I See Red! aka The Amazing Hong Yi

So, lately one of my work buddies here in Shanghai has become a bit of an interwebs sensation.  Her name is Hong but she calls herself Red (‘hong’ being ‘red’ in Chinese).  She is an architect by day and an unconventional artist (her description) by night and weekend.  Being a wacky and creative type (needless to say, being an architect and such), she has taken to making portraits of famous people using odd materials.  It all started with a chili-paste-on-a-plate rendition of Justin Beiber.

But, after making this portrait of Yao Ming (with a basketball dipped in paint, quite obviously…) things went a little  ballistic – almost a million views of Youtube, along with a flood of TV interviews, magazine articles and job offers.



Hong is in her “famous Chinese people” phase, so followed up with this portrait of the actor Jay Chou.  I was in the office on the weekend that this was being made and it smelled wonderful!



For her next artwork – featuring the filmamker Zhang Yimou – Hong got a few of us from the office to help out.

Inspired by the colour and texture of his films, as well as Shanghai’s famous laneway laundry,the portrait is made of almost a thousand socks, pinned together like pixels from an image.  So we stayed late at work one Friday night and helped thread and arrange the socks into place.  I was on forehead-to-eye duty.

Here is the artist herself, in a blurred state of creative fervour.  I like to call her the Amazing Hong Yi, not only because it’s an accurate description, but because it contrasts with her very self-deprecating and good-humoured character (seemingly intact, despite all the attention she has been receiving lately).

Here is a video of the portrait being installed into one of Shanghai’s traditional lilongs.



Intended as a temporary installation, the portrait was then bought to our office where it hangs inside the entry space to the studio.

Mounted at the end of the central spine of the building and at about 4 metres high, Mr Zhang is quite a sight, looking out over our workplace like a benevolent Big Brother.

(Not that she needs any help with promotion, you can see more of Hong’s work at her website, www.ohiseered.com)


2 Responses to I See Red! aka The Amazing Hong Yi

  1. adinawest says:

    Awesome. I can see why she’s been popular on YouTube. Sounds like a very talented and adaptable artist!

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