Mild or severe, life brings us stress of various levels – often it is not quite an illness but we still long to be healed. For local sand-painting artist Edwin and his brother, Western calligrapher Gary, they enjoy gaining that indescribably therapeutic sense through their creative processes. Recently, this duo has also set up a teaching centre at 17 Yun Ping Road.
Edwin, the elder of the two, frankly admitted he has lacked confidence since he was young. He took up his father’s business after graduation but did not find it enjoyable. It was not until two years ago when his dad passed away that Edwin experienced the turning point in his life. ‘I hit rock bottom at that time. My friends advised me to find something I genuinely like and turn it into my career. So, as a design major, I decided to enter the realm of sand-painting. These days, apart from teaching, I would also perform,’ Edwin said. Sand can slip away between your fingers in a snap. The more you want to grab hold of it, the harder it is to do so. Hence, while practising sand-drawing, you must fully relax yourself so that you can draw at ease. ‘I would experience an emotional rollercoaster from time to time, but I can always calm myself down after switching on the lightbox and drawing with sand for a while,’ Edwin continued.
The art story of Gary, on the other hand, is slightly different. As a ‘slashie’, he currently teaches calligraphy and works on jobs related to psychological counselling. He aspires to promote mental health through the art of calligraphy. ‘I have been passionate about calligraphy since I was young. I would even write letters in the air whenever my fingers are left idle. Besides creating designs for different brands, I also held ‘mindful calligraphy’ workshops for persons recovering from mentally health issues as well as people who have a pure interest in calligraphy. Simply with a pen and a piece of paper, you can bring back your tranquil space. Other troubles in your lives will vanish naturally if you can focus on perfecting something – be it art or other activities,’ Gary held.
On the day of the interview, the brothers were coordinating matters for the centre’s opening. Located at bustling Causeway Bay, it would like to attract students from different communities and age groups – more ideally, of course, students who appreciate art wholeheartedly. ‘In Hong Kong, many parents still think their children’s grades in schools carry the most weight. They tend to disregard their kids’ extra-curricular activities. For subject choices, they would also prefer their children to study courses which may promise a more lucrative career, so the value and importance of art have often been neglected,’ the two sighed.
Edwin’s Castle x The Gentle Penman: 5/F, 17 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay