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The Funkiest Artists Signed to Hong Kong's Uber-Hip Young Soy Gallery
by: Rubin Verebes
June 28, 2022
Founded in late 2020 by Hong Kong-born millennials Shivang Jhunjhunwala and Alexander Glavatsky-Yeadon, Young Soy Gallery has forged a new path for creatives in the local art scene to provide the exposure for talented artists prior struck by Hong Kong’s capital-heavy industry and exclusive gallery practices.
From infamous graffiti scribbles around Hong Kong to delicate painted canvases, here are some of the best artists signed to Hong Kong’s hippest and youngest gallery paving way for representation of the city’s creatives.
Obsrvr0n3 is one of Hong Kong’s most famous graffiti artists, signing to Young Soy Gallery in early 2020. The excruciatingly tight-lipped artist – almost no one know his whereabouts and identity – is known for his zany and brutal graffiti sketches plastered around town that mock historical Hong Kong culture, modern lifestyle trends, and what he sees as regression in society today.
The anonymous Hong Konger artist is distinctly known for his famous tagline “Shark Fin Makes Your Penis Small,” which can be seen plastered on post-boxes, street signs, and abandoned storefronts. His other flashy phrases include “One Day My Sextape Will Matter,” “Ur Mom is Non-Fungible," “Eat No Fin,” “I Paid Your Mum In Exposure,” and “Rhino Horn Causes Toenail Penis.”
Riya Chandiramani’s “Cereal Box” series, drawing illustrious and detailed landscapes of fusion-communist red pop art and Indian and Chinese motifs on cereal boxes, has seen the Indian-Hong Kong artist shine during the pandemic years in Hong Kong.
Her blend of Indian Mughal painting, Chinese communist imagery, and cereal iconography to present female empowerment in a “nourishing” light caught the eye of Young Soy in early 2021, with the artiste hosting her first show, Milkmade, to showcase her larger-than-life style: bold, red, Mao propaganda- influenced, flowery Indian décor, and strong imagery of female genitalia and milk.
London-born and Indian-educated Louise Soloway-Chan has called Hong Kong home for more than two decades, blending her style of visual storytelling through a documentation of ordinary lives in a quotidian, everyday-Hong Kong.
Her most recognisable artistic creation, and arguably Hong Kong’s, is her bas-relief, 3D-designed mural existing within Sai Ying Pun’s MTR. The four 12-foot-high walls within the exit room feature classic Hong Kong scenes of the colliding horizontal and vertical streets of Sai Ying Pun: rushed, Chinese, humid, modern, and old.
New to the art world, former -analyst Sophia Hotung began her foray into illustrations as a form of physical therapy in recovery of several chronic illnesses. A project to redesign iconic posters of the famed New Yorker magazine into local “Hong Konger” parodies spurred Sophia into a sudden career change and a local fever for her sardonic art pieces.
A recent signing to Young Soy Gallery, Sophia continues to expand her ever-recognisable “Hong Konger” series, with new iterations released monthly. Her limited series prints are available through Young Soy’s website.
Artist lingmuki (real name Ling Lin) exports a dreaminess we, Hong Kongers, have such as our forest green vistas, windswept beaches, and vibrant streetscapes onto canvas with thick brushstrokes emulating the height and depth of our incredibly dense city.
Ling sees her creations “depict[ing] nature, mirror[ing] the mundane.” Juicy and bright oranges, yellows, lime and dark greens, and turquoise are used in her primary selection to mirror the vibrance of Hong Kong’s flora and fauna to the canvas.
Self-described “African in Hong Kong” Richard Phipson trades his time tattooing bold-lined cartoonish designs at Star-crossed Tattoos for the paint brush, ink, and paper designing grey collaged works exploring themes such as death, prayer, pain, and transcendence.
Richard’s abstract pieces sold with Young Soy’s collection focus on the imagery of the skull and the unknown in our universe. Whilst his skin work features ever-bright greens, blues, reds, and yellows, Richard’s use of black and grey to shape the canvas forces us to focus on life's prime states: purgatory, death, life, birth.
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