Hong Kong is a spot brimming with gifted and intriguing folks. Every week in 27 Questions, we stand up shut and private with the town’s notable personalities, studying about their whims, aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and desires — all in roughly the identical period it takes to sit down by way of a two-minute velocity date.
Achilles’ heels of essentially the most ironic type — assume Beethoven, who couldn’t hear; chef-extraordinaire Grant Achatz, who (briefly!) couldn’t style — inform tales of merciless little twists of destiny that, in some way, really feel poetic. Prophetic, even. It tells a lifetime of ardour, lived despite obstacles; despite actual, tangible causes to stroll away. Ernest Chang — a working visible artist with deuteranopia; or, red-green colour-blindness — is dealt one such hand of playing cards.
Similar to his nationality (i.e., Chinese language-American); birthplace (i.e., Tampa, Florida); temporary stints in Ringling Faculty of Artwork and Design and Savannah Faculty of Artwork and Design; and demographic cohort (i.e., Millennial), Chang’s deuteranopia presents yet one more lens from which he sees the world. Actually. Blanketed layers of dots which will seem brown and purple to the remainder of us will bleed right into a pool of orange for Chang. This, in flip, informs the way in which Chang approaches his work. His strategies; his colors; his very mind-set, processing and making. Even his now-renowned Pop Artwork-style aesthetic — with its thick, graphic traces — is a aware selection; one made as a workaround to this singular way-of-seeing.
Past his occupation as a working artist, Chang can be the founding father of The Stallery: a portmanteau of ‘studio’ and ‘gallery’. You recognize the one; that sunshine-yellow brick-front gallery atelier seated on the tail-end of Stone Nullah Lane, doorsteps away from Wanchai’s historic Blue Home. Chang’s digicam lens — his selection of medium from a previous life as a photographer — have additionally touched upon this historic landmark, preserving and commemorating the Blue Home because it stood — decrepit tatters and all — previous to its reconstruction in 2016. This collection of pictures, titled the ‘Blue Home Litter Venture’ in collaboration with St James Settlement, grew to become award-winning in 2017.
It’s exactly this sense of group; this sense of Chang as not aside from however a component of stated group, that connects the artist, The Stallery and his work inside this little nook of Wanchai.
‘Bling Dynasty’, Chang’s newest exhibition, weaves collectively the very aspects that make up his personhood. On present are a number of Western, predominantly American, cartoon characters, rendered anew in pastiches that imitate iconic Chinese language portraiture. Rick and Morty’s Rick seated within the fashion of ‘KangXi Emperor’ (1699) in ‘Age of Abundance’ (2020). South Park’s Eric Cartman, modelled after ‘Khublai Khan’ (1294) in ‘Don’t Say Something Imply’ (2020). This presence of conventional Chinese language craftsmanship and artisanship will be appreciated, too, by way of the exhibitions’ plethora of mediums, from delicate paper-cut designs to sheaths of superbly embroidered items — crafted in collaboration with grasp embroiderers.
Vestiges of a bygone childhood, now tainted with overtures of consumerism and branded garb and hypebeast modalities — see: Kermit trying notably happy in VETEMENTS and Concern of God in ‘A Favor For A Favor’ (2020) — flip an outwardly joyful, tongue-in-cheek collection into one which deserves moments of reflection. ‘Bling Dynasty’, then, reads like a cautionary story. The cartoon-watching age cohort of right now is likely swiping by way of TikTok as an alternative; watching propelled-into-stardom teenagers cohabit in mega-mansions clad within the newest hyped-up Gucci x no matter assortment. And that’s the benchmark of aspiration.
Getting into The Stallery’s now-gold foiled interiors — blinged up for ‘Bling Dynasty’, in fact; we shot the breeze with the artist by way of our signature rapid-fire interview, meandering by way of every part from his previous drug habit to his childhood rising up with Disney World a stone’s throw away.
Title: Ernest Chang
Occupation: Artist and founding father of The Stallery
1. What’s your life motto?
My life motto is: ‘Only for right now.’ I simply dwell for right now and take into consideration tomorrow, tomorrow. Hopefully. That is an precise motto from Alcoholics Nameless; it’s one thing you must say on a regular basis.
2. What’s the greatest meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?
Teppanyaki at Nadaman.
3. What’s your drink of selection?
Does it must be alcoholic? A gin and soda.
4. What’s the neatest thing in or about your house?
I’ve 1,000,000 crops. I’ve a very extensive window and I fill it with crops.
5. Are you a morning particular person or an evening owl?
Night time owl.
