together with her work. We visit Movana in her Shek Kip Mei stu- dio where she tells us about her work and approach amidst clicks of her knitting needles. Photo provided by Movana Chen Written by Leanne Mirandilla RAW: How did you start making MC: I traveled to different countries. Photography by Matina Cheung, wearable art out of knitted paper? From 2009 I traveled to London, Milan, Selected Images provided by Movana Chen Korea, Michigan, Philadelphia, Sicily, Movana Chen: I thought about using all Paris. It depends on where the friend the collections in my bookshelf—all my comes from. They invite me to “travel magazines and art books, so 139 books. into their bookshelf ”. I stay in their home I tried to study the relationship between and get to know a culture outside of [myself and] each book. I started the Hong Kong. Like in Sicily, a small village, project, “Traveling into Your Bookshelf ”. I just try to learn from [the people there.] I invite people to donate one book from I live in an unknown city and travel with their bookshelf; all these materials are my big suitcase and my artwork and meet from my friends’ bookshelves around the new people. It’s interesting. world, in different languages. This one is in Korean, called “One Day.” I read RAW: How does that get ex- the English version and also watched pressed in your artwork? the movie and tried to understand what memories or story my friend wanted to MC: Every time I meet different peo- share with me. Then I use their material ple from every country—not just the to create my artwork. This is another one people who invite me [into their homes],STUDIO VISIT of the books I read—the inside is gone but strangers I meet in the street or in and has become artwork, but I kept the restaurants—I connect different people’s cover. The way I read is like knitting. I lives together. Now most of them became keep a record and try to invite my friends friends because of my project. I link them to write something [on the book] to share together—and not just via Facebook. You with me. can touch the artwork that’s very close to the person [who provided the book RAW: You said the books are from for it], then meet them and talk to them. friends arou nd the world—do you So my artwork connects people together visit them in their home cou ntries more closely. I started another project—I when you get their books? invited friends to bring one book from their bookshelf and then teach them to 28
  27. 27. knit the book [into an art piece]. It will RAW: Have you ever tried wear-be about 400 people knitting together ing any of your art pieces?to make a big artwork next year. Eachperson will knit one book. MC: [I wore] “The Body Container.” [A long, funnel-like piece that coveredRAW: Do you come from an artis- Chen’s head and came down to her feet.]tic family? I tried to wear it and perform it in differ- ent cities. This one [indicates picture] wasMC: One of [my family members] is in Hong Kong, in Central. I collaborateda performance artist in London, and with Shanghai Tang. I wore it aroundanother is a fashion designer in London. the store. It covered my whole body, andBut my parent are businesspeople. I’ve in- the material used was from Shanghaivited most of my family to knit together Tang’s catalogs. [The performance] wasalso. My sister’s husband, my grandmum. about fashion culture and how to interact with local people in Hong Kong. I alsoRAW: Are there any special tech- performed it in the [Hong Kong] Artniques you use to knit the paper? Fair. It’s very different if you perform in the street. In Hong Kong, people areMC: Actually it’s similar [to regular busy so they will just keep their distance.knitting], but it’s a little bit complicated They don’t come to look at you or ask youto knit the paper layer by layer. It’s like any questions. But in the art fair, peoplemeditation—I knit all the time and al- were very different because they knew itways repeat. Like one row is 186 stitches, was art. So even kids asked their mums,and each line takes about half an hour. “What is she doing? Should we try to help her out? She’s locked in there.” I also wentRAW: How long does it take to fin- to London and Paris and wore the bodyish one piece? container made with different materials, like travel maps.MC: For this one [gestures to piece she’scurrently knitting], it’s going to be on a RAW: What are some of the reac-canvas like a painting, 150 centimeters tions you’ve gotten when perform-by 150 centimeters. It will take about two ing on the street?and a half months; knitting five hours perday, at least. MC: Some people were scared or shocked. In Korea it was different. Two STUDIO VISIT 29
