In a firmament sparkling with creativity, what would normally have been the colossal task of identifying artistic stars worth observing has been made easier now that — for better or worse — everyone’s been grounded. We zone in on 12 local talents, from rising to established. Today, Ernest Chang of The Stallery tells his story.
My mum is a painter so, growing up, art was always around me. We travelled a lot, and my parents would take me to different museums and encourage a love for culture.
I’m colourblind. I’ve found that, over time, my practice has shifted and adjusted itself to fit my needs, and it’s become more apparent that my inability to differentiate colour guides me in building my process.
I started professionally working in the creative field as a portrait photographer before seriously starting my fine-art practice about 10 years ago. That’s when I really focused on the work that I produced in terms of techniques and ideologies.
Right now, I’d say that artists who really inspire me include Rene Magritte, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, Alex Gross and Ron English. In terms of artistic thought or ideology, I’d say visionaries like Virgil Abloh, Susan Sontag, John Berger and even Andy Warhol – he seems to still permeate everything we do nowadays.
I grew up between the U.S and Hong Kong, so my art has influences from both Eastern and Western cultures. I usually explore themes of capitalism, pop culture and technology, and how they all interact with one another. I think our role as artists is to inspire and make art that connects with people emotionally.
If I had to pick a favourite piece of mine, it would be the Entombment of Mario (2019), because it was technically challenging for me to use so many characters and colours in a large-scale work and I’m proud of the way it turned out. I also just love the characters depicted within it, because I’m an avid gamer. It still always makes me smile when I see it.
Chang is the founder and artist-in-residence at The Stallery. Later this year, he’ll preview his new series Space Rich in Sauce Barbershop, where he plans to transform the location into a sci-fi-themed venue installed with his latest works.