Apr 24, 2015
There are a bunch of really old Buddhist Temples in Hong Kong. The most famous being, the Man Mo Temple. I hung out for about 2 hours drawing this. It was difficult because there is so much sandalwood incense burning that it is nearly impossible to breath. Most people enter for about 10 minutes to pray. I'm talking about thousands of incense sticks burning, some of them quite huge. At points, it is hard to just see 2 feet in front of you. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It is actually amazing to walk into this kind of atmosphere. Your senses are assaulted from all directions. I loved it even though I was going to pass out at any minute. Of course, the old ladies all greeted me and took an interest in my drawing. Must be my Axe cologne.
Apr 23, 2015
I am a teacher at something called, Sketchbook Skool. If you are interested in learning how to draw in a sketchbook, you can sign up for the class that I am part of. There are 6 instructors in total. The class is called: Beginning. It's $100 bucks (really 99 but I like to round things up). It starts tomorrow though. GO to the website to find out about the details.
Apr 22, 2015
The coolest thing about the city of Hong Kong is that you can go to the ferry terminal and get on a boat and be on a little island in half an hour. The Kong is surrounded by a lot of tiny little islands that are fascinating. One such place is Lantau island. On it is the world's largest sitting Buddha. It's over 100 feet tall. You have to walk up like 400 steps to reach the top. I parked myself not quite at the top, so I had a good angle to draw. The people mobbed me because I gave them something to look at as they were huffing and puffing up the stairs. I got over a 100 new Facebook and Instagram friends from my little show. China is full of groovy things to see, me being one of them.
Apr 20, 2015
There is a street in Hong Kong known as bird street. People love birds in the Kong. This street is closed off to cars. The old men actually bring their bird cages from their house and take their birds to this place. They even have poles where the cages can be hung. Along this street are stores that sell birds. Yellow cages are stacked everywhere with different kinds of exotic birds of every shape, color and size. There are even perches built into the street where there are parrots sitting. I was looking at a giant fish tank when I noticed something moving. As I got closer I realized there were a million live crickets inside. They are bird food. The whole scene was from another planet. I was inside one of these bird shops and I took out my camera to film. All of a sudden, someone grabbed my arm very firmly. They yanked me outside quickly. It was a boy about 12 years old. I thought I did something wrong. Maybe I shouldn't be filming. A man came up to me and apologized. He said his son was autistic but for some reason he liked me a lot. The boy held my arm and walked me around the street introducing me to everyone. The father said that a few years before he met someone from Australia. I reminded him of that guy. He started to call me Mister Wong, which was fine because I sort of look like a Mister Wong. The son was going through all my drawing stuff and looking at my sketchbooks. He then pulled me to a spot and he made me sit on my folding chair. Then he went and sat on a rock in front of me. All the old men laughed because they realized he wanted me to draw him. So I obliged. I must say I nailed him perfectly to the delight of everyone. It was a magical place and my new friend made my day even better.
Apr 17, 2015
I was wondering what would be a good way to honor all the people getting kicked out of their shops and stalls in Hong Kong's wetmarket. So I figured I would draw a bunch of them for everyone to see. There are so many crazy characters with incredible faces. Each one I did , I sketched secretly so they didn't know what I was up to. When a local would stop by to see what I was drawing, they would laugh and tell me they knew exactly who each person was. One day I was showing Yun the streets. So many people were saying hello to me that my wife must think that I go around paying people to greet me so I look important to her. She can't fathom how I can land in some foreign place and suddenly have a million friends and acquaintances. Drawing gives me an in, plus I have unique people skills.
Apr 16, 2015
In China, when there is construction being done, all the scaffolding is made with bamboo poles. Entire buildings are wrapped in a matrix of artistically placed tree trunks. Hong Kong also has an abundance of old metal signage with neon tubes on them. They are old and decaying like old motel signs on route 66 in America. They're quite gorgeous too. So one doesn't fall off a building, they are in a constant state of repair. The bamboo structures are cobbled together rather rapidly. Workers keep scampering higher as they tie the poles together at the joints. As I came upon them, I felt like they were huge public works of art done by some mad genius. Kongers were amazed that I chose something so difficult to draw and paint. Sometimes in trying to tell the story of a place I visit, the scene I am going to draw chooses me. When I saw this, I knew I had to capture it, no matter how difficult the task. My back is killing me but I'm glad I did it. this one happens to be an old Pawn Shop sign.
Apr 13, 2015
Right smack in the middle of the fancy part of The Kong lives a very old outdoor market. Tucked into the streets and alleyways next to Gucci and Prada are 100 year old butcher shops, fish markets and vegetable vendors. The whole thing is very crazy looking and makeshift but it is also quite visually amazing. Butchers carve up meat right on the street as trucks and taxis squeeze by a foot away. The buildings above the market stalls seem ancient and beautifully haphazard. It is unlike anything I've ever seen in any other city in the world. As I drew, the old ladies kept stopping by to see what I was up too and chat with me. I'm an old lady magnet. Each one told me that I was capturing a bygone way of life in Hong Kong. They would get very nostalgic and tell me about when they were little girls roaming these very streets, riding their bikes everywhere without a care. They knew everyone and everyone knew them. After a few days of this, someone finally told me the reason everyone was loving my paintings. The entire market was being shut down for good the day that I was leaving. I was shocked by that bit of news. That was why Chinese TV was interviewing me after seeing my drawings. I will be posting more about the markets and the people there in the coming days. Sections of it had already come down. There was a large construction site butting right up against the market. Huge cranes were pounding massive girders into the bedrock. As I drew, I was physically jumping up and down out of my stool with each pounding. I felt like Godzilla was destroying a big section of the city and its people. Anyway you are not just looking at a painting of a butcher shop. You are seeing the end of a way of life. Next time I am in Hong Kong and go to this street and sit to draw in the same spot, you will see a nice painting of a new Louis Vuitton store.
Apr 9, 2015
This was my third time to visit Hong Kong and by far, my most favorite. I made a lot of new friends in the streets just walking around and drawing. It's the friendliest city in the world. It's also super clean. While doing this painting, I saw people working on their hands and knees. When I went over to investigate, I realized they were scraping old chewing gum off the ground and putting it into buckets. I was amazed. I love that bars are outside too. Everyone is drinking on the streets. It's very convivial. We were there for 10 days and I never saw a single policeman or police car. In fact, I never even saw anyone with fake breast implants either. The joint is very unique. Everyone there is fascinated by people who can draw. I ran out of 100 business cards in like 2 days. All I had left was one of my squirrels stickers on my drawing book. So people just took a photo of that with their cell phone in order to look me up. It was crazy. I loved every minute of it. One day I was even interviewed by Chinese TV on the street. I could get used to living there. I'm sure we will return.