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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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Article text ... 

Link to the full article in the Ballpointer  ARCHIVES...

    PENNAME  by O. Lebron  posted August 12, 2017

Explaining Wai   ArtistCountry 

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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    Since 2014・Volume 4

News, Reviews & Coverage of the Artists using Ballpoint Pens, the Artwork They Create, the Tools They Employ & Other Equally Newsworthy but Overlooked Art & Cultural Topics, Worldwide.

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THE BALLPOINTER

Pongyu WaiHong 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''.