Archive for Art & Design

Art Between Worlds

Gallerist Nicole Schoeni is the Bridge Between Hong Kong’s Traditional Old World Collectors and a New World of Urban Contemporary Art

Nicole Schoeni Art Gallery Owner Hong Kong
By Shana Ting Lipton

Hong Kong–with its riveting commercial pulse and maelstrom of designer labels–may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think ‘edgy art’ or ‘street art.’ It is conversely better known as a Western gateway for Chinese creators like Wang Yi Guang and Yu Chen, whose work (or ‘investment’) is appealing to more conservative and traditional collectors.

Wang and Yu are familiar names to Nicole Schoeni, director of the renowned Schoeni Gallery in Hong Kong (which exhibits their work). However, art world ‘designer labels’ aren’t the inspiration for her much-loved 21st century urban art project Adapta Gallery Hong Kong, which she dubs “a project of passion.”

Launched in 2008, Adapta Gallery Hong Kong is a collaborative effort between Schoeni Gallery and UK Adapta London, a popular arts and style webzine. It’s run by her best friend and his close mate, or as Schoeni puts it: “my partners in crime.” The UK Adapta webzine has facilitated contact and exposure to new artists–some of whom ultimately show at Adapta Hong Kong.

Schoeni explains that her goal is to bring one or two projects a year to the Adapta Hong Kong “for the purpose of bringing fresh and exciting shows to Hong Kong rather than as a commercial enterprise.” Although the gallery project has sold limited edition prints for as low as HK$800 (just over $100 USD), it also sells original artworks for as much as HK$500,000 (about $65,000 USD).

Artist David Bray

"God Only Knows Where I Would Be Without You" By David Bray

Anyone who has seen British street artist Banksy’s pseudo-documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop may wonder how mutually exclusive the concepts of street art and commodification are these days. Beyond his obvious talent, Banksy’s certainly the most well-paid anonymous street artist in the business. As a testament to its mainstream appeal, Schoeni Gallery (not Adapta Hong Kong) featured a show of his work in 2008–which Nicole Schoeni describes as having been “a stepping stone to what became Adapta Projects.”

She however reveals, “Banksy’s market isn’t enough to convince my collectors, who are very much Asian-focused, of the potential and artistic value of this genre of art.” But, she’s not giving up hope on the idea of the Hong Kong art collectors becoming more street art friendly in the future. This, in spite of the fact that Hong Kong galleries like No Borders and UFO Gallery– which had opened in recent years and had focused on this genre–have since closed.

She explains, “Many of the older generation are more conservative and see [street art] as vandalism and can’t see through that to the actual artistic contribution it brings to our city.” However, her dreams of street art’s future in Hong Kong rest in the promise of younger generations of collectors, who will surely ascend in influence, power and the financial ranks as the years go by.

“When it comes to younger collectors and the younger Hong Kong Crowd, they love our exhibitions…They felt it was something new and fresh in the Hong Kong art scene, something that they can relate to.” Street art, graffiti art and urban art have, after all, had a relatively short history in Hong Kong in comparison to their lengthier prevalence and relevance in U.S. and U.K. cultures.

The road to mainstream acceptance and appreciation is clearly a long and indirect one for Schoeni and other fans of street art in Hong Kong. But, one Adapta HK artist that could bridge the divide between the Old World and new generation art scenes is a young Brit known simply as Word to Mother.

Artist Word to Mother

"Out of Work Jerks B" By Word to Mother

Although he attended art school and studied illustration, he really began his career in earnest on the streets, via grafitti. Over time, he brought his works to galleries, and is now an artist on-the-verge, according to Schoeni.

“Each piece looks like it took years to evolve as his unique layering skills meld to one another effortlessly,” Schoeni raves.

She closes: “His ability to have such a distinctive style already at a young age, and one that isn’t connected to street art has allowed him to bridge the gap between this genre and contemporary art.”

Also in Culture Cache:

Chic Trek: Hip Designer City Maps (VIDEO)

Artistic, hip designer city maps, By Design – Seoul, Korea graphic artists Zero Per Zero fashion international city maps using creativity, cultural sensibility, and a keen vibe for the style of the streets.

