Interview

January 18, 2021

Humchuk Interview – “Kwai Yan” Exhibition: Everyone is a Weirdo

FabCafe Hong Kong Editorial Team

FabCafe Hong Kong just launched the new creator community “Creator’s Spotlight“, which we aim to support and grow the local creative community in Hong Kong. This exhibition is presented by Creator’s Spotlight.


FabCafe Hong Kong is excited to collaborate with local illustrator Humchuk to host his solo exhibition “Kwai Yan” (which means weirdo) from 3 – 23 January 2021. Humchuk has always been recognised as an illustrator who could heal readers’ hearts. How did he start his drawing career? Why could his drawings heal people? We interviewed Humchuk to know more about his drawings and his life as a full time illustrator.

Humchuk, local illustrator from Hong Kong

“Kwai Yan”  – when everyone is a weirdo, then everyone is normal

F = FabCafe
H = Humchuk

F: How did you come up with the theme “Kwai Yan”?

H: I did another exhibition in November 2020 which I interviewed people and collected a lot of stories. During the interview process, I really care about all the little details of the interviewees. Even though some of their stories might sound similar, I still found everyone’s uniqueness. Then I came up with an idea: if everyone is a weirdo, then that means everyone is a normal person. You do not need to push yourself to be like anyone else, as everyone is different. So for this exhibition, I drew 10 weirdos that I met before.

F: What was the most challenging part in preparing this exhibition?

H: The character I draw is my way to represent “human”. I normally avoid adding too many details in my drawings and leave rooms for readers to think and reflect. So the most challenging part for these 10 drawings is, each character should tell different stories, but I still need to keep the story details as few as possible, in order to leave the rooms for readers to resonate with the characters. 

F: So what would you expect your visitors could get from the exhibition?

H: Actually I never set up expectations when I draw. Every visitor might have different emotions and thoughts when they visit. Some of them might resonate with their own experiences, some of them could bring a new story home, some of them could even feel the exhibition setting is poor. I am open to any feelings and emotions, and I won’t set an agenda on how visitors should visit the exhibition. But going back to the message I want to bring out, I am trying to demonstrate “everyone is a weirdo”. After visiting the exhibition, it will be great if visitors can feel “so I am actually not that weird, when everyone is a weirdo”. But I don’t mind if they are not feeling in this way.

  • Window display with “Kwai Yan” sticker decoration

  • 10 large illustrations by Humchuk at FabCafe Hong Kong

  • LED display wall with animation done by Humchuk

  • Humchuk asked his readers to submit their weirdo stories on Instagram and drew them on postcards

A full time illustrator living in a bartering lifestyle

F: Can you tell us more about your background as a full time illustrator?

H: I quitted my architecture career in 2014 after the Hong Kong Protest, and became a full time illustrator. Since then I am living a bartering lifestyle, in which I trade my drawings and creations with my daily needs, without a monetary return. At first it was very difficult, as my drawings always leave rooms for readers to think and reflect, so readers’ feedback won’t be immediate. This type of drawing style won’t bring me too many business opportunities, but I don’t want to compromise and I persevere with this style.

F: So how did you get through the difficulties?

H: I started to reflect my bartering lifestyle and my attitude to live a “rich” life. Not about getting a lot of money, but to fulfill my needs including physical and emotional needs. I found the ways to fulfill these needs in my life through my drawings. Just like this exhibition, it was because FabCafe saw my bartering list, so you provide a space for me to show my works, and you can use my drawings to produce and sell souvenirs in-store. The value of life is not just about money, and I hope my lifestyle can make people reflect on what “value” means to them. 

F: Have you ever thought of giving up this lifestyle?

H: Yes I did, as until now I still can’t live a 100% bartering lifestyle. Some of the projects still need to give me a monetary return and I have to accept that. Of course there’s time that is really poor, and I think to myself “You can actually sell a painting with a monetary return, but you chose to only get a meal, isn’t that stupid?” But having a meal sounds more fun, so I carry on. I do not regret taking this lifestyle though, at least right now my drawings and creations can still support my life. I am lucky that my friends and family are supportive, even though some of them might disagree with me, I know it’s because they worried about me.

 

Creation is a process, a language and a communication tool

F: If you need to describe what creation means to you, how would you describe?

H: I would say creation is the process of questioning, but this process might not go towards a solid answer. If I define “Art is ___”, then this questioning process might come to an end. So creation is a process for me to ask questions from time to time. Drawing is not just serving a visual purpose, but I believe drawing is a language to me, and it becomes a habit to use drawing as a language to present myself. 

F: When you publish your drawings on social media, did your readers share their stories with you?

H: Yes, and I found it might be my gift to make people talk about themselves. Some of them might even cry when they are sharing their stories. This is all about trust and somehow I believe people regard me as a listener to them. I am involved in some social trauma projects these days, and the way to communicate matters a lot on trust building. I did consider if I should take some professional courses to learn how to better communicate with people. But then I found learning through textbooks might not be the best way. Art is special because it doesn’t need to follow a specific path to communicate, and I can serve emotional support purposes through my drawings.

 

Exhibition souvenirs made by FabCafe Hong Kong

FabCafe Hong Kong fabricates souvenirs for Humchuk and sells them during the exhibition. We received positive feedback from customers and we are looking forward to exploring other ways of collaboration with creators.

The exhibition is running until 23 Jan. If you find yourself a weirdo, come and visit the 10 weirdos at FabCafe Hong Kong, and you might find you are not the only weirdo on earth.

Pins and keychains fabricated at FabCafe Hong Kong especially for the “Kwai Yan” exhibition


Puzzle and LED stands as exhibition products

Address:

FabCafe Hong Kong
G/F, 10 New Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong (5 mins walk from Sai Ying Pun station)

Time:

Mon – Fri: 08:30 – 17:00
Sat – Sun: 09:00 – 18:00

Author

  • FabCafe Hong Kong Editorial Team

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Hong Kong.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

    This articles is edited by FabCafe Hong Kong.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this article with us.
    Contact us

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