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Interview: We Talk To Lisa Huang

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

We talked to Lisa Huang about her watercolours, Hong Kong and the challenges of plein air painting.


Photograph: Courtesy of Lisa Huang.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your art?


This year will be my 6th year living in Hong Kong, 8th year in watercolor painting and 25th year in the interior design profession. Any scene that presents chaos, challenges and multi perspectives captivates me. Art is my way of expressing my thoughts, emotions, imagination and observations. So much so that each piece of work channels an exhaustive volume of energy from me. In return, it has also rewarded me with immense joy and fulfilment.



"Bird Garden" by Lisa Huang.


Why did you choose watercolours as your medium?


It is funny, I never liked it before. My medium had always been oil, the rich, grimy, stable cousin of watercolor, the airy, ethereal, unpredictable one. It changed after I started sketching fervently with a fountain pen everywhere I travelled, inspired by many talented on-location artists who became good friends. They shared their arsenal of tools, including watercolours and after two years I was unconvinced. That was until a late artist Chan Chang How took a brush and painted a blue sky left void on my black linework saying they deserved to be painted. I delved on, starting with 2 colors, adding on my array of colours slowly and realized I can create watercolor to still be strong and impactful in a most representative way of myself, yet calm and stilling when my mind calls for it. Of course, I love it most for its portability outdoors too.


"Man Wan Yong" by Lisa Huang.


You mainly paint on-site (plein-air). What are the challenges with that?


Swiped at with a broom, scolded at, policeman garnering, prying crowds, bad eyes, foul smells, rain, sun, dust. A friend likened it to performance art and questioned if I enjoy being in the limelight. I don’t, I have long mastered the ability to mute out all unwanted, leaving only my mind and self, enjoying my tea next to a dusty road if I want to. Technically, the most challenging is being presented with ever changing scenes of sunlight and its resulting variances in color. That itself is enough problem solving.


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Do you have a favourite time of day to paint?


9-11am or 3-6pm.


Photograph: Courtesy of Lisa Huang.


Hong Kong is a big factor in your work. What inspires you most about it?


Its schizophrenic mix of grim and glamour. Its density and its old world charm glowing from the authentic hawkers, stalls, streets, villages and everyday lives. The contrast of the toothpick-like houses and skyscrapers, the suited and the yoga-pants. As a foreigner the most intriguing thing is the way of live and viewing Hong Kong as a bystander. Hong Kong is itself art yet ironically art is so far away from it.


"Sai Kung" by Lisa Huang. View in shop.


Do you have advice for young artists?


I believe in the 10,000 hours rule, especially since there is so little time everyday we

can only focus on the best battle we pick. Till completing this, we have no reason to

complain.



Read more about Lisa Huang and view her work over on her profile page.

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The Hong Kong Arts Collective

The Hong Kong Arts collective (HKARTS) was established in 2019 by local artists for local artists. It was created as an online artists village to support and promote artists living and working in Hong Kong. We offer exhibition opportunities, fine art printing, art consultations and our online shop supports both our artists and the wider community as a whole.

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