  28. 28. years ago, I performed there with a Ko- 35 to 40 people, but more are coming. rean guy with [the piece connecting the The ages range from five to 90. They’re all two of us from our heads]. Us two had to from different backgrounds and cultures. walk together. We couldn’t walk too fast At least 200 [overall] are students—it’s or too slow. [The piece] was about North part of their education program. Not art Korea and South Korea. We performed students—just secondary school students. in the street and a kid tried to touch and It’s very interesting when [the partici- pull the piece. Some people in the subway pants] don’t know each other. Sometimes pushed me away and I fell down. They we have 10 to 20 people sitting together got very angry. And some people got very and knitting, and when we sit together excited. In Paris people always came to we talk. They talk about their stories and ask many questions. In London it was everyone becomes friends. totally different, also. It’s a mixed culture in London—there are many travelers RAW: Any interesting reactions there. It was also similar to Hong Kong— when others tried to wear or the people were not aware of what I was make a piece? doing there, or they didn’t care. Maybe because there are many street performers MC: They said, “can I buy it?” Some kept in London. it in their house, some were collectors.STUDIO VISIT RAW: Have other people ever RAW: Is there any environ mental- worn your works? ist aspect to your work? MC: In some exhibitions, I invited the MC: For paper, the first impression of audience or visitors to wear and experi- people is that it’s about recycling and ence the material. They can touch, wear, how you help the environment. But my and even make it. I teach people to knit message is not about recycling. People now in my “Knitting Conversations” pro- try to give me their magazines from their ject. Once or twice a month, we meet in home—they want to throw it away—they different locations in Hong Kong or over- bring them and put them outside of my seas and knit together. Now there’s only studio. But I don’t need them—I don’t 30
  29. 29. Photo provided by Movana Chen
  30. 30. need anything you throw away or that’s shelves or recycling from the street—it MC: I studied painting and drawing. not meaningful to you. My artworks was different, I took it to the next step. When I was a kid I was interested in are about your culture, your life, your The material was more important. I painting, also. I just found out about this love, everything—not about something asked my friends to choose one of their [interest] not long ago—just one week you don’t want. Some people hate the favorite books from their bookshelves, so ago. I wrote diaries when I was a kid. I books [they gave me]. Some books have it’s more about communication and how tried to use my diaries for my art project. a special meaning, like “The Never- I share the memories of different people I read them again and read one that was ending Story”, a children’s book. The and connect their lives together. from a long time ago, from the 80s, and person who gave it to me—when she was found out I knew how to draw and paint unwell, she would just sleep on the bed RAW: Do you have any favorite at that time. When I had my first major for a long time. The book was with her artists, artists that inspire you? project, it was knitting. And then, after so she would read it. Some friends give that, I had more projects. People from me books that inspired them. One of the MC: Not really [inspirations], but an art- different countries invited me to have participants in one of my projects—he’s ist I like is Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. exhibitions. They were more interested in 77 or so—the book he wanted to share I really like her work—the way she does this work, so since 2005 it’s been non- was purchased by his friend. And some it is also like meditation. She repeated the stop. Every day, I’m knitting. of them share stories with me that are dots [one of her signature art styles] since secret; only between me and the person. very early [on in her career], and now she keeps doing it. You can see how in love www.movanachen.com RAW: How does your art relate to she is with art and how she shares with fashion? people of different ages. Everyone loves her work; it makes people happy. MC: In the very beginning, it related to fashion because I studied fashion in RAW: Are you interested in any London before. But after I started col- other art forms? lecting materials—not just from book-STUDIO VISIT 32
  31. 31. STUDIO VISIT Photo provided by Movana Chen33
  32. 32. 11:00-13:30 08:00 17:30 18:00 21:0018:00 20:00
