Artists Dialogue: Let the Practice Change, an Interview with Ho Sin Tung

by Erika Wong
November 17, 2014
Erika Wong

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Ho Sin Tung is a local artist who began her path early.

“I didn’t choose it, it chose me,” says Ho of her path to becoming an artist.”I started drawing classes in a studio when I was three in Tai Po, located on the first floor of the building I was living in at the time. I had no idea the people running the studio were famous artists.” This studio was run by Gaylord Chan, a self taught artist whose work is highly figurative. Chan was awarded the MBE in 1986 and won the Artist of the Year Award, Hong Kong in 1990. “I attended this studio until I started primary school, at which point, my family moved, but I went back again when I was 14 or 15 years old.” It was at this point, when she had returned to continue her studies at the studio, that she was suggested to study art. “It felt natural and straightforward for me to go to art school,” she says. As a student at Chinese University, she learned painting and slowly transitioned to drawings. When asked about her choice of medium, Ho explains, “In Chinese, the word for drawing and painting is the same – 畫 (wa) – so I didn’t think about it. I let the material and practice change with time.When I started to do my map series, it felt natural to use ink and pencil. At that time, I was also doing a lot of narrative writing by pencil, and the movements of drawing with pencil felt like writing, and I felt like I was merging the two things together. As the studios in Hong Kong are very small, I seldom make drawings and paintings that are larger than what can be contained within the studios, and using pencils allowed me to keep things comforting and intimate. My work is about telling stories, and they tend to be intimate stories of others or myself.” For Ho, the intimacy required when using ink and pencil was a reflection of the content and context of her work.Ho Sin Tung had her first solo exhibition in 2010 titled, Don’t Shoot the Messenger, at Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong. She followed in 2011 with You are Running a Business Called None of my Business, exhibited by Hanart TZ Gallery for the Abu Dhabi Art Fair and Folie à Deux at Experimenta, Hong Kong. In 2012, she presented Hong Kong Inter-vivos Film Festival, also at the Hanart TZ Gallery, followed by The Void of Course Monday, at Para Site for Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013. This year, Before the Nuclear Apocalypse – So Far, So Good, was exhibited at ACO/Kubrick apm, Hong Kong. Her work can also be seen in the collections of the Hazart TZ Gallery and at the M+ Museum.

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