|Kitty with some of her works.|
Kitty N. Wong is an artist and illustrator based in Hong Kong. Town Hall Gallery is pleased to present around 16 works of Kitty's as part of the Fixation exhibition that runs until 13 April, 2014.
We spoke to Kitty about her work, illustration and her love/hate relationship with gouache!
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I am from Hong Kong, I was born in this bustling city of 7 million people and moved to Canada with my family when I was 8 years old. I am an artist and fashion illustrator.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?
My work is often based on pop culture and fashion imagery and my own experiences. I usually work with gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?
In university we were forced to use gouache and I always resented that. I was always looking for ways around what our professors said we needed to do. But now I always paint in gouache there’s an immediacy about it along with pencil, I love the flat areas of colour and its almost powdery look. When I paint faces with gouache the texture reminds me of freshly foundation-ed skin.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?
The chance to participate in Fixation! I’m also really proud of my “body of work” so to speak, over the past year and a half I’ve built up a portfolio I’m happy to show others. Two years ago I didn't have any of that. I used to work full time as a fashion designer and neglected my own practice and at the end of the day I had nothing I was truly proud of to show for it. So I really treasure this ability to make art, to communicate with others what inspires me.
IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Some of my art heroes are Grayson Perry and David Hockney, their creative vision and desire to create are just too big to be contained to only one medium. I would also love to get a chance to draw alongside illustrators Damien Florebert Cuypers and Richard Haines, both of their streetstyle sketches has such virtuosic energy and I would really like to absorb some of that through osmosis. I’ve also been thinking about performance and installation art (mostly just in my sketchbook for now) but it would be a dream to collaborate with gutsy artists who use themselves and their experiences in their own work like Tracey Emin or Marina Abramović.
WHAT'S YOUR WORK PRACTICE LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A STUDIO/HOME? WHAT GETS YOU IN THE MOOD TO CREATE?
I work in my home which has a space set aside as my studio. Creating a routine is the number one thing that gets me in the mood, if I painted yesterday and the day before I’ll also paint today. Another thing is just getting out more to get inspiration, to the galleries here in Hong Kong, to the library or just taking a walk in my neighbourhood--any external stimulation.
IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?
I used to always listen to podcasts while I worked but I started noticing that my work was definitely worse when I was working with those in the background, I would just focus too much on the interesting stories being told. But if I’m feeling lonely and a bit indulgent I’ll still listen to Radiolab, This American Life or Slate’s Culture Gabfest.
But mostly I just listen to music, this month’s rotation: The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lorde and Elvis.
WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORKS
I hope after seeing my work people will reexamine their own relationship with clothing and how the media depicts women. About beauty and gender as a performance.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?
In 10 years I want to have tried living in a couple of my dream cities, London, New York and one other unexpected place. I want to have made enough good work to publish a book.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always had this desire to relive memories, I want to fulfil that wish by having other people experience how I felt in some of the most special moments in my life using installations and performance art. Another wish is to create some sort of giant mural or billboard using my illustrations.