No more New Yorkers
Updated: May 7
I’ve stopped making Hong Kongers based on New Yorkers
I started the whole project last march because I wanted to learn to draw but didn’t want to learn from just one artist. delving into the cavalcade of New Yorker covers and mimicking some of my favourite cartoonists and illustrators: Barry Blitt, Peter de Sève, Christoph Niemann, Eric Drooker, Arthur Kimmig Getz, and of course Saul Steinberg was a lifeline for me. Subverting their artwork and making it relevant to my hometown was not an exercise in ripping them off but an exercise in me learning from them, laughing at the wit, and climbing stroke by stroke out of a depression hole I had fallen down while bed-ridden with chronic illness.
I never started the project to sell prints, be exhibited, or publish a book. All that came organically when I realised I was on to something. But the inescapable reality is that my Hong Kongers that were based on New Yorker covers aren’t wholly original. They’re adaptations, subversions, pastiches, homages, whatever you want to call them. And as I’m no longer depressed as all hell and struggling with health, it’s starting to feel exploitative and almost lazy to take the work of great artists and ride on their coat-tails.
So I’ve made changes. no more Hong Kongers based on New Yorkers. That was a 2021 thing and an integral part of my therapy, but it’s not something that I can continue to do in good faith to other artists.
I still make Hong Kongers though
Like White Flowers, which I posted yesterday on my Instagram. But you’ll notice some changes:
These are all original. They are not based on New Yorkers now. There is no side-by-side of a Hong Konger versus a New Yorker because the original New Yorkers no longer exist. Inspiration now comes totally from my own experiences
The dates of my old Hong Kongers were the same as the original New Yorkers so you could refer back to my prints’ origins. However, given that there is no original New Yorker to refer back to, the dates printed are now either dates that are personally significant to me or the dates I worked on the art
The price and date on either side of the masthead have been swapped. This is more of an “if you know, you know” thing so that if you see the date on the right, it’s an adaptation of a New Yorker and if you see an adaptation on the left, it’s my own artwork. The only original Hong Konger that has the date till on the right is ALready Home which I made before coming to this decision
The signature is different. If you’re an fan, you’ll know that open series Hong Konger have my signature on them and limited series don’t. If you’re an über-fan, you’ll know that the signature is always my name in caps on a single line followed by 2021. My signature for open series Hong Kongers has now changed to be the signature I use to sign my books (btw did I mention I sign all the books ordered through my website?) the signature change is just a way for you to spot original Hong Kongers
Ever since the Hong Konger blew up beyond an art therapy lark, I knew I would not be making Hong Kongers forever. while I am grateful for the mind-boggling opportunities that the Hong Konger and its reception have afforded me, I do think that this new year is a good place to draw a line in the sand.