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Thursday, 29 April 2010


Raining heavily in Hong Kong today. Always a beautiful thing. Keeps the pollution down as it scrubs the air and, at night, turns the neon filled streets into a scene from Blade Runner.

Conan Hayes came to town last night. He's one of my closest brothers and rolled through for 24 hours. Conan was a world champion surfer in competition with people like Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian. He famously crushed Teahupoo in Taihiti back in the day, a life threatening wave, massive, over razor sharp reef. He then quit the world tour and set up his own clothing company called RVCA, which means I get an endless supply of free t-shirts. He also trains MMA and his brand sponsors BJ Penn, a UFC legend.

We had an enormous night last night, I think I maybe got an hour sleep. We toured HK nightlife and met some really nice people on the way. A model with a gritty history who understood the world and another who had traveled the world and suprised me by pulling out her iphone and insisting i look at her drawings which were really not bad at all. Beautiful and talented, just like me!

I'm painting with great fury as I race to meet deadlines. Sometimes that pressure is a good thing but I'm so burnt out from the show I'm not sure where these new ones are going. Nonetheless, getting the job done and it feels good to have paint stained fingers.

I had to zip over to City University to talk to a class of 20 year old new media students. I always dread having to talk to groups of people, I'd always rather be making art but I feel this social obligation or responsibility to contributing to these kind of things when I'm asked nicely. I'm no teacher but I just try to be frank and direct about my world and try not to swear too much. Inevitably though I always end up enjoying these things once it gets warmed up.

I guess I really just like attention less and less these days but also, I always feel like a fraud because I had little education and for all the inspiration, insight i try to communicate, of creation and production, i'm from such a broken place myself, that i have experienced such violence and loss and have made so many mistakes. And you can't tell people anything, they have to work it out for themselves.

These students had been to the show and one girl said that, afterwards, she had changed. She felt she should make the most of each day, that the days would be more precious to her after the experience of the exhibition. It was a very touching comment, to have learned a gratitude. It made me feel I had succeeded in connecting. She explained it in broken english but she, clearly,  had understood and connected with the show. Subconsciously my feelings about time must have bled through the work. It's always a good feeling when you're reminded of how we are all so similar. Often we feel so isolated but actually we've all shared the same hopes and dreams, loves and fears. We come to the world with nothing, and leave with nothing but love.

Whenever I stand at the edge of a tall building or cliff, I always have the urge to jump. I used to think that was just me but it's universal.

Another guy said he was very emotional after watching the film where people talked about the death of their artist friend. He said he would have liked to have known this dead artist and he could see that the artsit was loved by them. He had no idea they were talking about me! I felt quite guilty explaining that it was fake as they were talking about me and that i didn't die.

Someone else said they felt after walking through the show that I was loved. I said, you reap what you sow.

Anyway, maybe the rain has made me sentimental today.

Just another day at the beach for Conan....

Sunday, 25 April 2010


It's Sunday and I finally took a day off after 3 months. I hit Big Wave Bay and surfed my ass off. Lucky to have waves as it's been flat for months here. But what an amazing city that you can be in the seething metropolis one minute and in 20 minutes on a lovely little beach.

I managed to do normal stuff today. Went grocery shopping, read the paper (Sunday Post who once again haven't listed the show! annoying!), rented a couple of movies, tidied up my apartment and stared at the pile of unopened bills that has been growing for months. I flicked through blogs and websites and news sites to see what was going on in the world.

I caught Spike Jonze new video for LCD Soundsystem, dope. Then I caught a bit of Solaris on TV which made me feel lost, read an interview with Tilda Swinton that made me feel connected. Catching things like this just fires my imagination. I messed around on Facebook which had the opposite effect because nothing happens on Facebook, it's cold. This was such a useful tool in spreading the word on the exhibition but otherwise it's a bit of a waste of energy but interesting how people reveal themselves to the world, that they're happy or hungry or what they just did or said. I think if I need to share my thoughts I'll just tell a friend directly. The blog is different I guess because it has more purpose and you don't splash it on random people, they come to the blog by choice.

