Passion for art comes first

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 June, 2004, 12:00am

The application forms from most of the South China Morning Post Student Awards winners usually include a long list of achievements.

However, the form from Student Visual Artist Award winner Justin Wolter was totally blank. This is what art is all about - it has nothing to do with fame and one's background.

'I'm quite surprised that I won the award as I'd never entered any art events competitively,' said the German Swiss International School student. '[Art] is something that I've been interested in doing since I was young.'

His passion for art is what impressed judges Victor Lai Ming-hoi, deputy head of creative arts at the HK Institute of Education, Hong Kong Arts Centre's The Art School senior lecturer Ho Siu-kee and comic artist Li Chi-tak.

'You can feel that he really enjoys what he is doing and is happy about it. This is something that you seldom find in a local student,' Li said.

The judging panel also appreciated the winner's artworks, especially the angles his took for his photos. 'His works are pretty interesting and have his own style, which is not common for average students,' said Li.

The 18-year-old will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship sponsored by Muji and two free courses from The Art School at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.

The self-taught artist was first introduced to drawing and painting through art classes in primary school.

Justin then gradually explored other media, such as photography, computer drawing, animation, graphics design and webpage design.

Recently, he created some mobile phone game art for his brother's company, based in London.

To the young artist, art is a means of expressing himself freely.

'There is no right or wrong in art. It's about beauty appreciation. You can't be judged on that,' he said.

Justin will go to London to study art at the Chelsea College of Art & Design. He said he would try to find an art-related subject he was interested in through the one-year foundation course before going on to do the three-year degree course.

He said he would keep his career options open. 'I just want to do something that I enjoy doing and which I can make enough money to maintain my lifestyle,' Justin said.

Runner-up Tai Wun-ting of Li Po Chun United World College will receive a $3,000 scholarship sponsored by Muji and a free course from the Art School.


Justin Wolter

School: German Swiss International School

Age: 18


Designed pixel art and graphics for a London-based mobile phone game company. Designed school yearbook cover designer; artworks featured in school open days and arts festival

First runner-up

Wendy Tai Wun-ting

School: Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong

Age: 18


Li Po Chun United World College 10th Anniversary Celebrations' Head of Promotions; Residential Block T-Shirt Competition's official Residential Block 1 T-shirt designer; Li Po Chun World College Chinese Cultural Evening 2003's promotion department head; SongBirds' stage and prop design leader