North, South, East, and West panels in situ. Photo by Will Furness
These panels, with exaggerated perspectives, were designed to draw viewers into the the long street scenes when exiting the lifts. Each panel is a compass-point perspective inspired by gathering images while walking along the grid-like roads of Sai Ying Pun: North down to the harbour, South up the hilly roads facing the mountains, East towards Central and West towards Western district. Each panel is depicted at a different season.
The escalator on Centre street facing south, towards Caine Road. It was painted at Christmas, represented by the three gold-covered pots of red poinsettias. In an ever-changing urban environment, the shops either side of the construction are preserved as a snap shot in time.
This view was taken from Queens Road West. It was painted during Lunar New Year, symbolised by the large trifoliate orange tree being wheeled into the scene on a trolley. As it was 2011, the Year of the Snake, the side of the tram was decorated with a golden snake.
This is a collage of streets that run across Sai Ying Pun facing east towards IFC, seen on the horizon. Summer is represented by blown-out umbrellas, leaves and broken branches from a damaged banyan tree - the after-effects of a typhoon as the sun breaks through again.
This is based on streets that face north, down towards the harbour. It's during Mid-Autumn Festival - a girl, being carried by her grandmother, holds a traditional fish lantern ready for the evening moon. In the building on the left, a property agent in a blue shirt shows a vacant flat.
On dark rainy days, Hong Kong's fruit stalls are like illuminated jewels in contrast to the grey surroundings. This is one of the most textured panels: many real fruits - lychees, pineapples, durian - as well as garlic, ginger, walnuts, noodles (and even light bulbs) were cast from life.
This is based on a fishmonger I saw smoking while his freshly-cut fish were still pumping blood. Apparently, this is one of the most photographed panels as people like the woman's bottom cleavage. (And it's one of my favourites because the little boy is my son.)
This is a typical noodle shop with a dai pai dong (local outdoor eating place) nearby. Every panel has a lone foreigner, shown here in a pink shirt eating noodles under the umbrella. The old lady moves between the two panels, burning paper money during the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Sophisticuts is based on a hairdresser that was located up the steep steps in Sai Ying Pun, before the escalator was built. The flames are being stoked by the old lady, who was in the noodle panel, appeasing the hungry ghosts. Smoke winds its way up into the curls of the blonde hair in the poster.
The tea shop is based on a traditional shop in Queens Road West. Displayed on the yellow velvet-lined shelves are a few ceramics I've added, based on pieces that have raised extraordinary prices at auction. The long shadow in the afternoon light is actually me, taking photos.
This is a composite of the worshipping-materials shops in Queens Road West. Every year, in the lead-up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, the lanterns reflect which cartoon characters are most popular in the city. When this was painted, Angry Birds were a big craze, as was the film Cars.