Our series of online people profiles covers a wide range of backgrounds, careers and personalities of individuals in Hong Kong. In this instalment, we chat with Live-With-Art founder Anna Salenko, who derives inspiration from Sai Kung’s relaxed vibe.
Tell us a bit about your background; where are you from, where did you grow up, and is Hong Kong “home” for you?
I was born in a beautiful seaside city called Vladivostok, in the far eastern part of Russia. I started to live abroad and exploring the world after graduating from high school – that’s when I went to Italy to study arts and fashion.
One truly unique opportunity happened in 2013, which brought me to Guangzhou, China where I further continued my art career until 2019. Although China was wonderful, I’ve always been fascinated about the energy and aura of Hong Kong. So I decided to relocate to Hong Kong, and after two years of preparation (opening a company and applying for a visa), I was ecstatic to receive the green light to enter Hong Kong in April 2020.
Since then, I’ve been living in Hong Kong and offering my art to all the art-lovers here. This place has always been close to my heart ever since the first time I travelled here when I was 11. The city reminds me of my hometown a lot: lots of lush mountains, blue sea and waves. That’s why I call HK my home now; it’s where I can develop my passion for art and feel peaceful as I’m connected to nature.
Tell us more about your art.
I’m the founder of Live-With-Art, a concept to spread joy through experiencing colourful art in our lives. The company was founded with the aim of popularising a love for arts and introducing to people around the world the technique of painting with a palette knife. We have a gallery/studio in Sai Kung, where we offer a place for people to appreciate artworks as well as participate in learning how to draw with a palette knife. I’m proud to offer people one of the coolest spots to enjoy art beside HK’s iconic seaside.
What have been the surprises and challenges of your move here?
Hong Kong is a fast pace and challenging city, and the most challenging is keeping up with trends. Apart of doing art, I spend more than half my time managing and promoting activities, on both online and offline platforms. As the saying goes, “An artwork becomes valuable when it’s seen”, so I put a lot of my time and effort to share my joy of art with more and more people.
Give us an insight into a typical working day for you.
I paint a few days a week, sometimes two or three days. The rest of the time, I sketch and analyse my works and look for improvement. I work on social media platforms by sharing contents and look for collaborations opportunities. Some days, we have offsite team-building workshops for brands; other days, I perform live painting, or I create new articles or illustrate new projects. For example, now I’m working on a map of Sai Kung where I will help newer businesses to promote their cool products and services.
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
Sai Kung is my current home; I get to wake up to birds singing in the morning! Occasionally, I walk on the same path as the village cows. It’s so enjoyable being in such a calm and zen area. Being situated at the bottom of the big Ma On Shan mountain, I can conveniently hike whenever I want. Also, walking along the seaside promenade during sunset is atmospheric; the vendors at the local markets are super friendly; and there are no tall buildings, and fewer cars than other areas. It’s a dream place to live!
Describe your home to us.
I live in a village house with access to a private rooftop. When I first saw the house and its 360-degree view, I fell in love with it immediately! I can get lots of sun throughout the day and gives me so much inspiration for my drawing and photography. Sometime I just stay home the whole day as my work routine allows me to be in one place and my home has everything I need.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
I enjoy freediving, swimming and all the beach activities such as camping, barbecuing and more. Yoga and hiking are also in my usual fitness routine!
Quick questions about Hong Kong: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Shanghainese dumplings and local food.
Date night restaurant? Bar? I’m not a night person so I usually don’t go to bars; I mostly stay home in the evenings. As for date night, the best date is having seafood at the seaside with a bottle of nice wine.
Local food? All kinds of barbecued meats!
Thing to do with visitors? Explore each corner from Victoria Peak to Long Ke Wan beach in Sai Kung.
Thing to do with kids? We host many fun workshops for kids; I adore teaching them drawing with a palette knife. It gives me great pleasure to see them go from zero to completing an oil painting that they’re proud to take home and hang.
Nearby travel destination? I enjoy having staycations from Central to Cheung Chau, as there is so much to offer in each corner of the city; in a half-hour drive, the scene completely changes its vibe!
See more of Anna’s art at annasalenko.com.
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