Raymond Fung is an ink painter who grew up in Hong Kong. His background reflects how Hong Kong people keep faith through hard times and strive towards the better. Born in Hong Kong in 1952, his father passed away at young age, and he grew up in a struggling singleparent family. He lived in an old tenement building on Hollywood Road, neighbouring Possession Point and old districts of Sheung Wan and West Point, and he was surrounded by fishball stalls, clothing store, food markets, funeral parlours, and grassroots businesses including fortune-tellers, bone-setters, goldfish stalls, shoe repair, barber shops. These local living deeply influenced Fung, and he formed a strong emotional bond with the place. He did not come from a wealthy family, he had to work hard to make a living. He thought of drawing as a way, so he learned to draw at a community centre, setting the foundation for his later career as an artist.
Fung’s landscape painting focuses mainly on the abstract brush strokes as the contour and outline of the nature, with soft diffusing colours. He never just uses the conventional paper folds to depict the mountain lines, but with minimal dots, clusters and lines together with paper folds to form the enticing visual effect. Peoples are never the main character in his paintings.
As a sensible artist who cares for the issues on the society and conservation, Fung’s work reflects his concerns for local affairs, humanities, and the environment. In “Revelation of freedom”, impulsive burst of thick strokes holds the burning flames atop, just like the suppressed feelings have finally found their way out. The power of the strokes sharply contrasts with the silence in the surrounding lands and water. The hollow and everything desolated suggest Fung’s feelings towards the June Fourth Incident in 1989. “Clean Water?”, “Blue Sky?” are his recent artworks. The visuals are black and bold, questioning our ability to protect our proud blue sky and seascapes on the earth this polluted and sick.
As an outstanding architect, many of Fung’s architectural projects demonst rate his concerns for natural conservat ion, as well as cultural and historical preservation. He advocates not for the interference in culture and environment, but for the protection of natural habitats and for our mutual respect for the cultural heritage. One needs not compromise the harmony for being eco-friendly, nor alter any core values. His projects including Health Education Exhibition and Resource Centre, Wan Chai Environmental Resource Centre, Hong Kong Wetland Park, and Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade highlight his vision and mission in the culture, history, environmental conservation, while proving his creativity and imagination.
As a diligent artist who strives for unique aesthetic sense, Fung is known for his diffusing ink techniques and variations in improvising for the new. He re-defines the traditional ink-wash, conceptualizing the landscape by painting what he feels and understands about it. He often paints in series and arrange them in matching strolls that are aligned to their meanings.
[excerpted from an essay in the book; written by Professor Tang Hoi Chiu, Former Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art]
Savouring Life: Raymond Fung 細看人生：馮永基
Mingshan Art Taipei