Chic Trek Videos: Venice, Italy – Something Old, Something New (VIDEO)

The above web video was narrated, written and produced by Shana Ting Lipton for Chic Trek. Copyright 2011 Shana Ting Lipton.

The Hotel Il Pellicano, Long-Time Jet Setter Playground in Tuscany
Rome Cavalieri Hotel’s ‘Tea With Tiepolo’

Venice to the Letter


Tobia Rava, Italian Biennale Artist

I recently returned from my first trip to Venice. So, there will be plenty of material I’ll be posting here and via my usual outlets (HufPo and so on).

However, I want to pause for a moment, a bit dumbstruck, moved and inspired by some art I stumbled upon while there.

Unfortunately, I was only in the Ancient canal-navigated city for two days (I know realise one needs at least five for a starter journey). But it was still long enough to have a couple of ‘stumble upon’ moments of ‘ah,’ especially in regards to the art.

We were there on the final day of Biennale and wandering through San Marco when I saw a church, peered inside and literally gasped. My friend Paul said he was–at the time–looking at a restaurant and just heard me make the stunned sound, and thought I had fallen or something.

Inside that dark church from who knows what century (maybe 15th) was a contemporary mosaic of Jesus’ face (we’re talking 30 feet tall circa) made of individually painted eggs. That’s the kind of wow factor of Christianity’s glory days. It simply doesn’t exist anymore. If the church would unite with incredible contemporary artists like Oksana Mas, it would have more interested parties!

On another day, Paul and I took a water bus to Salute hoping to be permitted to shoot inside the new-ish repurposed old building that is the Punta de la Dogana Museum. No such luck. They were oddly uptight.

Alas, after wandering through the tiny streets we stumbled upon a little gallery tucked away in the middle of nowhere: Galleria D’Art L’Occhio. She’s got some amazing stuff there, but the most ‘me’ (mixing cultures and spirituality) was the work of a Roman artist named Tobia Rava.

He was also in the Venice Biennale this year, the gallery owner informed us. He creates beautifully, emotionally evocative landscapes of sites in Venice, Rome, the countryside, and the Low Countries out of Kabbalah letters.

Having at one point dabbled with reading the letters of Kabbalah, I can attest to the fact that they are incredibly powerful when you meditate on them–almost frighteningly so (so I gave it a rest). They are in essence stencils of energies–a shorter path to what you desire to manifest.

I have not meditated on Rava’s work deeply but can only imagine that when I do it will produce some interesting results. Landscapes for a travel culturist like myself are hugely important. Imbued with those potent letters, well, the sky is the limit.

Latest Art + Paris Guide Book: Impressionists and Post-Impressionists!

Art Paris Guide Book Museyon Impressionists













Two of my favorite subjects: Art and Paris. And the pair of course go hand-in-hand.

In this very sphere, Museyon has a new title in its Art+ series of books (a series that looks at various cities through the lens of their artworks). Art + Paris: Impressionists and Post-Impressionists has been released and will closely be followed by the re-opening of Paris’ Musée D’Orsay this Fall.

The museum has been undergoing a two-year renovation. Its makeover will be revealed in time to celebrate its 25th anniversary (the D’Orsay opened to the public on December 9, 1986).

During the renovation, its famed Impressionist and Post-Impressionist have been on tour in San Francisco, Madrid and Nashville as part of a traveling exhibition (‘The Birth of Impressionism’).

So, there’s no time like the present to start reading up on the works, and enjoying the artistic eye candy provided in the Museyon guide book.

It not only features replications of paintings by Renoir, Degas, Manet and Monet, but also includes unchartered ‘through the eyes of the Impressionists’ walking tours of Paris. A resounding oui to that!

FUMI Design Gallery’s Mediterranean Satellite

Fumi Design Gallery, Sardinia Italy

For the third year, London’s design boutique Gallery FUMI has opened the doors of its satellite shop in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

They’re promising jewelry and interiors pieces by big name designers like Ron Arad as well as up-and-comers such as Max Lamb and Pieke Bergmans.

FUMI’s Mediterranean satellite is located at Promenade du Port, Via del Porto Vecchio in beautiful Sardinia, Italia.

Related: Contemporary Art Travel Destinations Worldwide