Photography / Editorial / Print

Unfolded Magazine were invited to the press night for Hin’s “It’s Almost Painless” solo exhibition at Pyrus London's basement galley, which took us through Hin's colourful yet dark and traumatic “Contradiction” drawings, moving images, toys and thought provoking stuffed animals. We spoke to the artist briefly about his work, life and some of the exhibits on display.

Can you tell us about growing up, starting with Japanese Manga and Chinese watercolour; how did that evolve into what you are doing now?

I grew up in Hong Kong and all the kids used to draw Manga or dragons. However, my parents were more traditional, so I learnt Chinese watercolour also, using traditional techniques. It formed the basis for what I do now I guess.

When you moved to the UK, from China, when you were 12, how did that impact on your art?

My parents decided to send me over to a boarding school as I’d had some bad experiences and Hong Kong never really suited me. As I also loved sport and art, they thought it would be a good idea. It was tough at first. I always have loved drawing, but when I came here I grew to love painting also. Pencil, ink and poster colour. I didn’t use much colour until I was 19. After that, it just was an explosion of colour!

Was that a turning point in your work?

For the first 8 years here, I struggled to adapt, (regarding) making friends and so on. But a new friendship, which I formed at 19, gave me colour and I felt more at ease, more balanced.

I can see the struggle emanating from your work. In terms of the message of contradiction, how important is that?

Yes, my whole life has been a struggle. I believe with most people, trying to find balance is the key to happiness. The contradiction element is how, on one hand, you question what you should do with your life based on what you feel. However there is, on the other hand, what others tell you do, what path to follow and so on. I'm a Gemini, a twin. I feel there are two extreme sides to me: a conflict between my heart and my mind. In terms of my work, every piece of my work used to be controlled, but now I'm trying to work out of chaos and I do enjoy that freedom. There is, I guess, still a small sense of control. Chaos with control, whilst trying to find balance and freedom.

Looking at the exhibits, could you tell us about “Walk into my life”?

It’s about modern animals: how they have been constrained by capitalist ideals and objects. Stuck in a sweet packet and are trying to work within it, as much as we are, trying to also find help.

“Look how pretty you can be”?

Representative of death and happiness. A celebration of death if you like, where things that seem finished (the skull) may not be finished. If you look at the back of the head, you see little people going against the wave, against the norm. To find joy and happiness, you do sometimes have to go against the norm. To learn from it and then rebel from it.

“It's almost painless”?

It's a very personal piece and is also the title to this exhibition. It centres around a clown, which is smiling. People find clowns dark and contradicting. A grown man with a mask shows only joyfullness, excitement and no signs of sadness. We are all like this at some point. This clown can be me... or you. On one hand there is love and on the other aggression, with the knife. The background represents death money, in China. This is money you burn for the dead in the hope that they receive prayers for their safe journey.

Lastly, what would you say to aspiring artists out there?

Be true to yourself and your thoughts. Find a balance, find your centre and you will be able to express yourself more clearly.

To see more of Hin’s work, visit:

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 2


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