6. Which telephone app do you assume extra folks ought to learn about?
Hmm. Grindr? No, I’m kidding. Yummly! It’s a recipe app for after I keep at house and prepare dinner. I simply kind in all my substances they usually provide the recipe.
7. If you happen to may solely eat one factor for the remainder of your life, what would it not be?
Katsu curry rice.
8. What’s your largest remorse in life?
Um, my largest remorse in life. Wow. That’s robust. No regrets.
9. What’s the prime vacation spot in your bucket listing?
Galápagos Islands! It’s the place the place Darwin found evolution, you realize? In addition they have these iguanas that swim. They’ve advanced from iguanas that climb on timber to iguanas that swim and lick salt off rocks for survival. Isn’t that insane?
10. What’s your best worry?
Not being liked. That my artwork sucks. I don’t know!
11. What’s one film everybody ought to see?
Bridesmaids (2011)! Greatest film. They’re going to have a brand new one, too! It’s not Bridesmaids 2; it’s a brand new movie from the individuals who wrote it. It’s a humorous film with Jamie Dornan in it and it’s popping out throughout Chinese language New 12 months. It’s known as Barb and one thing goes to Las Vegas — or one thing. [Editor’s note: It’s called ‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’; trailer linked below]
12. Which second in your life would you most prefer to relive?
I assume I wouldn’t thoughts the opening of my gallery. It was very thrilling. We invited all our associates and all our household. The gallery was empty again then so we may match a complete lot of individuals.
13. If you happen to may dwell wherever else on this planet, the place would it not be?
I want to say New York. My grandpa lived in New York for, eternally, so we used to go there.
14. If you happen to may invite any 5 folks on this planet to your dream feast, who would they be?
Andy Warhol, positively. Perhaps Jack Kerouac? Frida Kahlo. Takashi Murakami and Yayoi Kusama.
15. What’s one track you realize all of the lyrics to?
‘The Man’ by Taylor Swift. Haha. I do know all of the phrases to it.
16. What’s your favorite childhood reminiscence?
Disney World. I used to be born in Florida and after I was a child, we had these annual passes and we’d go, actually, each month. There was this water park known as Blizzard Seaside Water Park they usually had this actually, actually tall slide. You’d get the largest wedgie of your life while you slid down, but it surely was so enjoyable.
17. What’s your favorite scent in the entire world?
18. Who’s one of the best trainer you’ve ever had, what’s one vital lesson that they taught you?
It was my French trainer and he or she taught me this idiom: “Empty vessels take advantage of noise.” I’ve all the time remembered that.
19. What’s your distinctive get together trick?
I’ve no get together methods. I’ve zero recreation. However I’ve tattoos!
20. Do you might have any favorite tattoos or particular birthmarks? What’s it?
My favorite tattoo is my Albrecht Dürer. He was a 1600’s German Renaissance artist and he made this primary piece of artwork that finally contained the sensation of melancholia. I had that tattooed after I was 16 after I was going by way of a variety of despair and it helped me put a concentrate on that — and transfer on.
21. Would you reasonably by no means be alone for a single second, or be alone for the remainder of your life? Why?
By no means alone. As a result of I actually benefit from the firm of different folks they usually encourage me. So, with out them, I wouldn’t have the ability to make something.
22. What would you do should you gained the lottery?
I’d do nothing. If I gained the lottery, I’d reward half to charity and reward the opposite half to my mum. I really like her.
23. When did you’re feeling that you just ‘made it’?
Wow. I don’t assume that. I by no means really feel like I’ve made it. I feel I nonetheless all the time have room to enhance on my artwork. That’s what makes good artwork, I feel.
24. If you happen to may do it yet again, what’s one factor you’ll do otherwise?
I assume I’d’ve not been so experimental with addictive medication. I’d attempt to keep centered on issues I wished to do as an alternative of continually getting side-tracked by drug habit.
25. Begin your life once more at age 15 with all of the information you might have now, or quick ahead 10 years?
Undoubtedly begin my life once more at 15. For positive.
26. What’s the scariest factor you’ve ever achieved, and why?
Beginning my very own enterprise. It’s as a result of I by no means knew precisely how laborious it’s to start out a enterprise and have it succeed and proceed succeeding, 12 months after 12 months.
27. A genie offers you three needs — what are they?
One, remedy local weather change. Two, remedy world starvation. Three, cease folks from killing one another on a regular basis.
‘Bling Dynasty’ runs from 20 February to 4 April at The Stallery.
The Stallery WCH, G/F, 82A Stone Nullah Lane, Wanchai, Hong Kong, +852 2771 3800
(All photographs courtesy of Ernest Chang and The Stallery)