Sonya Fu is a Hong Kong illustrator and graphic designer. She received her education in Hong Kong from DesignFirst in 2006, she had worked as a freelance designer by day and work on her art by night. Fu’s work is inspired by dreams, music and the human condition filling her work with subtle messages leaving the viewer to develop their own interpretation. It is no wonder some of her artwork sells for thousands of dollars! She has contributed to JET magazine, Cosmo, and many more publications. We sit down with Sonya to discuss life in Hong Kong, her love of Asian horror films, and of course…her art! Scroll below to read the full interview.
I am personally a big fan of yours so I know a bit about your background, but can you please briefly tell our users something about your history? Who is Sonya Fu?
Sonya: I am an artist and graphic designer from Hong Kong. I began to draw at a very young age. Without any formal training in art, I learned through practice and random doodling out of boredom during classes. Until the day I bought my first Wacom tablet, I immediately fell in love with digital painting. At first it was just a hobby, I painted and posted my work online and got many positive feedbacks from people and then I started to grow more serious about art.
Your specialize in digital mediums. Why do you like your current style, and why stick with it as opposed to working with a different style, technique or medium?
Sonya: I actually tried many different styles from manga, fantasy, realism to conceptual. Until I grew more serious about art, I started to develop a certain “dark style” which you can see from my earlier work. It’s not surprising to see sad faces within my earlier paintings, because at time I was really lost and unhappy. I kept exploring my style and I went from being negative to pulling myself together and finally evolved a style that I am happy with. Especially as I grew older and became more exposed to the world, I realized that I wanted to illustrate not only my emotions but the world that we live in.
Tell us about ‘Skin Deep’ and what we can expect from your first solo exhibition.
Sonya: “SKIN DEEP” features 13 recent works of mine. You will see pieces that carry a lot of subtle messages and metaphorical meanings. I want to trigger people to think reversely, that things are not always as how it seems on the surface. So I named the show contrary to its true meaning and that’s how ‘SKIN DEEP’ is born. For more info on the show please visit http://blog.above-second.com/2011/01/sonyafu/
Most of Japan Cinema’s audience resides in the West. For those of us who are curious, how is life in Hong Kong? Does it provide a comfortable creative atmosphere?
Sonya: Hong Kong is really fast-paced, a concrete forest packed with buildings, tall and short, old and new. Maybe this is why rent is crazy high here. And because of that, it’s not easy for young artists to have a studio of their own. But I can tell that the creative atmosphere is growing gradually in recent years, it always makes me smile when I see graffiti, especially on old buildings surrounded by futuristic looking skyscrapers. The contrast is like an unintentional art collaboration.
Most designers in your field use PC Tables, what exactly do you use and how is it more efficient compared to the other products out there?
Sonya: I usually work on PC with a Wacom drawing tablet. Just a personal preference.
Have any favorite Asian films or anime?
Sonya: I really like the 3rd short story from the movie “Saam Gaang” (3 Extremes II). It’s a story about a man (Leon Lai) keeping his dead wife in his apartment for years, taking care and nourishing her body with a mysterious Chinese herbal remedy, hoping to bring his wife back to life. It’s really sad and romantic in a creepy way.
My favourite anime has got to be YuYu Hakusho! I was really addicted to it when I was a child. As for manga, I am a BIG fan of Junji Ito’s work!
You said that your work is inspired by the human condition. Can you elaborate?
Sonya: Too often we are bound by rules, stereotype, vanity and unfairness in the world that we cannot change. My recent work – “Communication series” is about the communication barriers we have in the modern world. It’s common to see people texting on the train, friends sitting next to each other burying their nose in their portable game consoles without much conversation, people who only want to tell their stories but not interested in listening to others’. Modern technology makes communication more convenient, but ironically, indirect. Still, communication is the basic of any relationship, a face to face conversation with eye contact is more significant than it sounds. Other pieces from my solo show such as “Trouble hair”, talks about people being bound by vexation that can be cut away if only they would let go; “Skin Deep”, talks about how people strangle others with superficial judgements, things are not always what they seem on the surface.
I’m sure people would love to own some of your art. Do you have a storefront on the internet for people to purchase your work?
Sonya: I just released a set of limited art prints of my ‘Oh! Alpaca I’ and ‘Oh! Alpaca II’ series, please visit this link for more info http://blog.above-second.com/2011/02/oh-alpaca-i-ii/
And the pieces from my solo show can be purchased here http://blog.above-second.com/store/
What other plans do you have in store for 2011 after your exhibition?
Sonya: I will be having more exhibitions and collaborations. One of them involves painting on a dog sculpture! Check out my blog at http://alivenotdead.com/sonyafu for updates
Thanks again for providing Japan Cinema with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Sonya: Thanks for featuring me and introducing me to the Japan Cinema readers! May you all have a happy year of rabbit!