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Hong Kong artist, Stella So
Stella So, a Hong Kong native, addresses the ideas of memory and a mercurial Hong Kong through her illustrations and animation work.

By Cheryl Wong Wing-zi | Jan 05, 2006

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  • Hong Kong artist, Stella So

HK Magazine: What inspiration do you draw from Hong Kong?
Stella So: Hong Kong has many visual elements along its streets, especially elements of the older culture. Because the government wants to earn money from buying land and re-building on it, these elements will fade away. There’s no way to stop it. I draw them in my illustrations to collect them and in hopes that I can reconstruct the city in my mind. How can we let our lovely memories fade away? Hong Kong culture along the streets is very colorful and interesting. When you talk to shopkeepers, you hear many interesting stories.

HK: Such as?
SS: In the last MTR show, I exhibited a print of a drawing. I listened to the radio and heard that a store near SoHo was going to be closed by the government. I went to take its picture. Personally, I was afraid that they’d be unhappy with me taking the pictures, so I went in to eat first. I ordered a bowl of noodles and before the noodles arrived, I shot photos on the sly. In the end, I spoke with the shopkeeper about their families and about the neighboring restaurants. There was a soup store next door. As it turns out, the boss of the noodle shop had two bosses; two brothers. The younger brother had no time to meet girls, so when he met the girl who worked at the soup store, they got together. It was so interesting to find the family relationship between these stores.

HK: What are some of Hong Kong’s most inspirational sights and sounds?
SS: I rode trams to record the sounds for my new animated film, the ding-ding and the turnaround point. I went to Shau Kei Wan, where there is a tram terminal/depot. There’s a curve and when the tram needs to turn around, it goes RRRRRRRRR... It’s amazing. How can the world be so amazing? It’s so unreal. I also recorded the ding-ding. Once, I asked the tram driver to ding for me, but I think because the other inspectors were nearby, he said no. Later, he would "ding ding" for me.

HK: What’s a crazy thing you’ve done to create some artwork?
SS: I like to wander on small streets, just like a cat. On Ship Street in Wan Chai, there’s a Victorian ghost house. On a sunny Sunday, I went there with my friend and I climbed the gates. Once indoors, I really felt that it was a ghost house. Wandering in, I found a man already inside, but it happened to be just a journalist.

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