Hong Kong Hardware Street 香港五金街
50cms (W) x 40cms (H)
Oil on Panel
Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world, and one of the places I'd love to live one day. I'd describe it as an intriguing mix of British and Chinese cultures, where the biggest influence is Cantonese. When I came here from Britain before I lived in China, it felt like it was a Chinese city. Later, when i'd lived in China it felt like a British city, and then when I went back for a third time I could tell the Cantonese aspects.
If you didn't know, in China the most common characters are simplified Chinese, whereas in HK, they still use traditional chinese characters. People also typically speak English (due to the until-recent British occupation). I tried to capture this in the signage. The whole city is extremely densely populated, with businesses on multiple floors of every building screaming out for attention. You also often can't tell you're in the middle of multiple high-rise buildings because the neon signs obstruct your view of almost everything above eye level; so the only place you can see sky in this is in the back window of the taxis in the middle background. It's slightly grimy and messy, but it's one of the most expensive places to live in the world and one of the commercial centres of the east.
I love it; and it's the kind of place you can pretend you're in the middle of some of the scenes in Blade Runner, Gremlins or Fifth Element. That's what I was trying to capture here. For those who can't read Chinese much, the white sign in the middle with 2 blue characters is my name in simplified Chinese.