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Celebrate Sai Ying Pun art at theDesk with Céline Chou

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‘The Beating Art of Sai Ying Pun’ exhibition opens at theDesk on Friday May 5. Céline Chou is one of our three featured artists who creates her works in Sai Ying Pun

She’s from Cambodian heritage, grew up in France, studied in Shanghai and now creates stunning abstract art, matching scarves and fashion accessories in her Sai Ying Pun studio. Meet Céline Chou, one of three artists whose works are going up on the walls of theDesk co-working, events and exhibition space in Sai Wan as part of our special upcoming exhibition that opens next month, ‘The Beating Art of Sai Ying Pun’.

SEE ALSO: Things to do in Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town this week

All three artists in the new exhibition, which opens with a celebratory event at theDesk on Friday May 5, create their pieces in Sai Ying Pun and they each use a range of techniques to produce their works, like abstract art, fashion and drawing. The opening is followed up on Saturday May 13 with ‘SatArtDay’, an interactive art workshop, live performance and street sketching event that sees the talented trio working with visitors to show how these techniques come together and, of course, to have fun. The entire project is supported by Geneyclee Gallery in Kwun Tong, which also has a presence at both events.

Chou is exhibiting her abstract paintings and scarves at theDesk until June 16. During ’SatArtDay’, she brings performance artist Ivy Chan in with her who is putting on live shows that incorporate the scarves. After these performances, Chou works with and teaches visitors in a workshop format to create abstract art pieces that are based on an array of methods using acrylic paint on canvases. Plus, Chou’s also got plenty of wares from her Hong Kong-based art-meets-fashion company Tévy, which is a Cambodian Khmer word meaning ‘angel’, at both events. Incidentally, Tévy is Chou’s middle name and artist moniker too.

Chou, whose home and studio have both been based in Sai Ying Pun for the past three years, was born to Cambodian-Chinese parents and grew up in Paris and Lyon in France, as well as attending business school in her native country. She then moved to Shanghai for a year between 2009 and 2010 where she studied business at university and, in that time, she visited Hong Kong and ‘fell in love with the place’. After that, she headed back to Paris for a year, where she worked in marketing, but then she realised she ‘missed living abroad’, so she found ‘an opportunity in Hong Kong’ and moved here in 2011 as a business consultant, helping French companies to develop their companies in the city.

“I was doing a lot of market research that was tailor-made to my clients’ needs in 2011,” says Chou. “I was learning to be pretty entrepreneurial at the same time and had a lot of independence in the job. I found I really liked that independence, so it set me up for starting my own business. I did do another job when my contract ended in project management but I found I missed the independence, so I launched my own business.”

Chou had been musing over business ideas for a while but then one day she came up with a concept that she instantly loved. “I asked myself ‘what do I like the most?’,” she says. “And I found I like painting and fashion the most. So why not combine the two? So I formed Tévy so I could design and create my own accessories, mostly scarves, all of which have been inspired by my own paintings. It saw my business background combining with my passion for art and fashion.”

“I love creating pictures entirely from my imagination and then seeing how people interpret them.”

Tévy has already been a hit in Hong Kong. Chou says she’s had buyers for both her paintings and fashion accessories, plus she’s exhibited across the city. And it’s all designed and created from the 30-year-old’s studio in Sai Ying Pun. “Since I was little,” she says, “I have always liked painting and drawing. I used to paint a lot of landscapes and portraits in France but I never found a specific style that I could say was mine. But when I came to Hong Kong, I started art jamming and then I found that abstract art was what I most enjoyed creating. I love creating pictures entirely from my imagination and how I feel and then seeing how people interpret them. Many people see my works as really different to what I intended.”

“The fashion side of my business focuses on scarf-making,” continues Chou. “These scarves are personal and affordable. Each painting having only a limited edition number of scarves makes it all that more unique. Scarves go well with any outfit for a woman. They add a great pop of colour. I also create cosmetic bags and home décor too, such as coasters and cushions. Every piece features my artwork. So far, apart from my website, my pieces have been available at pop-ups across Hong Kong, including one I’m doing until May 4 at K11 Art Mall in TST. Some people buy both my paintings and the scarves so they get a full set.”

Chou has created between 15 and 20 paintings at her studio in Sai Ying Pun. These acrylic works unceasingly play with textures and layers. She beautifully expresses emotions through the use of colour, energy and movement – inviting the viewer to enter her world and to use their imagination to define what they see and how they feel. Each painting has its own story: memories of her childhood in France or moments of happiness or her first trip to Cambodia. There’s a sensitivity at play here – and it’s all created in SYP. “I think Sai Ying Pun is a very dynamic neighbourhood,” she says. “It’s really trendy, with good galleries, great restaurants, lots of different people from all walks of life and a cool arty vibe. It’s the perfect spot to be an artist, in fact. I’m glad to help celebrate that with this new collaborative exhibition at theDesk.”

Céline Chou: the factsNAME Céline Chou but uses the artist name Tévy
AGE 30
BASED Sai Ying Pun
MEDIUM Abstract paintings and women’s fashion
FIND OUT MORE Head to tevy.com.hk

Come to our grand opening of ‘The Beating Art of Sai Ying Pun’ exhibition on Friday May 5, between 7pm and 9pm, at theDesk. Enjoy some wine and nibbles and meet each artist as you tour our exhibition as well as our co-working and events space.

Also prepare for ‘SatArtDay’ with our three artists on Saturday May 13, between 1pm and 5pm at theDesk. There is to be drawing and painting workshops both inside the space and on the street, plus live dramatic performances every half hour and artistic talks, organised by theDesk, Geneyclee Gallery and the three artists. And it’s all FREE, with drinks and nibbles provided.

RSVP for both of these events at marketing@thedesk.com.hk. We look forward to seeing you!

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