Jul 05, 2012|
HK Magazine: When did you start drawing political cartoons?
Cuson Lo: In the beginning, I put my comics on my blog, and in 2010 I started to upload my works to Facebook. Social media is very powerful and it can reach out to many people. Like many Hongkongers, I didn’t care much about politics before. The ideas and the things said by Raymond Wong and other members of the League of Social Democrats (LSD) made a lot of sense. However, the mainstream media neglected their voice. There were many ways for the public to support them. In 2008, I produced some promotional materials for the LSD for free. [Wong is no longer with the LSD; he is now a member of People Power, another political party.]
HK: How long does it take you to produce an illustration?
CL: It doesn’t take long, usually an hour. The work doesn’t need to be very fancy or refined when it comes to political cartoons. It works well if you can drive the message home. Of course, you need to be informed and have political sense—otherwise you can’t create good satirical works. Once something important happens, you have to be quick and responsive. I get a lot of inspiration because things are always happening in this city.
HK: How are you different from other political comic artists?
CL: I think that my works are simple and more direct. I admire Zunzi and Ma Long a lot, but sometimes their comics are not so easy to understand. Sometimes I think that Hongkongers do not like to think so much, which is why they like my comics a lot. But I hope that I can draw more in-depth comics one day. I will also be very happy if people, especially teenagers, care more about society if they read my comics.
HK: Which politician is your favorite, or the easiest to draw?
CL: I don’t have a favorite. But the general rule of comics is that it’s most difficult to draw someone who is good-looking because they do not have very distinctive features. The uglier, the easier—so Bow Tie Donald Tsang is a piece of cake. But when you draw someone on a regular basis, you gradually develop some ways to draw them. In the beginning, I found CY Leung difficult to draw. But I am getting better.
HK: Which cartoon is your most popular?
CL: The one about Henry Tang’s illegal basement, with his wife swimming in the pool above. It was like a miracle because it got 30,000 likes on Facebook within a few days. Usually, my comics get 1,000 likes on average. Henry Tang is a very funny person and netizens cannot not fight the temptation to create parodies of him. But when CY Leung was “elected,” I asked myself if we had crossed the line by creating so many satirical works. Under the current system, no candidate will be a good leader. But it seems that CY Leung’s regime will be much more horrible.
HK: Do you feel that freedom of expression is at stake in
CL: Although the government did not manage to pass the copyright law last term [a law that would have prohibited the use of copyrighted images in satirical works; currently, satirical works and parodies are exempt from copyright infringement regulations], I am sure that CY Leung’s government will table the bill again. It’s just like part of Article 23. I am a copyright owner, and I think that parodies are nothing but beneficial. The government lacks a sense of humor and attempts to forbid people to channel their opposition into satirical works.
Find Cuson Lo’s cartoons at www.facebook.com/cusonlo.