  33. 33. 08:00 Location: Hotel Orientale, Palermo, Sicily Having breakfast in the living room and admir- ing the ceiling painting. 11:00 - 13:30 Location: Hotel Orientale, Palermo, Sicily Sitting with the owner of the hotel, a nice fanily, and knitting in the reception area. I share with them my “travelling bookshelf ” project. Next, I’m headed to Cianciana. STUDIO VISIT - DAY IN THE LIFE OF ... 14:30 Location: Palermo, Sicily Getting on the bus, which will take about two and a half hours, to Cianciana—it’s so exciting!14:30 Should be the right bus? The bus driver doesn’t speak English. 17:00 Location: Cianciana, Sicily Wow! I’ve arrived in Cianciana. The bus just stopped along the main street. Here in Cianci- ana, all the old houses stand alone on a hill and appears as if it’s a painting 17:00 Location: Cianciana, Sicily Looking for Elizabeth’s studio on my map and dragging my big suitcase on the pebble path down a hill. 17:30 Location: Studio Sicilia, Cianciana, Sicily 17:00 How nice, this is Elizabeth’s studio where I’m going to stay for my two-week “travelling book- shelf ” project. Oh no! I have to carry this heavy luggage, which weighs 23kg, up a flight of stairs.17:00 18:00 Location: Studio Sicilia, Cianciana, Sicily A very unique simple door with no lock. I got a message from Elizabeth from Beijing—there’s no electricity tonight and the supermarket will be closed at 8pm during the Easter Holidays. Oh no, I have to hurry out to buy candles and food! 18:00 Location: Studio Sicilia, Cianciana, Sicily Bought these sweet biscuits. 20:00 Location: Studio Sicilia, Cianciana, Sicily How is it possible that the first night I arrive in Cianciana, there’s no electricity in the studio and there’s noone to fix it because of the holidays? I’ll have to stay a few nights in the dark. 21:00 Location: Studio Sicilia, Cianciana, Sicily Knitting in the dark. Photo provided by Movana Chen
  34. 34. Sean Lee
  35. 35. e Davies Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies
  36. 36. An intrepid filmmaker, photographer and writer, Sean Lee Davies has ventured to far-flung corners of the globe to document moments that are rarely captured. From the steppes of Mongolia to the technicolour flurry of a traditional festival in India, Sean’s photos are snapshots into worlds that few have the privilege of experiencing first hand. Leaving behind a plush job as the editorial director of Asia Tatler—a role which enabled him to gallivant to Cannes for the annual film festival and interview A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Marc Jacobs—was hard, especially in the throes of the financial crisis in 2008. But, four years on, Sean is producing various television shows for Asian cable networks, and has also shifted his focus to cast a spotlight on social social causes, such as his 2010 docu- mentary Cancer & The City, which profiled the life of a terminal cancer patient in Hong Kong for National Geographic. He is also the founder of C CHANGE—an annual expedition climbing to the peak of Kilimanjaro in order to raise awareness for climate change. We catch up with Sean on the set of a fashion shoot to find out more about this globe-trotter’s continued devotion to the craft of photography and the moving image. Written by Beverly Cheng RAW: You are a photographer and range of subject matter in your Photography by Joyce Yung, Matina Cheung a fil m-maker, what do you like photography, what is your most Selected Images provided by Sean Lee Davies most from each mediu m and how memorable moment? do they differ creatively for you? SD: I get most excited about being in the Sean Davies: What I like about pho- wildernesses and amongst remote popu- tography is that it’s a very personal and lations, far away from city lights; places spontaneous artform. Most of the time that few others will have the chance to it’s just me and my camera. Even on large see in their lifetimes. I’ve had the privi- commercial shoots that involve a big set lege of visiting the steppes of Mongolia to and a crew, the final outcome depends watch Kazaks hunting with their eagles, largely on the relationship I build be- climbing to the peak of Kilimanjaro, or tween myself and the model or sitter. camping on the banks of the Zambezi river all because of photography and I’m Making films, by necessity, is a far more thankful for that. complicated craft and involves a lot more people so there is far greater risk of fail- RAW: What inspires you? ure or deviation from the original plan. As a result, you lose the spontaneity that SD: I’m a museum and gallery junkieSTUDIO VISIT photography confers but in the process and whenever I have the chance I’ll visit you gain the sensory power of sound a museum or gallery to get inspiration, and music. Film for me is life writ large, especially when I’m in London, New York a grand opera of the senses, whereas a or Paris. But the internet has to be the great photograph should fill your mind greatest source of inspiration these days. with music. Whether it’s a quirky story on Facebook, a beautiful photograph on Filckr or a re- RAW: You have worked on a large pin on Pinterest; there is so much amaz- 38
  37. 37. ing content out there now that it’s just a new photographer these days is the inter-question of being able to find some great net and digital photography itself. It’sreferences and create something new. not particularly hard being a photogra- pher because of digital, but it’s becomeRAW: What was the biggest risk increasingly more difficult to make a liv-you’ve ever taken? ing as a photographer when you start out. Digital photography has been an amazingSD: Career wise? I left a pretty cushy job evolution in photography, but the flipas director of editorial and photography side is that it has killed the industry as Photo provided by Sean Lee Daviesof Edipresse Asia, a pan Asian publishing there are just so many photographers andcompany, to form my own production amazing photographs in the marketplacecompany. That was pretty hard given the and people are willing to do things verycircumstances, as it was right after the cheaply just to get a foot in the door.big crash of 2008. RAW: You just came back fromRAW: What are some of the major New York Fashion Week, can youroad blocks while you were start- describe your work and experi-ing out in your creative career? ence there.SD: Hong Kong can be a very commer- SD: NYC fashion week is always a lot ofcially-driven place and pursuing the arts fun and the after parties this year wereis not really considered a career path. For particularly memorable. Just about every-a long time I had to have, in effect, two one and their dog is a street bloggerjobs one as a magazine editor and one as and photographer and it’s a bit of a mediaa staff photographer. The benefit of scrum. You arrive at a show and getthis was that I was exposed to a wide photographed by some bloggers whovariety of photography jobs, from fashion think you might be someone important,to still-life to sports photography. Unfor- while all the bloggers are photographingtunately the biggest roadblock to a each other, and then the press photog- Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies 39
  38. 38. Photo provided by Sean Lee DaviesSTUDIO VISIT Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies 40
  39. 39. Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies STUDIO VISIT Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies41
  40. 40. Photo provided by Sean Lee Davies
  41. 41. Take Five: Fun factsraphers are photographing the bloggers very rewarding experience.photographing the celebs and guests! about Sean LeeI’ve been going for years as an editor, but RAW: I noticed that you are very at ease during a shoot despite Daviesthis year I was there for a few brands, there being a lot of prep work. 1. What’s your favorite cloth-such as J. Crew and photographing all the What are the secrets to getting ing item?shows and behind the scenes for “the” shot for each setting?different publications, such as Modern My camera vest, which I pack up toWeekly. SD: Accepting that what you plan never 10kg of gear so I can get onto a flight turns out the way you planned it. Taking without paying extra weight fees!RAW: Tel l us more about your the time to work out the shot.docu mentary fil m Cancer & The 2. You seem to be a very ac-City? tive person, what are your www.seanleedavies.com other hobbies?SD: I wrote, directed and produced a filmabout young people living with cancer in Music is my other great passion –Hong Kong for Nat Geo [National Geo- piano and guitar.graphic]. It focuses on the touching storyof a young woman struggling to live her 3. What’s your favorite color?life with all the odds stacked up againsther. It was hard to film both emotionally Blue, all the shades of blue.and logistically because everything wasdependent on her health. During the 4. What is your favorite cam-filming, her health deteriorated rapidly era lens?and the production was postponed forfour months. I learnt a great deal about Nikon 105mm f/2.the human spirit from meeting thescancer patients who show tremendous 5. What do you like to shootcourage in the face of adversity—it was a for fu n? STUDIO VISIT Macro insect life! 43
  42. 42. STUDIO VISIT - DAY IN THE LIFE OF ... 01 07 44 06 06 02 03 08 05
  43. 43. STUDIO VISIT - DAY IN THE LIFE OF ... Behind the scenes with Sean Lee Davies at a men’s magazine fashion photo shoot in Sheu ng Wan. 04 0104 Sean is pretty happy with the shot. This isn’t a staged shot, he really is this happy and jovial on set. 02 Sean becomes the model on a motor- cycle. 03 Setting up for the second shot on the motorcycle. Sean’s providing direction for the model. 04 Double checking the shots with the producer and stylist. 05 Another change in setting, Sean is working out the angles with producer09 Mike Davies. 06 Just a few touch-ups before the models are photo ready. 07 Getting click-happy, Sean tests out various shots before getting the perfect frame. 08 The balancing act: Sean coaches the model through an action shot balanc- ing on top of a motorcycle. 09 Reviewing the final selected photos before the group changes to another setting. 45
