Stories

Hedonistic pre handover days, life casts plaster & fibreglass, painted in acrylics. 1996

When I first arrived in Hong Kong I lived and worked in a small flat in the heart of Wanchai. My early sketches were made on the spot from local cafes. There used to be a fish & chip shop, Brett's Seafood with bar tables facing directly onto the street that overlooked the entrance to a hostess bar, a great place to sketch. Before the handover there was a regular influx of American naval ships visiting HK and Wanchai would buzz with life at night. The above right torso is a scene from inside the hostess bar Country 88, reflected back onto the torso; the mamasan keeping an eye over her patrons, girls pole-dancing, sailors & lecherous male faces. Above left torso is a scene from a popular westerners hang out, Joe Bananas, on ladies night.

Blue & white Ming torso
Life cast Torso. Plaster & fibreglass painted in acrylic, 1997

This is one of the first life casts of a friend who commissioned a wedding gift for her fiancee. It’s a cast of her torso which was made whilst she was wearing a bra the details of the folds in the fabric can be seen in the finished cast. It has been turned into a blue & white ming style bodice. The chest is painted with fragmented scenes from the couples courting days in Hong Kong including the location of their first kiss in “the big Apple in Wanchai,” the neon red apple logo on the left side of her chest. Sadly the couple are no longer together which has been a reoccurrence with the most elaborately detailed pieces I’ve made, possibly an awareness of the fragility of their time together.

Yellow Torso, hands on hips. Life cast painted in acrylic & oils 1999

Life cast of a woman with hands on her hips, to help her balance as she didn’t like the process of being cast. Glad to say that this couple are still together, it too was commissioned as a memory of their courting days. A small bumble bee traces their travels across a painted globe. The bodice is decorated with green continuous stems & floral patterns in a Qing dynasty style, with two long thin dragons that form the neckline. Whilst making this the woman went very pale & fainted apparently it was whilst applying the bandages near her neck. Her husband thinking she would never let me cast her again, stopped me from ripping off the mould, so we slowly lowered her to the floor to save the mould, luckily she & the mould were fine.

Female Torso with hands on hips