Preferred to be called NWY, Ng Wan-yee is a young artist who would rather be an environmentalist in her creative practices than in her subject matter. Every part of her work, The Golden Circle, exhibited at West Kowloon waterfront promenade for Freespace Fest 2013 has been recycled, properly reused or organically decomposed on the ground. If everything happens for a reason, Wan-yee explains why. “My daddy supplies building material for construction business so I have seen used materials like wood, cement, metal and plastic pipes eventually being trashed. When people oppose pulling down historical or monumental buildings in the name of collective memories, what I concern more is the industrial waste. Everyone, not merely artists or environmentalists, should bear the consequences.”
This teenage observation has been reinforced in a mind-blowing trip. Wan-yee spent a summer holiday in Mauritius with her father who was working there. “Unlike any other vacations, I got a chance to interact with local people, experience their lives, and learn Mehndi (or Henna). Mauritians know clearly that air-conditioning is nothing comparable to sea breeze. The country relies on eco-tourism so they would never harm the nature. Mehndi applies natural colourings as well as patterns from nature – these inspired me to consider material choices in my creative process.” Moving from oil to acrylic, Wan-yee recently advocates painting with watercolour.
Illustrative drawing was Wan-yee’s first encounter of art. She had thought that pictorial representation in books was the only form of art and started to draw. During her study at some studios and later on at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), she was trained with drawing techniques but found that illustration alone is limiting her in expressing herself. “I always doodle to express my personal feeling and view. In case of exhibition, I have an urge to share my world view so my work serves a social function. Then I opt for installation.” As Wan-yee will soon complete a Master of Visual Arts programme in Experience Design, she also plans to fabricate an installation with minimal or recyclable materials for the graduation exhibition. “The concept of my master project is to explore a virtual dimension building on a tangible setting for visitors to experience and utter ‘OMG’, literally Oh my gosh!” She admits that material consideration does press for time but she would stick with her eco-principle.
Experience Design is a young and revolutionary discipline responding to a growing service-based need across the creative industries; those enrolled to this course may be relatively adventurous by nature. “In my view, experience design is a passage guiding people to art. Let me put it this way: fine art education in some countries is a foundation to other courses that would turn graduates into professions in various industries. Art education in Hong Kong intends to grow only artists or someone related to art. Experience design provides a reverse perspective for me to re-examine art. I hope my work would have the same effect to audience.”
To the art student, the two years’ part-time programme is a gateway to be adaptive in the dichotomy of artist and designer. “As an artist, I have to shift to a designer’s mindset and skillset from time to time. I learn to be disciplinary in execution and collaborative in a teamwork environment. I also learn to shift in between. I’m like having a switch box in me now and I can turn ON/OFF button whenever my role takes me.”
插畫是韻怡首先接觸的創作方式，她甚至以為書本插圖是唯一的藝術形式，那便開始學習插畫的公式技巧，上了皇家墨爾本理工大學(RMIT)逐漸發現插畫已不能表達自己的想法，她說：「很多時呆着亂畫的是很私人的感覺和想法，當要做展覽時，我便很想與人分享我的世界觀，會以裝置為我展示媒介。」身為視覺藝術碩士（體驗設計）準畢業生，吳韻怡同樣會以最少或可回收的物料創作其裝置畢業作品，「它會是建構在實際場域而探索虛擬空間的作品，經過我的設計，希望觀眾體驗到『Oh My Gosh』！」
[The edited version of this article was published in a.m. post July edition.]