In their 9th edition, Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong returns with 65 galleries and showcases more than 400 artists from around the world. As one of the fair’s main features, Young Talent Hong Kong presents local artists and provides a platform for them to shine.
This year’s theme is Welcome to the Zoo and is curated by award-winning Taiwanese-American artist, Jonathan Jay Lee – whose clients included companies such as Marvel Comics, Disney Plus and Mercedes. During this year, the artist community NextGen presents 38 artworks by 25 artists and visitors can see a wide range of vibrant artworks.
The Value talked to Lee to know more about his role and the artists involved in the special feature.
Visitors checking out this year's special feature, Young Talent Hong Kong x Next Gen
Before introducing them, why were the artists chosen in particular?
“Many of them were former students of mine. Because I worked with them before, there is a trust in knowing the quality of work that they will give us, as well as knowing how to get the best of them,” said Lee. He added that, other artists – some of whom work at Disney – wanted to be part of it too. After looking at their review, Lee brought them on board.
Collectively, a passion for Hong Kong merged the artist-curator with new, emerging talents from the city. Together, they depict a common narrative through distinctive perspectives of the city they live in – transcending their sentiment towards it like a love letter to the Fragrant Harbour. Lee explained that the oeuvres have a gradual transition from pink to purple across the wall, and each artist was assigned a colour to work with.
Here are five artists that he introduced:
Steven Ho's Mr. Speedee Ice Cream Truck illustrates characters queuing for Hong Kong's nolstagic classic
Ho's Sun Wu Kong depicts the legendary Monkey King
With a quirky approach to all his work, Ho’s oeuvres are a satire on popular culture of many things the audience might know. He takes references from different movies, anime, and cartoons during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. The Hong Kong elements echoes to our audience and will even bring visitors a smile.
Kristy Hon's Night Time of the Cat City
Hon's Zoociety shows a dreamy world, filled with different animals – such as elephants, turtles and ants
While Ho’s work takes on popular culture, Hon’s work is entirely the opposite. It is playful and fun, where they feed into the inner child in all of us it is an optimistic perspective of the zoo we live in. Also, her personality is excitable and imbues with a sense of positive thinking, so the world she sees is what she draws.
Roquel working on The Lost Children
Roquel's The Lost Children takes inspiration from fantasy stories
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Roquel has been fascinated by fantasy stories since childhood – with characters such as fairies, pixies and goblins. Growing into adolescence, her interest for the fantastical realm extended to the stories of the Brothers Grimm, where the grittiness of human nature is conveyed under the disguise of pure and familiar characters. Since then, various themes that play with the human psyche and emotion appeared throughout her work, oftentimes illustrated in a wanderlust-like and nostalgic manner.
Julia Marinelli's Our Own Personal Zoo
Lee explained that Marinelli has a beautiful line of work and vivid colour choices. With colour, her flat compositions suddenly create an environment with depth of space, and the textures ground it all together. Her work is almost like compiling a bunch of spontaneous thoughts from deep within and trying to make sense of it altogether.
Bachiller's Are the Lo Mein Noodles Spicy?
Based in Hong Kong, Bachiller is a Filipina illustrator and enjoys creating artwork with fun and playful imagery. She also loves to use loud and vibrant colours, and her work is depicted with her signature use of pink. In her oeuvre, Are the Lo Mein Noodles Spicy?, a young figure is shown eating the Chinese delicacy and holding onto a siu mai with chopsticks – a dumpling typically filled with shrimp, pork and vegetables.
As part of the Next Gen feature, visitors can also take part in a freestyle mural
Sophia Hotung posing with a heart gesture next to The Hong Konger Wall
Her mural is made up of 216 drawings – each figure is depicted with the same gesture
Lee's City Pop installation – comprising of five Hong Kong scenes – welcomes visitors at the entrance
Alongside this special feature, fair director, Regina Zhang said visitors can also check out highlight programmes such as Special Project. She stated that four artists were also invited to create Special Project large-scale installations for the fair, which are inspired by the people and everyday life in Hong Kong.
Jonathan Jay Lee presents his lightbox installation named City Pop, which shows his five interpretations of Hong Kong moments. Amber Ng has an interactive installation named Playground, which uses motion-capture technology to capture the ephemeral acts of play.
Illustration artist Sophia Hotung crowdsourced 260 images of Hong Kong people with a heart gesture in her mural artwork, The Hong Konger Wall. Yihong Hsu presents her digital art installation named Decisions, which was inspired by the connection between life and nature – this is also be her first NFT art.
Lee's Fishball Noodles is part of the artist's City Pop installation
Lee's Mary Jane & Buddy
Further to these local artists, features called Crossing Borders and Remote Participation enable galleries from countries – such as Australia, Singapore, Peru and the UK – to bring fresh international artists and artworks to the audience.
For example, Marine House at Beer showcases Michael Sole and his contemporary landscapes and seascapes. Describing his art as involuntaryism, the British artist immerses himself in the spirit and feel of a place – staying on the site for days. Back at the studio, he expresses this experience on canvas, producing a strong visceral impact on the viewer.
Yihong Hsu's Decisions ponders life and nature – which appear in physical and digital forms
Zhang posing next to Michael Sole's Alps No 25 (right)
Affordable Art Fair
Venue: Hall 3C, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai
Dates: 4-7 August 2022
- HK$ 120 – Seniors and students
- HK$ 160 – Adults
- HK$ 300 – Fair Pass. Can enter from 4-7 August at any allocated time