City slickers take a random chance on art

City slickers take a random chance on art

A workshop owner wants to nurture hidden creativity and get Hongkongers to beat daily stress with activities

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Young Post junior reporters (from left) Annie Lui, Minnie Yip and Tayyab Shahzada show off their finished shadow boxes.
Young Post junior reporters (from left) Annie Lui, Minnie Yip and Tayyab Shahzada show off their finished shadow boxes.
Photos: Jonathan Wong/SCMP
Some people say art is a laid-back form of leisure, while others think it is an essential part of our everyday lives. RAW - Random Art Workshop - identifies more with the latter idea, organising "random" workshops for Hong Kong's busy city dwellers. Three of our junior reporters - saw this as a chance to set aside their stressful school life and make a great escape to find out how to make shadow boxes. Check out what they learned ...

The woman behind RAW

RAW is located in an ordinary commercial building in Wan Chai. But unlike most highbrow art galleries, the RAW studio looks more like a comfy living room, decorated with vintage sofas and huggable cushions. The music is non-stop, which sets the mood for aspiring artists to discover their full potential. The walls are crammed with artwork and the cupboards are overflowing with materials to be explored and to provide inspiration for workshop participants.

One of RAW's co-founders is Joyce Yung. She may seem experienced, but it was only a few years ago that Yung threw herself completely into the world of art. Before she came to Hong Kong, she lived in New York, where she graduated with an engineering degree and then worked as a risk management director for a financial company for 10 years.

However, Yung had always loved art and was craving a change in her career. Once she had settled in Hong Kong, she tried to find a place for art activities such as painting and photography, but had no luck. So she decided to start her own business, offering art classes and hiring out photographers. Three years ago, she and friend Derek Ting set up RAW.

Minnie Yip

Inspiration for a new look at art

One might ask what inspired Yung to choose RAW as the name of her studio? Or what inspires her choice of the casual art theme?

Let's start with the name - RAW is an acronym of Random Art Workshop. The idea springs from having a great place where people can relieve their stress and relax. RAW wants to make arts random and entertaining, and at the same time, a part of people's everyday lives.

Yung believes city dwellers need a chance to retreat from their fast-paced lifestyles, and explore their creativity with some innovative activities. Designed to be more like a "random gathering", RAW offers groups of friends the space, the workshops and the materials to make handicrafts and have some fun together.

In particular, she wants to help people document their lives through scrapbooks and shadow boxes. Yung believes that Hongkongers have a talent for this, but before RAW, there was nowhere where they could let their creative minds and fingers run free.

Tayyab Shahzada

How to wow with your shadow box

To make a shadow box, you have to start with a theme. That's because when you have your theme locked in, you can decide what materials and colours of paper you will need.

If you're the type of person who has millions of wild ideas in your head, good for you. But if you are not, flicking through magazines and periodicals would be a good place to start.

Using a layering technique is important. Because a shadow box is cubical, you should make the most out of its depth. For example, one can make a paper spring and attach it between the panel and the adornment. The dangles will make the design more three-dimensional.

Don't forget to decorate the inner rims of the shadow box. While most of the decorations will go on the main panel inside the box, the cubical nature of a shadow box means edges also need attention.

Last but not least, your thoughts may be plentiful, but your space is limited. Remember to stay true to your theme, and try not to cram too many ideas into your masterpiece. Too many themes means there isn't a theme, after all.

Annie Lui

If you want to find out more about RAW workshops, go to www.randomart workshop.com. Group appointments are welcome.

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