Gallery HZ Director Fiona Ho and artist (plus music critic) Night Fung open up about their working relationship in our new #StudiotoWall interview below.
Thursday 17 June, 2021
Having been working hard at democratising the art market since the first Affordable Art Fair back in 1999; we’re super proud of the role we’ve played in making art accessible to all while supporting the livelihoods of our family of galleries and artists. For our #StudiotoWall series we’ve interviewed gallerists and artists to explore their interwoven relationships.
For this interview we spoke to Director Fiona Ho from Gallery HZ in Hong Kong along with artist Night Fung. It’s not often that a professional relationship morphs into something akin to friendship, but this is exactly what has happened with Fiona Ho and Night Fung, with their conversations ranging way beyond the art that brought them together. Read on to uncover how they built their relationship on mutual trust, shared interests and more.
FIONA HO, GALLERY DIRECTOR, GALLERY HZ, HONG KONG
Your roster of artists is extremely multi-disciplinary and appealing to a wide variety of art lovers and collectors alike, how have you been able to represent each of their unique qualities and what do you do to inspire them?
I believe one of the most important roles of an art gallery is to support its artists by helping them realise their creative visions, regardless of discipline. This is achieved by getting to know the artists as individuals before delving into their practice. Learning about their general beliefs and values can inform us gallerists a lot about their preference in artistic and business representation, which helps us cater unique opportunities that can properly convey their creative visions, whether it manifests in the form of new bodies of work, public installations etc. As a relatively young gallery that represents a range of emerging artists, we enjoy a fair amount of freedom when it comes to our programming. We like to advise and encourage our artists to experiment with fresh ideas, whether it be through our exhibitions programme or offsite projects.
How closely do you work with Night throughout the creation process and have you found your relationship has gotten stronger from being more involved?
Night has always been a very independent artist who has a clear vision for what he wants to achieve with his artistic practice, which makes things very easy for me as his gallerist because I wholeheartedly trust his work process and share his artistic vision.
Night has a really extensive music background (he’s a well-known music critic in Hong Kong), every time we meet, I would ask what he is listening nowadays. Last time I got to look at his music playlist when he paints. Then I start to see dancing colours (from his paintings) in my head when I listen to those songs. Absolutely amazing. Our relationship has gotten stronger not from being involved in his creative process but through conversations about everything that inspires us in life… music, film, food, and quite importantly, some Buddhist thoughts that Night humbly shares his wisdom and knowledge with me.
Has working with the Affordable Art Fair allowed you to experiment with different curations and presentations? Can you describe how you choose which artists and artworks to bring to a fair?
My experience working with Affordable Art Fair has shown me that attendees are generally of a younger demographic, and share a more adventurous palette for art. This encourages me to experiment with alternative modes of presentation, and possibly test out more experimental concepts by younger, emerging artists. I don’t usually adhere to artistic trends when it comes to the gallery’s exhibitions programming, I’d say the same goes for art fairs. Although the main agenda of an art fair is to sell, I also view it as an opportunity to increase exposure and create a market demand for artists that I believe in and want to promote. Given the creative freedom provided by Affordable Art Fair, I think it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce emerging artists to a wider audience and create a market following between different industries.
NIGHT FUNG, ARTIST
Hi Night, can you tell us what drew you to working with Gallery HZ, and how your relationship has developed since being represented?
I met Gallery HZ through a common artist friend and I found the Gallery HZ team is young, energetic and adventurous; I enjoy every minute working with them. After the first casual meeting, I feel like I have known them for years. I like that ‘friend-like’ working relationship a lot. I don’t know much about the art scene so Gallery HZ helps me a lot on handling my works and I’ve learned a lot from them.
Does having a relationship with a gallery inspire your art making? Have any conversations led to the creation of a new series or other experimentation?
We inspire each other through chatting about life, music, movies, food etc., we’re not only limited to talking about art. These communications are often very fruitful, rewarding, and enjoyable too. Gallery HZ won’t tell me what to do and how to create my artworks but through our conversations I come up with some new ideas, like experimenting with paints on two sides of the paper.
We love that you aim to make the colour dance and the ink flow in your artwork. What emotional reaction would you love your viewers to have when looking at your work?
Making the colour dance and the ink flow is joyful for me and I hope those who see my work can share this same joy. If the viewers could look at the world through new moods and with new eyes and find new joy, that would be great. Quite a few viewers say they get a feeling of 禪/Chan/Zen when seeing my works and that to me is a compliment. I do agree that my works have some taste of Zen in them, although when I paint, I don’t say to myself ‘now, I will do this one to be very 禪意/Chanful/Zenful!’ , because if I say this, then it’s not Zen any more.
Can you tell us about the space where you make your art?
I don’t have a studio; I do my paintings at home. My home is small and crowded, a typical Hong Konger’s home. I have to clear up spaces every time before I start painting and clean up the mess afterwards. But I’m okay with this and even find the extra work rewarding. The work serves as some kind of ritual or meditation before and after the actual painting process, it does my paintings good.
I think sharing the story of ‘Studio to Wall’ is good. I always love to see artists’ studios, I love to see where they paint and how they paint. I believe most people are the same. I used to admire and envy artists who have huge studios, but now I’ve learned to be content and I’m happy with what I have now. As long as I can keep on with my painting, I don’t have more to ask for.
Many thanks to Fiona Ho and Night Fung for taking the time to give us insight into how they work together as gallerist and artist, as well as the role of fairs and the creation process. To browse all of Night Fung’s works or to watch our #StudiotoWall animation and read the interviews follow the buttons below. Or, discover all art from Gallery HZ here.