Recently, editor Kirin Heng travelled to Hong Kong and visited Bellini Yu of i-dArt at Tung Wah Group Hospital, where the latter coordinates an arts education programme under i-dArt for people with different abilities. As Bellini very generously gave more than three hours of her time being interviewed and showing the location and artworks of the programme, this interview extract is comprised of four parts in order to provide a clear overview of her work at i-dArt. This is the first in three interview extracts about the artistic evolution of three of her students, YUNG Cheuk-kwok, CHENG Ka-yan, and LEUNG Iat-hong from the cohort of 2013 respectively. THIS CONVERSATION IS PART OF THE ARTIST-WRITER PAIR SERIESREAD MORE in the upcoming Energy Issue.

On artist Yung Cheuk-kwok’s personal and extended dedication to a theme

B [about artist Yung Cheuk-kwok]: This was one of his quite early themes, Ocean, and now his ocean is like this. You can see the progress. In the first, it’s because his teacher one day [used] a theme about fish and [from there] he developed a theme of ocean, [the development] was just very natural. But afterwards, three years later, his ocean became this. You can see more detail. He can do two to three oceans for every day, or every time he comes. But each one he just very carefully studies the line and how to construct the composition and the face, expression of each fish.

An early work of the ocean theme by Yung Cheuk-kwok

A later work on the ocean theme by Yung Cheuk-kwok

K: Was he inspired by those [traditional] Japanese designs of fish?

B: I don’t think so. He isn’t the type to look around [at] other references. He doesn’t need any references. But he got very [adamant] and insists [on which] size of paper he needs, [and] now he only needs this size of paper. And the pens, now the pens are actually just blue pens, but he [strongly] insists [on] what colour and what kind of pen he uses. Compared to the very beginning work you can see the progress.

Chicken is another similar theme.

But afterwards in the graduation year (third year) he suddenly came up with a new theme, ‘Daddy’. We really think ‘Daddy’ is his own personal theme, as we never talk about this in our course, and we are very happy that he can have something personal come out through art. You can see every ‘Daddy’ on different paper is very different. Like the eyes: there are very different eye shapes and decorations on each of the works. Also there is development, [as] he is developing Daddy in different fashions and conditions, like [placing] some in [the setting of a] train. And also the colour, the eye, the combination of colour, the combination of two Daddies, and here are two Mummies. He is also studying the different details: here, the earrings are different. So for him, maybe, people will just casually say his work is very childish. But if you study it in detail, you will say no kid can draw such a detailed and fine work.

By Yung Cheuk-kwok

I am surprised he [became] suddenly so fine in every detail.

K: Is he still doing… does he still have [new] themes?

B: Yes, but he’s still into drawing Daddies. Sometimes he goes into oceans, but never chickens. We don’t know why he got such a change in theme. But suddenly one day he came up with this. He’s been working on it for one year already. But if we compare the latest Daddy to the first one he drew, there is a vast difference.

So this is one artist I would like to highlight.