From Baton to Brush
Folk music legend Woody Guthrie once said 'All you can write is what you see.' It's pretty obvious that former police sergeant Kinsan Chung has applied this maxim to painting. His work a basic honesty and vibrancy about it that seems to have appealed to everyone except the art gallery clique who complain that 'it's not contemporary enough' which is code for 'it's not mainland propaganda art with lots of pink faces, so it doesn't fit in with what we're pushing at the moment. 'This is a pretty say attitude coming from a supposedly sophisticated international art scene in which Hong Kong is the 3rd largest art market. Fortunately this hasn't stopped buyers like. King Henri of Luxembourg. Former Governor Chris Pattern The Hong Kong Museum of Art. The Hong Kong Heritage Museum. The Toronto Art Museum. The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The Shanghai Shangri-La and the KBC Bank. Maybe they know something the galleries don't.
Like many local artists Kinsan Chung has always been hampered by lack of funds and had to take a somewhat circuitous route. At age 3 this New Territories farmer boy, made a life drawing of an old 'Morris' belonging to his father Ming Km who recognized his talent and put him on the track which eventually led him to becoming a full time artist. However it was a labourer at his primary school who pointed him towards his true vocation, watercolors. The man had graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, but laboring was the only work available to him. On seeing one of this man's watercolors, Kinsan rushed home and began to point his own. When his father saw his output, he wanted a master to teach him but he didn't have any money. So he told the boy. 'Son, it's high time you went to study nature'. He made an easel for his son and sent him outside to draw landscapes and seascapes.
Kinsan knew he was on the right track with watercolors after visiting the Hong Kong Museum and failing to find many good local examples. He promptly went home and, on his bedroom wall, he mapped out a strategy for success in the years ahead. He went straight from an A in his HKCEE art exam to a job as an assistant designer. By this time however, his father was ill and impoverished and the money from this first job simply didn't play the bills. So, after stint as a postman, Kinsan took up a baton, in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. But he never relinquished the brush Eshewing promotion, and using a letter of recommendation from his Superintendent, he began an evening course at Hong Kong Polytechnic, studying watercolors under Sephen Yau. Later, he furthered his watercolor studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong under the influence of Liew Come Tong. Meanwhile, Kinsan's Police work saw him manning the Sha Tau Kok border station, which inspired the work 'Living in Nature'. In 1992, these works were selected for the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Exhibition and exhibited in the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
In 1995, Hong Kong's last Governor Chris Pattern, bought two of Kinsan's works and paintings were again selected for the 1996 Hong Kong Biennial. The Hong Kong Museum of Art acquired 'Living in Tradition - 1992' for their permanent collection. The Toronto Art Museum, and the Crown Prince of Luxembourg (now King Henri) followed suit. In 1996, Kinsan tutored part time at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Chingying Institute of Visual Arts. In 1997, he set up his own gallery. The Creative Art Gallery, in the Hong Kong Art Centre, which evolved into the Country Art Museum, in Lung Mei Village, Tai Po.
Kinsan became the man to design and paint the brochure for the open ceremony for Chep Lap Kok International Airport and the man to design the 'Year 2000 The Dragon Spirit' poster. Life was good but when Kinsan's father died in November 2003 sadness overcame him. But even his came out as art, paintings of his childhood memories which struck an emotional chord in many people. Finally in 2007, after being exhibited in countries as diverse as, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Macau, China, South Korea, Spain, UK and the USA, Kinsan retired from the Police Force, and became a full time artist. It had been a ling journey for a farmer's son.