Apr 09, 2023 | By Vin Lim
Discovering Beauty in the Overlooked: An Interview with Watercolor Artist Lok Kerk Hwang, AWS

Unraveling the stories behind the brushstrokes of the award-winning artist with a passion for watercolor and nostalgia

Discovering Beauty in the Overlooked: An Interview with Watercolor Artist Lok Kerk Hwang, AWS
In the world of watercolor artistry, few artists have managed to capture the beauty of the ordinary with such stunning detail and emotional depth as Lok Kerk Hwang. With a unique style that balances meticulous attention to detail and a fascination with the mundane, Lok has steadily gained recognition and acclaim on the international stage. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the mind of the celebrated artist as he discusses his artistic journey, his inspirations, and his upcoming online solo exhibition, "Wheels Rhapsody." Lok also shares his thoughts on the intersection of art and technology, as well as his experience working with the challenging medium of watercolor. Join us as we uncover the captivating stories behind his award-winning artwork and explore the passion and dedication that have propelled Lok Kerk Hwang to the forefront of contemporary watercolor painting.

Mr. Lok, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you first became interested in watercolor painting?
Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for drawing comics and even dreamt of becoming a cartoonist. However, when I was 15, my secondary school art lecturer introduced me to the world of watercolor, and I was immediately fascinated by this amazing medium. I have been working hard to learn and master watercolor ever since.

At the age of 21, I started participating in competitions in Singapore and overseas, and my artwork began to gain attention. I was soon noticed by an art gallery in Singapore, and my paintings were displayed in expos and galleries, further increasing my visibility.

As my profile grew, I continued to participate in competitions and win, eventually earning the prestigious title of membership in The American Watercolour Society. This accomplishment is very dear to me and represents the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to my craft.

Your artwork is known for its unique style and striking use of colors. How would you describe your artistic approach and how has it evolved over the years?
I have a strong affinity for nostalgia and overlooked subjects. I find that the most mundane events or things can often move people's hearts, as they represent real-life experiences. Through the interplay of light and shadow, I strive to capture the beauty in the ordinary. Despite the light and flowing brushstrokes often associated with watercolor, I am able to imbue my work with weight and depth, bringing my subjects to life.

Watercolor is an incredibly challenging medium, even more so than oil painting. Unlike oil painting, mistakes in watercolor cannot be covered up, making it an unpredictable medium that requires quick and decisive action. Every brushstroke has the potential to change the final outcome of the artwork. When I paint with watercolor, I focus on creating realistic, close-up views that play with light, shadow, and texture. It's a challenging and exciting process, one that keeps me passionate about watercolor painting even years after I first started. There's always more to explore and learn, and I've never felt the need to switch to another medium. For me, the difficulty of watercolor painting is what makes it so rewarding and fulfilling.

While my subject matter and painting style may appear consistent over the years, I believe my artistic pursuits have evolved along with my approach to brushwork and attention to detail. In my early twenties, when I first discovered watercolor, I aimed to create realistic paintings with as many brushstrokes and details as possible. Although this approach has its merits, I realized that I wanted to take my art to the next level.

As a realist painter, I still strive for a high level of detail, but I'm now experimenting with ways to achieve this with fewer brushstrokes and colors. I'm curious to see how these new techniques will affect my style and recognition among my peers. However, I recognize that this journey is a continuous learning process that will never truly end, and I'm excited to see how my work will continue to evolve and improve in the coming years.

"Wheels Rhapsody" is an intriguing title for this exhibition. Can you share the inspiration behind it and what it represents to you?
"Wheels" series was born as an extension of my favorite theme, the "Rust" series. By exploring the different forms, shapes, lights, textures, and compositions of nostalgic bicycles, tricycles, and motorbikes that are part of our daily lives, I find joy in painting the beauty in objects that are often overlooked or discarded by others. It's the mundane and everyday things that people take for granted that are often the most fascinating to me because they represent a piece of real life that everyone can relate to.

The word “Rhapsody” encapsulates the diverse range of all Wheels paintings, presented in a cohesive package that allows viewers to freely interpret and engage with the art in their own unique way.

Painting is a slow and deliberate process that requires patience and attention to detail, but it's in this process of bringing these objects to life on paper that I find joy. I believe that my paintings have the ability to convey the same sense of wonder and fascination that I experience when creating them. It's my hope that by sharing my vision, viewers will be able to appreciate the beauty in everyday objects and find inspiration in the world around them.

Giclee Prints have become increasingly popular in the art world. What attracted you to this medium and how do you think it complements your watercolor paintings?
I strive to share my art with as many collectors as possible, and I believe that creating limited edition Giclée prints with NFT digital certification is the perfect way to achieve this. Giclée prints are created using high-quality, archival inks and papers, resulting in prints that are not only beautiful but also resistant to fading and deterioration over time. This makes them a valuable and lasting addition to any collector's portfolio.

By issuing Giclée prints with NFT digital certification, I am able to offer collectors tangible, physical artwork that is also backed by blockchain technology. This provides them with a secure, verifiable way to authenticate and prove ownership of their investment, ensuring that their artwork will retain its value over time.

Furthermore, creating limited edition prints ensures that each piece is unique and exclusive, adding to its collectible appeal. As a result, collectors not only have the opportunity to enjoy and display my artwork in their homes and offices but also to make a valuable investment in my work. Overall, creating limited edition Giclée prints with NFT digital certification is a win-win for both me as an artist and collector. It allows me to share my art with a wider audience while also offering collectors a high-quality, exclusive, and valuable addition to their collections.

