Watch out for these Hong Kong-based NFT artists
By: Hill Choi Lee
May 31, 2022
Though the crypto and NFT markets have seen a nosedive in recent times, there is no denying that the digital art world has captivated collectors and art lovers alike. In Hong Kong, businesses and galleries have fully embraced this new emergence that is the NFT artist
Whether it takes sophisticated mediums or machinery to create digital artworks, some of these artists show that it only takes a single tool like the iPad to create an NFT from scratch. In celebration of art fairs returning to the city and with significant growth in interest for digital artworks, here are six Hong Kong-based NFT artists we should keep an eye on.
When K11 Musea launched Metavision, “a curation of the world’s biggest names in NFT art” in a single exhibition for the first time, one of the big names that popped up was artist Felix Ip.
Ip is a popular artist in the Hong Kong art scene. His journey into the digital is not a recent development as the NFT creator has long established himself as a comic and concept artist, illustrator and animation director first. Pair it with his references to Hong Kong, manga and other Asian cultural icons, his work has become one of the more popular digital assets on the NFT market. Ip is the former creative and movie director for Imagi Animation Studios and Unicorn Animation Studios. Some of his major works included Zentrix, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Astroboy and Monkey King Reloaded. He has participated in over 32 publications with 22 personal art books published in France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mainland China, Taiwan and Thailand.
One of his most renowned works is HongKong Machines, which features a series of “rustic” robots. The series is the most popular among his works and is greatly supported by the public and various enterprises.
Chris Cheung Hon Him is best known for installation art and audiovisual performance, whose artistic expression depends upon electronic, sound, image and creative technology in new media. Cheung’s reverence for Eastern and Western philosophy is central to his oeuvre, in which he blends traditional ideology and futuristic imagination to create an immersive soundscape, generative art and data art. The Radiance Scape project he initiated in 2014 has garnered critical acclaim and was featured in Ars Electronica, FILE Festival, EMAF and other festivals. He also established the artist collective, XCEPT and XCEED in 2008.
Among his many accolades, he has won prestigious international awards in Reddot, TDC, Frame, A’ Design, Golden Pin, GDC 11, Design for Asia awards, Lumen Prize and New York Art Director Club Young Guns 11. In recent years, he established innovation lab XPLOR and created a platform called Future Tense, devoted his focus to future living aesthetics and education.
His work is featured in the Swire Properties 50th Anniversary Digital Art Collection. Cheung will also be presenting a fully immersive and galactic-themed installation at Pacific Place later this year. Titled Orbstellar, visitors can explore 3D celestial bodies and orbs and even co-create an NFT.
The French Girl
Parisian Caroline Tronel is The French Girl. Initially, she started her career as a perfumer travelling the world sourcing scents from the most exotic places. A graduate of the French Perfume School of Versailles, The French Girl is now permanently based in Hong Kong.
After COVID-19 capped international travel at the knee, Tronel – like many others during this time – questioned her next professional move. Eventually, she converted her creativity for scents to the visual: street art, to be more precise. Inspired by the traditional Chinese character of Double Happiness, she gave the symbol a personal twist that led to the design of a double heart, to be found now in all her designs.
To create her NFT artworks, she made texture the focal point. Using acrylic paint on canvases and in her words an ecosystem of Apple products to convert the traditional art medium to digital, she has quickly become one of the most distinguishable NFT artists in the city. Her work can also be viewed at K11 Musea’s Metavision exhibition.
Hong Kong-based photographic artist William Furniss is an architectural and fine art photographer in his own right. Inspired by environmentalism and urban efficiencies within cities, Furniss’ work captures the fleeting and ephemeral, investigating ideas through the painstaking and multi-faceted processes of photography.
“Finding an idea that needs a difficult photographic solution is interesting to me,” he says. On capturing the city’s visual icons in unexpected ways with his own unique language, using a combination of analogue cameras, as well as digital, to achieve the effects present within his work, Furniss adds. “I think then the interesting challenge is how that type of work transitions into what is becoming the kind of current digital art and vernacular.”
As the youngest artist featured in this list, there is much to be envious of when it comes to twelve-year-old Arthus Ng. Firstly, he comes with unbridled energy and creativity you would expect for a kid his age. Secondly, he is already an established NFT artist with people taking note of his work. With only an iPad in hand and the ease in navigating the apps, Ng is swiftly winning the hearts and attention of those looking for interesting NFT creations.
His first NFT achievement happened last year when he finished as second runner up at the 2021 Cryptosav Derivative Visual Contest. Since then, he has participated in a range of events, showcasing his first solo exhibition at the K11 Start Art Gallery Hong Kong to the Global NFT Exhibitions in Rome and Sharjah (UAE) this year.
This is perhaps one of the (many) reasons why his NFT works are also showcased at K11 Musea’s Metavision show among a select 30 solo artists.
Kongkee is a legendary Hong Kong comic artist. He began his career producing cult classic comics such as Pandaman and Ding Ding Penguin. Later, he transitioned into his trademark Hong Kong Punk artistic style, crafted to evoke a unique sense of Hong Kong nostalgia by depicting familiar Hong Kong settings that are entirely reimagined through bold colours and futuristic themes. Kongkee’s unique style has been featured in BBC News, SCMP, Quartz and GQ.