ONE TO FOLLOW: KITTY WONG
You may have seen Kitty’s charming illustrations and colourful characters around the city before, her pens and paintbrushes have adorned the likes Lane Crawford, Cartier and Pacific Place. But, it’s her playful depictions of memes, Hong Kong culture and local eats that have us lusting after her endearing prints! We caught up with her to talk her inspirations, strong women and staying connected in COVID times!
When did your forays into illustration begin?
Hmm probably since I was a kid. I always used to draw pictures of Sailor Moon and also design outfits for my Barbies. But I didn’t get more into it more seriously until university when I was studying fashion design.
What’s your favourite part of the whole process of creating?
I love to look around for inspiration, things like noticing vintage tiles in an old building, or funny dogs I see walking around. So, I’m glad painting and creating my artworks is an outlet for my imagination, to collect all my inspiration and create something unique out of that.
You draw a lot of daring and colourful female characters, are they a reflection of yourself or the woman around you?
Yeah maybe! I guess I’ve always been drawn to daring female characters! I always wanted to have a business when I was younger. For a short time, I even had a small business selling belly button rings out of my locker in High School, because I noticed there weren’t very good styles at our local mall, and they were really expensive!
My mom always jokes I only like watching movies with strong female characters, and especially if she’s a businesswoman. I.e. Joy, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, Little Women, Erin Brovocich, so many good ones.
How has the year of COVID changed the way you worked or lived?Things slowed down a lot this year, since a lot of events and projects were cancelled. But it also gave me some time to think about where I want to go in my business and take the time to strategize more and be more proactive with pitching and reaching out to new audiences and clients.
I also started a small women’s Mastermind group this year, a small group of female entrepreneurs and I meet once a month to help and support each other with whatever we need in our businesses.
As a major Hong Kong street-food foodie, what’s one menu item you would never pass up? Definitely Dim Sum! I can never say no, especially to shrimp har gow and chicken feet, haha.
What has been the most rewarding moment of your career so far? My Today At Apple talk and workshop with Apple! It was to a full house at their flagship Causeway Bay store, it was TERRIFYING but so rewarding. As an illustrator, I’m fairly introverted and work by myself most of the time. A lot of my interactions is online, through emails and IG.
So, it was an amazing opportunity to get to do some public speaking and felt amazing to connect in-person with new people in the audience that really like and support my work!
For the aspiring creatives out there, what’s the best lesson you’ve learned throughout your career? You just gotta keep making the work. If you’re not happy with how your work looks now, don’t worry that’s a good thing, that means you want to get better. So keep painting and you’ll find that style or niche you’re looking for. And also be proactive, reach out (nicely) to people you want to work with! They won’t know you’re there unless you say “Hi”!
If you had to pick a favourite piece of work you’ve created, which would it be? It’s probably still my Hong Kong Street Food piece, I feel so many Third Culture kids who grew up outside of Asia really connect with it, the colorful food illustrations but also the stories behind each item. I love seeing how people react to it when to first see it.
What makes Hong Kong home for you?
After growing up in Canada. When I first came back to Hong Kong almost 10 years ago, I remember feeling very lost, I def experienced reverse culture shock. But now that I’ve been back so long, I really love it. For me, it’s having my family here, and my amazing group of friends and also the amazing food that’s available at any time and anywhere!
What’s next for you in 2021?
I’m currently working on a new print drop, and it’s all about the Hong Kong Cha Chaang Teng! So, I’ve been busy painting milk tea, egg sandwiches and the controversial love it or hate it item, macaroni in soup. Other than that, I’m hoping 2021 brings more self-love and even more growth for my art business!