The NFT certificate of authenticity is an innovative way to verify the ownership and provenance of your artwork. What are your thoughts on the intersection of art and technology, and how do you see it shaping the future of the art world?
NFT has been hailed as a game-changer for the art world, offering a new way for artists to monetize their digital creations and offering collectors a new form of ownership and investment.

One of the key ways that NFTs are shaping the future of the fine art world is by disrupting traditional art market structures. Historically, the art world has been dominated by established galleries, auction houses, and collectors who controlled access to the market. NFTs allow artists to sell their work directly to buyers, bypassing these traditional gatekeepers and creating a more decentralized and democratic market. As the technology continues to evolve and gain traction, it's likely that we will see even more innovative uses of NFTs in the art world in the years to come.

Can you share some of the challenges and rewards you've experienced throughout your artistic journey?
Creating something that surpasses your own expectations is one of the most rewarding aspects of working with watercolor. Whether it's the result of a wet-on-wet or dry brush technique or perfectly executed highlights, the feeling of achievement is indescribable. Despite meticulous planning and countless studies, there is always a degree of unpredictability when working with watercolor due to its immediacy and fast-drying nature.

Every painting is a learning experience, and every mistake is an opportunity to grow and improve as an artist. The challenge of mastering watercolor keeps me motivated and driven to push my boundaries and explore new techniques. With each stroke, I aim to capture the essence of my subject and convey the emotion and beauty that inspired me in the first place.

Watercolor is a medium that demands patience, precision, and a willingness to let go of control. It is both challenging and rewarding, and the more I work with it, the more I appreciate its unique qualities. As an artist, there is no greater satisfaction than knowing that my artwork has resonated with others and brought joy and beauty into their lives.
The challenge of working with watercolors is what draws me to this technically-demanding painting technique. I find it incredibly fulfilling to create the illusion of reality on a blank sheet of paper using what I believe to be one of the most difficult mediums. The beauty of a well-executed watercolor painting can rival that of an oil painting in terms of composition, brushwork, tonal layering, and value changes across the surface of the painting.

However, watercolors also present a unique set of challenges due to their delicate nature. Unlike oils, watercolors cannot be easily corrected or layered. Once the paint is on the paper, there's no going back. This forces me to be deliberate and precise with each brushstroke, constantly evaluating how the paint interacts with the water and paper.

Despite the challenges, I find the process of working with watercolors to be incredibly rewarding. The unpredictable nature of the medium keeps me on my toes, and the ability to capture light and luminosity is unparalleled. Ultimately, the challenge of mastering watercolors is what keeps me passionate about creating art.

In "Wheels Rhapsody," which pieces are you most excited for the audience to experience and why?
All of the paintings in this show have been carefully selected, but I would like to draw your attention to three pieces that hold a special place in my heart and represent significant milestones in my art career. These particular works have been some of the most challenging and rewarding pieces I have ever created, and I am excited to share them with you.

Morning Song No 5 - My first painting being juried into the world's most prestigious Watercolor Society, The American Watercolor Society, marked the beginning of my journey toward earning the title of Signature member.

Morning Song No 6 - This painting captures a moment frozen in time - an 80-year-old bicycle shop in my hometown, which has since been demolished. I am thrilled to share that this piece was recognized with the 3rd Place Award in the Watercolor Missouri International Annual Open Exhibition, hosted by the Missouri Watercolor Society in 2015. It is an honor to have my work acknowledged among such esteemed artists and to know that my portrayal of a disappearing piece of history has resonated with others.

Morning Song No 8 - This painting featuring a unique angle of a duo-bicycle composition caught the eyes of the judges and earned second place in the Society Watercolor Artists International Juried Watermedia Exhibition held in Texas, USA in 2017. The painting was inspired by my love for exploring different perspectives and angles, and I am thrilled that the judges appreciated my artistic vision. The award has been a validation of my hard work and dedication to the craft, and it motivates me to continue pushing my boundaries and exploring new techniques and subjects in my future work.

How has your collaboration with Arteesan helped you reach a wider audience and showcase your work in a different light?
I am excited to partner with Arteesan, and showcasing my work in the NFT marketplace offers a unique opportunity to present my art in a different light compared to traditional gallery or art expo exhibitions. With the online-exclusive format, my paintings can be viewed by a wider audience and art enthusiasts worldwide, 24/7. This platform provides an excellent opportunity for viewers to engage with my works from the comfort of their homes, bringing the beauty of watercolor art to a global stage.

Lok at the grand opening of Qingdao Youth Watercolor Artists International Exhibition

As we've delved into the world of Lok Kerk Hwang, it's clear that his dedication to watercolor, fascination with the mundane, and keen eye for detail are what sets him apart in the art world. With "Wheels Rhapsody" set to showcase his award-winning artwork, there is no doubt that his work will continue to captivate and inspire audiences around the globe. As Lok embarks on his next artistic adventures, we eagerly anticipate the evolution of his style and the stories he will continue to tell through his mesmerizing watercolor paintings.

Wheels Rhapsody by Lok Kerk Hwang
Wheels Rhapsody By Lok Kerk Hwang
Remind me when the show is starting
Interest is building up. Get reminded now.

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