We chat with Russian artist YULIA SHAUTSUKOVA about finding inspiration for art in Hong Kong’s streets and neighbourhoods.
Where are you from and when did you come to Hong Kong?
I was born in Moscow and developed a deep interest in painting from childhood. I studied at Art School in Nalchik, then at the Crimean University of Art and further at the Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow. I’ve travelled widely around the world to search for new colours and inspirations
The first time I visited Hong Kong in 2001, I fell in love with this incredible city, and at the same time decided that I would live here. I’ve called HK “home” since 2010 when I moved here. I met my future husband (Anthony Beck) in HK, and as he had a veterinary business in mainland China, we had an adventure in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen for a few years. We’ve been back for eight years.
Tell us a bit about your art.
My focus as a professional artist is to create and sell unique artworks. My pieces explore the relationship between colours and emotions. The vibrant colours in my art stimulate the emotions of each viewer, driving their own interpretation and creating a unique inner world.
My latest original watercolour and oil artworks depict everyday corners of Hong Kong. While life here is all about hustle and bustle, I try to remind everyone to stop and take note of the treasured city moments every day. There isn’t a side of HK that I don’t find beautiful.
With my partner Blink Gallery, I regularly participate in the Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong. Every year, I show a new collection to art lovers. My latest solo exhibition was at one of the most beautiful and iconic places in Hong Kong, The Peak.
What have been the surprises and challenges of doing business in HK?
The biggest challenge of the last two years is that, unfortunately, international art shows and some exhibitions have been postponed or cancelled. But I’ve still been able to organise a few successful exhibitions, including showing my new HK collection at AAF 2021, where all my latest artworks were sold in only two days!
Give us an insight into a typical working day for you.
As I’m an artist, I don’t really have a typical working day – everything depends on my inspiration! However, I’m searching for ideas all the time – it doesn’t matter what I’m doing and where I am. When working, my mind needs space away from any problems; it’s better if I’m alone. When I concentrate on my artwork, it’s like a meditation for me. I often listen to music while painting.
I also enjoy meeting art collectors; buyers like to ask questions and share their feelings about my art.
Whatever I’m doing, it’s essential that I start my day with a good cup of tea. My favourite is the Earl Grey tea from The Mandarin Cake Shop.
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
We live in Discovery Bay and we’ve found it to be a perfect place for families. We have everything we need here: a good school for our son, a lot of outdoor space, beaches and great facilities.
What are three things you like about your neighbourhood?
The beautiful nature and relaxing atmosphere; the fact that it’s only a peaceful 25-minute ride on the ferry to Central; and the great community.
Describe your home to us.
We have a bright apartment with an open sea view. The view and changing weather provide inspiration, and we also have a lot of my flowers and vibrant green paintings on the walls to create a comfortable atmosphere and help feel a connection with nature.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
I enjoy socialising with my friends. But then I like my own quiet time too, when I can learn Mandarin or watch arthouse movies. One of my favourite film directors is Wong Kar-Wai; I’ve probably watched In the Mood for Love a hundred times!
Quick questions about Hong Kong: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Discovery Bay restaurants such as 22 North, or Hemingway’s for vegetarian.
Date-night restaurant? The Verandah at Repulse Bay, or Sevva. Bar? MO Bar at Landmark Mandarin Oriental.
Local food? I haven’t been there for a long time, but my favourite was always Lei Yue Mun fish market and restaurants; also Din Tai Fung for the best dim sum.
Thing to do with visitors? Ride on the Star Ferry and the tram from Sheung Wan to Causeway Bay; visit the different local areas for their atmospheric old streets; go up to The Peak.
Thing to do with kids? Visit Disneyland, one of the farms or the Botanical Gardens; my son enjoys water sports such as stand-up paddle-boarding.
Nearby holiday destination? We often go for family holidays to Phuket in Thailand, but for now our favourite place for a staycation is the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.
See more of Yulia’s artworks on Instagram @yulia_shautsukova_art.
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section.