The comic industry in Hong Kong might not be as well-known today as it was in the past, overshadowed by the popularity of manga (Japanese comics) and manwha (Korean comics) or even the rise of webtoons. But Hong Kong comic artist Li Chi Tak is still staying true to the craft, his favourite form of storytelling. He's considered one of the most significant artists in Hong Kong and may well be considered a Hong Kong treasure himself.
He lends the visual language of his illustrations for the Schoeni Project's "Sham Shui Po is Still Sham Shui Po" project, a project that aims to encourage Hong Kongers to explore and re-discover the timeless charm of the district. The map highlights four suggested trails that exhibit an integration of the old and new of the neighbourhood, showcasing Sham Shui Po's multi-faceted wonders from shopping streets, local eateries to art communities.
Tatler sits down with Li Chi Tak about working with Schoeni Projects, his own memories of Sham Shui Po and how the comic industry has changed over the years.
Can you tell us how you got involved with the "Sham Shui Po Is Still Sham Shui Po" project?
Nicole contacted me and shared her ideas of this Sham Shui Po project, to see if I was interested. We know each other since 2012 when she was director of Schoeni Art Gallery and held a group show that I was included in called Hong Kong Invisible: Exhibition by 15 Hong Kong Artists.
How do you feel about working with Schoeni Projects?
It has been great! In the beginning, I was a bit worried because I found reading the map quite difficult. But, no joke, this joint effort with Schoeni Projects really helped. It gave me a new perspective when looking at this place and this project. Everyone really did their very best, which made me feel very relieved.
Were there any challenges to creating the maps for this project?
Basically, when I was drawing the map, attention to the details is really needed. The locations had to be correct and clear which was a complex process for me. Patience was the key. Since I have a terrible sense of direction, it wasn’t easy for me.
After joining this project...I got a better understanding of the changes that this old district has been undergoing and this is a very good challenge indeed— Li Chi Tak