We had our Louis Vuitton event on Friday which was hugely successful. More low key than the Diesel event with a very limited guest list but was very enjoyable. I talked to the whole audience about the show and walked them through from piece to piece. Many of the collaborators came along and it was great to be able to introduce them to the guests and allow them the opportunity to talk about their involvement. Simon Yin and co, Race and Rosie, Grace, made me feel extremely lucky to have had so many people contribute their time and energy to the project. It makes the space, the exhibition, feel so much more loved, and made from a  place of love.

I started painting again a couple of days ago. I'm so broke from all this I gotta get some income so am very lucky to have people waiting for new works.

Painting feels good because it's so direct. Just me and the paint. Hope and Glory is such a team effort and often the cash and technology limits your vision. I'm glad I'm able to do it all though, only in HK can you get such opportunity. People often ask if I get writers block and can't paint but I have the opposite problem, too many ideas. It's hard to contain it all.

Amanda wrote to me today to say how she felt safe inside Hope and Glory, that she felt respite. It made me very happy. I've heard this from many people now that they go in and just want to stay because it calms them. Because it's an escape. I love that it has that affect on people, that they feel peace. People seem to go again and again to further absorb it. This is a real measure of success from my point of view. That is has an impact, that it benefits people. It makes me feel that I've given a gift to the audience, like some abstract energy transfer from my heart to yours.

Many people have asked the same questions about the show. Why do it? Compulsion, an unstoppable force inside me. Where did you get the inspiration? From everything. How long did it take to build? 40 years.



Thursday, 22 April 2010

the endless

ok, we're almost done with chinese translations. very tricky stuff.
tomorrow, (friday 23rd) is the Louis Vuitton event. This is kinda private VIP gig but I owe LV because they've supported me here in HK for many years so am quite happy to give them whatever they need.
it'll be a low profile thing, i'll give a talk and show people around the exhibition. should be fun.

still trying to fine tune the show and one weak point we feel is the hologram so last night we worked through the night re-shooting monsters to try and get some good quality content for that particular part of the show.
it was tough going. myself, alvina, AJ, laura, eric were all there and we've all put so much energy into the project now we're all a bit burnt out. Alvina is always an angel, she gives so much energy and support but never asks anything in return. quite the antithesis of other people who haven't given much but make quite aggressive demands. amanda came to help too, beautiful and generous as always

the publisher for ArtForum (big international art magazine) dropped by the show yesterday and said he thought the show was awesome. he was a really nice guy too. i don't know many people in the greater art world but this guy seemed pretty switched on and genuine. he really liked the A Factor film (he actually knows Ai Wei Wei and said he'd show him the film). that's pretty cool because i'm really impressed by Ai Wei Wei's work so it would be nice to know that he saw the film he's in (you gotta see the film to know what i'm talking about).

I saw Terence tonight (he's in the A Factor film in the exhibition) and took great pleasure in telling him that people really liked the film. He's such a good guy. As are Simon, Derek and Vince who helped me make it. Art is so much fun when it's shared.

we had a lot of press come over the last few days. Cang Xin (who contributed a wonderful piece of worm) was here all the way from Beijing, one of the most inspiring artists i know of.

Anyway, here's some shots from last night....

Sunday, 18 April 2010

To do list.

The shows up and running but still much fine tuning to do. It feels like we've built a temporary contemporary art museum, which you might normally take years to build but we did it in 10 days!
So, apologies for it not being absolutely perfect yet but we'll continue to improve things over the coming weeks.