  44. 44. STUDIO VISIT - DAY IN THE LIFE OF ... The Universe is My Mind 宇宙是吾心 RAW: What motivates you to continue in the field? Angelika Li: Passion. It is my core motivation. RAW: What is your definition of art? Gallerist Angelika Li shares how passion has motivated her to pursue a career in art—an inter- AL: Art can be both enlightening and deceptive, it depends on est passed down from her parents. Her interest in which side you are looking at it from. art grew during her teenage years and would later lead her to a bachelor’s in art history and architec- RAW: If you had to pick a favourite era, movement in ture in the UK and a master’s in cultural manage- art or specific artist what wou ld it be? ment from Hong Kong. While she has worked both in the UK and in the U.S., Angelika returned AL: There are so many, I can’t pick just one. There are so many to Hong Kong where she’s now the manager of works of art that have increased my hunger for knowledge in Hanart TZ Gallery—one of Hong Kong’s most art, they include the spiritual paintings at Lascaux dated back celebrated art galleries that focus on Chinese art. around 16,000-14,000 B.C.; the “Jockey of Artemision”, a Hel- lenistic bronze equestrian monument at National Archaeologi- cal Museum, Athens dated to c.140 BC - 200 B.C., that captured the excitement and vitality of a horserace and the rider’s passion on his face is more than lifelike; from Italy I was so intrigued by the humour of Giulio Romano who broke the classical rules in architecture, for instance in the Palazzo del Te he built in the 16th Century in Mantova; Hong Kong artist Irene Chou’s bold Written by Beverly Cheng and powerful structural strokes in Impact series in 1980s to her Images from Angelika Li “The Universe Is My Mind” series got me into a trance...I should stop here otherwise it will develop into an endless list! RAW: What was the first piece of art you’ve ever purchased (or have an eye on, if you haven’t pur- chased anything yet)? Why did you make the pur- chase? AL: It’s Wan Qingli’s “The Frog in the Shallow Well” [pictured]. Not only do I admire’s Dr. Wan’s calligraphy and Ink painting, what I love the most is his humour.
  45. 45. RAW: What’s your advice for col lectors?AL: I think it’s an enjoyable process to do homework and dis-cuss with other collectors and gallerists about the artists and theworks on your mind. Buying art is like a treasure hunt. By plac-ing bets on young potential artists’ work, it’s like training andtesting your level taste and [artistic] eye and knowledge.RAW: How do you predict what’s coming up next?What are the latest trends in art col lecting?AL: I look into the depth of meaning of an artist’s work andconsider how his or her work would influence and contribute tothe future development in the history of art. I have developed aparticular interest in Chinese contemporary ink art. It’s interest-ing to see how the medium of ink within the context of inter-national contemporary art, contemporary Chinese art, and thetradition of Chinese ink painting itself evolve.RAW: Is Chinese Contemporary art dead? What’s left?AL: There is a vast number of artists from Hong Kong who de-serve more academic discussion and recognition on an interna-tional level, especially the Hong Kong masters whose work areway too undervalued given their contribution to and status inthe local and international art scenes.RAW: What is the most important part of your job?AL: To make more people involved and engaged in art. ART SA The Universe is My Mind VVY 宇宙是吾心 Wan Qingli, “The Frog in the Shallow Well” 47
  46. 46. Davina Stephens Bali is often thought to be a paradise destination—a place where Written by Beverly Cheng the soft sway of palm trees, sun-drenched beaches and a rich, Images from Davina Stephens vibrant culture have inspired the curiosity of travelers from all corners of the world. From batik prints to teak woodcut sculp- tures, Balinese arts and crafts have long been popular beyond the reaches of this small tropical island. Artist Davina Stephens has devoted the past 30 years to capturing what truly makes her homeland unique. Although she left Bali as a teenager for India and Australia, she always knew that she would return. Davina often reflects back on a time before the tourist buses clogged the streets and mega resorts invaded the coastline; a time a time when, as a young girl, she would bike down the dirt roads she would bike down the dirt roads and dodge falling coconutsBINOCULARS with her Balinese classmates. In her art, she juxtaposes iconic Balinese symbols of sea, sand and surf and mythical underwater creatures with images of Hindu gods, temples and mundane modern items. Davina’s style has transformed over the years, too, from surrealist and dreamy compositions awash with soft pastels, to monochromatic erotic nudes, stark woodcuts and multi-layered mixed media canvases. Her work has been exhibited in Bali, across Asia and has reached as far as France and Australia. With each exhibition abroad, Davina transmits her vision of Bali—a land of mythical beauty and where she is proud to call her home. www.davinastephens.com 48
  47. 47. A heroes Paradise BINOCULARS Archipelago49
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  49. 49. Upacara Pekelem51
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