Art, from top-center :
A Moment of Truth 52 (detail)
2017, water pigmented ink on inkjet print
(photo by Anselmo Reyes), 29.8 x 42.3cm (12 x 17'').
A Moment of Truth 51 2016,
ballpoint pen and ink on paper,
33.3 x 24.5cm (14 x 10'').
Artwork © Pongyu Wai.
In sharing such views with the
artist, Serfaty became not only a
fan and supporter but a mentor of
sorts, even if at times perhaps reading
into the artwork aspects which the
artist, himself, had not considered
in their creation. ''We talked a lot
about my drawings. He knows me
well but I might not know myself well,''
says Wai, speaking straightforwardly
with more down to earth humility
than much of what's been written
about him. ''I think he actually shows
me perspectives which I have not
looked at,'' Wai confirms. ''He exposes
me to other literary works where I can
find inspirations and similar ideas.''
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PENNAME by O. Lebron posted August 12, 2017
Explaining Wai Artist・Country
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
Among his various studies at CUHK, which included
Chinese painting, Wai cites an Experimental Drawing
class as a particular source of influence on his creativity.
''I discovered that I liked to use lines to express my
feelings'', says Wai. He used lines to ''explore links
among patterns, ideas and emotions'', and
ballpoint pens began providing those lines.
He considers the pens a ''thinking tool ''
which takes him beyond his limitations.
''Word is my limitation. That’s why I feel
free when ballpoint pen is a drawing
instrument to me.'' But words did
not completely limit Wai. For a time,
earlier works were sometimes
accompanied by poems which Wai
explains as ''an attempt to give
some verbal expressions''
to his visuals.
Within a year of graduating from CUHK in 2006, Wai was
selling artwork and considering himself a ''professional artist ''. His talent, and the invitingly contemplative compositions it manifests, attracted word-of-mouth
attention within Hong Kong. Positive reviews in Asian art media helped spread the word regionally, then across
oceans. Paul Serfaty, a British art writer and collector
based in Hong Kong, was one such early supporter who
wrote at length, and great depth, about Wai's artwork. Over
time acquainting himself with the artist and his work,
Serfaty has noted the many diametrics of ''being and not
being'' he sees in the work; the ''abstract and real ; big and
small ; meticulous and spontaneous''. Serfaty sees a
''poetry'' in Wai's visuals and elaborated in further
coverage, calling Wai's art ''Beguiling but not dramatic;
intellectually rich but not cerebral ; detailed and relatively small in execution but not small-scaled in vision; identifiably unique but not ‘iconic’; evolving but not predictable.'' More than a mouthful, to be sure, but Wai's artwork lends itself
to all kinds of such mindful impressions, interpretation
and speculation; one can write volumes contemplating
such work, and Serfaty has. ''The artist has
also said he perceives an elasticity between
image and imagination,'' Serfaty relays from his
conversations with Wai. ''The closer a
rendering approaches 'perfection', the less
it calls on our imagination. The more ill-defined
the perfection, the more our own awareness
is tested. It is a role of art to assist
this imaginative process.''
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Pongyu Wai・Hong Kong
The term 'East-meets-West' is regularly applied to Eastern artwork exhibiting Western influence, affectations or aspirations, but it doesn't apply here. In most respects, the work is neither East nor West. Just art. The only identifiably Western feature, in fact, is that it's been created using the long-under-appreciated but belatedly exalted ballpoint pen. With the artwork now appearing in farther reaches of the globe, I find it more appropriate to say West-meets-East, so introductions are in order: World, meet Mr. Pongyu Wai from the crossroad city of Hong Kong, bearing true Pearls of the Orient in the form of fine ballpoint pen art. Mr. Wai, meet the world.
Wai had been determined to become an artist since
he was five years old but didn't really begin what he would
consider "training" until he was around sixteen, and use
of ballpoints, although wielded as incidentally as
anyone via grade school doodles, didn't fully materialize
until he'd begun attending the Fine Arts Department
at Chinese University of Hong Kong. Wai describes
his upbringing as ''working-class and poor'', with
the only art 'DNA' in his family limited to drawing skills
on his father's side. He does not consider himself an
ardent follower of 'ART ', per se, but museums and
galleries are ''major destinations'' when traveling,
which he does as often as possible—no doubt thanks
to a ''sporty'' mother whom, Wai says, instilled in him
a sense of ''adventurous curiosity''.