This week I will:

1: Add Chinese subtitles on all the films.
So many of the films were finished very last minute so couldn't be translated until last week. I've spent the last few days working on this with Florian and we're almost finished.
2: Improve the 3D edit.
It's still a bit off here and there, can do better.
3: Improve trapeze edit.
Ugh, this is a tough one. Trying to get the slow motion parts sharper.
4: hologram re-shoot.
The content is not good enough so we're gonna re-shoot on Wednesday and should be up by the weekend.
5: Fix broken neons.
The skaters ran into one and some drunk chick smashed another so they're in the shop now being fixed.
6: The book!
We will launch a book of the show but we couldn't do this until the show was up and running so we could photograph it. When  it's ready maybe we'll do another party.
7: retail.
We're gonna do a little shop with some merchandise, toys and the book and t-shirts.
8:Secret films.
I've installed a few of these already but there are more to come. Tiny TV's that play quick loops of odd thing. They're like paint splashes.
9:Skate ramp fix up.
It's so trashed. But we encourage people to come skate it whenever you like. 10am-8pm everyday.
10: Prodips paintings.
They're a bit hidden, need to light better, my own paintings need the same. Lighting is extremely difficult to install at the space. We had no idea about this until we were onsite building. very limited what we can do unfortunately.

Phew, that's a lot! And I got like 20 people waiting for paintings too! Anyone have any other comments do let me know.

Funny thing at the opening, people left their beers all over the sculptures! I've never seen that at an art exhibition before. People using hugely expensive and precious pieces of art to leave their beers on. And people seem to have no problem here touching the works. People all week have been jumping on the stage to get their photo taken squeezing the monster sculptures.
One guy tried to climb one of the big letters! Un-fucking believable.
Only in Hong Kong....!

Friday, 16 April 2010


2000 people showed up to the Hope and Glory opening last night.
I don't think I've ever seen so many people at the opening of an art exhibition in HK before. So on behlaf of the many many people who have put this thing together over the last year, than you all very much for you support.
It sends a very positive message out there to government and other institutions that have the power to support and fund future artists and cultural events. It can only have positive repercussions as it feels like HK is really starting to get into art and that can only be good for us all.

If you were there last night and you got drunk for free, just as I did, you all now owe us a favour. Please come back and check out the show over the next 7 weeks and bring as many people with you, as we really have to prove to the people that backed the show and all those that put in time and energy, that it was a worthwhile endeavor.

I am extremely grateful to all of those artists, designers, architects, filmmakers, musicians, etc who put so much time and effort into making this work. A truly exceptional team effort.

Anyway, I got an insane hangover and I was so drunk that when I got up on stage to make a thank you speech, not only did I forget everyone because I wrote the names on my arm and couldn't read it in the low light (sorry Amanda!) but I also sang 'tonight's gonna be a good night' so now everyone thinks I'm a cock.

Nothing new there.

So thanks again to all involved, you can't imagine what a big deal it is for me to have survived the last couple of years and to have built this thing.

With love.



Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Here we go....

Walked around for the 2 spare minutes i had today and ...Wow. It's just an incredible sight.
You can really feel the energy of the many many people involved in the show.

I still worry about the details but that's me. But really, the show is just incredible. It's so overwhelming and such an experience.

I encourage you to take some time to walk around and absorb it all, watch the films, don't rush to get the full Hope and Glory experience.

It's just amazing to me that we pulled it together. I still remember the moment almost 2 years ago when i first saw the space and thought 'hey, i could do something in here'. And here it is. All dark and shiny and full of love.

How I'm every going to repay the support and contribution of so many I really don't know but hopefully being part of the spectacular creation is reward enough for all.

Considering I should be dead by now, it's just fucking AWESOME!


Monday, 12 April 2010

hard day at the office

man, this has been a tough one today. so many little details that still not right with the show. i doubt the public notice as the show is fully functioning and looks insane as you can see from the photos.
but i see little details, some of which can't be fixed, like the lighting which turns out to be impossible to fix because of very limited power and access in the space.

anyway, we'll see what we can throw together in the next 24 hours to improve things. except we can't afford anything so I'm trying to do it all myself lo fi.
also the horse 3D is not as amazing as i hoped so i'm ripping the whole lot out tomorrow and replacing it over night with a big new system. lucky i can do a barter deal with the tech company so it won't cost.

anyway, a few bits of fine tuning but by the time the party rolls on thursday, it should be perfect. then maybe by the weekend i can finally sleep for more than 5 hours....

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Thursday party!

In case you don't already know, this coming Thursday is the big one. The huge opening party fpor Hope and Glory.

The whole thing is to be run by Diesel the fashion brand who have been incredibly supportive.

Entertainment for the night, apart from the show itself, will be live music performed by Gary Gunn who will be playing with his band, tracks from his Destroying Beauty album.
Also Hong Kong favourites Chochukmo who I recently designed their album cover where I painted them all naked. Gross.

It all kicks off at 8.30 and I suggest you get there early as space is very limited. Feel free to hit me up if you want in on the guest list.
If you're reading my blog then you're ok with me!


Saturday, 10 April 2010


well, it's all up and running and so far people have been completely blown away! people wander around for hours trying to take it all in.
it's a very overwhelming show, very unlike anything anyone seems to have seen before. It's almost like a mini Venice Biennale as there's so much going on with a dozen different films, large neons, sculptures, human forms, skate's pretty crazy.

The local press all came through on Friday, Apple Daily, Ming Pao Daily News, Milk magazine, and many more. They all seemed very bewildered! But in a good way. I guess many of these guys had no frame of reference not having seen anything like this before. They didn't quite know what to make of it all but they clearly liked it.

Of course it's easy to throw people in HK as they have no experience of this kind of thing but it will be interesting to see the reaction of serious curators and gallery people from overseas at the end of May when the big HK art fair is on.

It's been an extremely long and difficult road to realise the show, especially as much of what we've done are considered firsts in HK.
No-one has ever built art on this scale so that means any professionals (carpenters, steelworkers, managers, film makers, etc) have had no experience of putting something like this together.
The creation of the show has literally helped develop human cultural software in HK. Which is good for the next project, we now have an amazing team of resources to pool in future, people that now kinda have a clue about how installation works.

We sill have a few technical dramas. A film in 3D on 4 screens on a tiny budget is a really pushing it so it's not quite Avatar quality but with a couple more days of fine tuning we should be ok. Same with the hologram which has just never been done in HK before, let alone in art. The green screen work, for the film of the girl falling, should have cost the entire show budget by itself but we only had 100kHK$ and 2 days to get it right so it's not perfect but as good as we could do with the restrictions. I hope it doesn't have a negative impact on the audiences perception.

PR and project management has also been a huge challenge as there's so much to manage. It really is like building a Hollywood movie for 1% of the budget. This show, to produce properly, would have taken a few million US$'s, not HK dollars.
This management means the work suffers as I've been too busy trying to get lights to work and not having enough control over content but I'll continue to try to sharpen the edges of the show over the next weeks.

I'm very tired, haven't slept more than a few hours for weeks. Went out last night and got hammered too but had soo much fun.

Hopefully things will calm down a bit over the coming couple of weeks but still much to do, especially paperwork to keep the government happy. A lot of pressure from them to perform. The fund that are potentially giving us some money are under constant scrutiny as to how they spend their money so they pass that pressure on to us always warning us that if the show isn't successful we'll be in deep shit.

But I'm not too worried about that, I think as people start to hear about the show it will snowball through word of mouth and in a couple of weeks they'll be lining up to get in. HK is always like that though we'll continue to hit the PR side as hard as possible with our limited budget. We don't have money for big fancy ad campaigns but I'm sure the people of HK will do the work for us.

Anyone reading this blog can do us a favour and pass on the show info to everyone possible.

I got an hour to just sit in the space yesterday and watch some of the films start to finish and observe people doing the same. People seemed amazed.

I'm still not happy with the show, lots of little details that irritate me but I'm always like that, never happy with my work, can always do better. But the show is pretty insane. It feels like a complete escape from the real world. As if you've just fallen down the rabbit hole and for the time you're inside, the real world fades away.
My friend Amanda wandered around for ever yesterday and ended up having a  little sleep in one of the cinemas, she felt so peaceful and relaxed in the space. I can see that people will come again and again just to escape and dream.

If that happens then it really will be a success.

Some images from the 3D film and the green screen work of the girl falling.

Friday, 9 April 2010