Zoie Lam is an artist based in Hong Kong. She is the creator of the imaginary planet Zlism, a world she detailed with all its citizens and happenings. Positive energy leaks out from the kind-hearted characters as they come alive under her pen, all with fascinating stories revealing in one painting after another. Most of Zoie’s artworks appear as a dense and intricate tapestry of patterns juxtaposed with vivid colors. Through her drawings, Zoie would like to expose her ideas on different social phenomena. She has been invited to showcase her art at Busan Art Fair, Affordable Art Fair and Asia Contemporary Art Fair, and other art exhibition shows. Zoie has also worked with different institutions and companies including various schools, HK Arts Development Council, Haven of Hope Hospital, CR2 903, Harbour City, Elements, PMQ, Vans, and others.
This interview appeared first on Planet China Vol 11, Celebrating Women who push boundaries.
Can you tell us a little about you?
I am a fashion designer and a mural artist too.
She used to apply different materials and fluorescent colors in her works, creating an extraordinary visual contrast for a signature style that sets Lam apart from the rest.
What does art represent for you? What motivated you to become a creative artist? How did you start your career?
ART helps me a lot and so important to me, I can draw anything when I have something ( feeling ) wanna expression. I have so many ideas that when I am in my daily life, I will have many ideas for myself to carry out. For example, if I wanna try a different way to make my vision to the real world. I started to become an artist in my thirties before I was a fashion designer. I have worked in a fashion company, my work was to design the clothes collection for each season. I also worked in fashion graphics too. I have worked in this industry for more than 10 years. I gauged that I had enough experience to start my own journey, so I started to keep drawing for my own planet and my own fashion label “zl by zlism”.
Who influenced you as a person and as an artist? What is your philosophy?
I think my father influenced me. He is a Chinese doctor and he is a tough guy! I think that I learned a lot from him, haaaa ~ he’s working so hard, and he good to everyone, this is a good ability. He influenced me also to understand that I need to be good with people, be a nice person too. Concerning ART, I think when I was a kid, my parents need to working so hard to keep going, so they don’t have time to take care of me during the days, and my toys were a sketchbook and pencil. So I have spent a lot of time drawing by myself. I think that’s the main reason and starting point of my interest in drawing was when I was a kid. My philosophy is to be kind to people, and I will encourage people to do what they want to do and find out who they are, and I try to make people happy by seeing my art.
“ZL” is the initial of Zoie Lam while “LISM” stands for her philosophy and ideas.
What about your project “planet Zlism”? Can you tell us more about it? What do you want to communicate with this artwork?
As the creator of the imaginary planet Zlism, I am detailing a world with all its residents and happenings. Positive energy oozes out from the kind-hearted characters as they come alive under her pen, all with fascinating stories unfolding in one painting after another. “ZL” is the initial of Zoie Lam while “LISM” stands for my philosophy and ideas. Through my drawings, I would like to express my ideas towards different social phenomena. I wanna try to encourage people to chase their dream.
Do your style and your color palette reflect the way you see the world?
I love colors, and I think colorful images make me happy and people are happy too when I using color. So I will feel happiness too. I think that’s the reason I like to use colors for my drawing.
Zlism is a planet where many people live, they have different characteristics and they are all kind and with a positive mind.
How did you get into murals painting? What were the biggest challenges about this kind of art at the beginning?
I started to paint a mural in 2012, my first mural was for the hotdog shop of a friend of mine, and I feel so interested in this new challenge because the scale is so different than when I drawing on the sketchbook or canvas. After this project, I fall in love with it. muuu…. I think is about the proportion. When I starting to paint on the big mural I feel it different than painting on paper. On paper everything is small and you can draw it so detail whit a pen. When you paint on a mural, you need to mark the right proportion on the mural, I think this is the hardest part for me when I started to paint a big mural.
How long does it take to complete a project, from the concept idea to the final mural painting?
It will take to me 1 week to drawing the idea, and the draft, for the size around 6M( w) x 2M (h) mural. It will take one week to finish the mural.
Her drawings adopted to use pin pen and fluorescent pen; spray and acrylic for the big size works. All details are completed with refined brushstrokes and delicate lines.
When making a mural painting, the city became your canvas. Can you share with us any story from the backstage of one of your art project creations?
I just finish one from Causeway bay, and this one is my bigger mural until now, it’s almost 7 floors, there is a car-park, and the mural is not just a flat one, there have so many angles on the face, it’s really hard to make the right proportion, its take much more time to do it. In Hong Kong, we use the bamboo device for climbing. I felt afraid about that when I made my first climb up to make my mural.
Usually when people see massive art murals painting don’t think that there could be a female mind behind it. Do women get the same opportunities when it comes to this kind of creative work?
I think every female that can have her own concept idea and also the opportunity, can do everything and can freestyle to show people what she wanna do.
How much has Hong Kong changed in the last year due to the Covid 19 Pandemic? Does this period has affected your way of creating and work?
Yes, it has affected me a lot. Last year, when Covid 19 start in March, I didn’t have any job until July, but I keep focus on my own painting at that time.
Photos courtesy of Zoie Lam
The Jing Erhu: A Journey Through Its Historical Significance and Sound. Jing Erhu, also known…
The Cultural Fabric of Huluhu: Ethnic Music and Traditional Art. The Huluhu, a distinctive Chinese…
The Unique Sound of Gaohu: A Soprano Instrument in Traditional Chinese Music. The Gaohu (高胡),…