Life changes fuel artistic inspiration

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 June, 2005, 12:00am

Michael Cheung Cheuk-man is nothing like a stereotypical artist. Instead of being moody and introverted, he enjoys talking to people.


Cheung even offers advice to bewildered souls using a hidden talent he recently discovered through a deck of cards.


Cheung, also known as Punchman, is a homegrown artist who has been showered with awards since he joined the advertising field in 1987. He won the Freshman Art Director of the Year award in 1989 and was the first Hong Kong designer to be featured in the British D & AD Yearbook in 1992.


After working in the commercial field for almost two decades, Cheung has turned his attention towards his own artistic creations.


His latest exhibition is called Flux because 'I'm the kind of person who is constantly looking for change,' Cheung said.


One of the exhibition highlights is a pack of cards featuring digital images. The Punchman Card deck contains 16 question cards and 64 answer cards.


The cards are intended to help people overcome their troubled emotions and clouded thoughts by bringing out their inner wisdom.


Cheung created the cards during a low period in his artistic career. He desperately yearned for new inspiration but to no avail. His turning point came when he realised that everyone experienced feelings of loss at some point in their lives.


Some of them seek guidance through New Age wisdom, such as tarot card readings.


Cheung's cards work in a similar way to tarot cards. Each Punchman Card carries a symbol from I-Ching, known as the Book of Changes.


Users draw two cards, then look for the symbols in the answer cards.


But Cheung said that his cards are not based on superstition. Rather, it is a game that combines psychology and sharing.


'It's more like a tool for communication but in a fun and creative way,' he said. 'My original idea was to have people play these cards during social gatherings. But many users ended up asking me to interpret the answers for them.'


The answers are based on I-Ching and also Cheung's own words of wisdom. Some are straightforward, such as 'yes, you can' and 'no way' while some - like 'revolution' and 'let it be' - are abstract.


Cheung interprets the answers based on past experiences and observations.


'The answers are just a reference. When you ask a question, you may already have the answer in your head. But if you're unsure about your feelings, you want someone to reinforce your options' he said.


Also featured in the exhibition are A3-size digital portraits. Cheung printed out digital photos on canvases, then touched up the images with acrylics.


The 20 portraits include famous celebrities such as late Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing and Anthony Wong Yiu-ming. The mysterious-looking portraits are characterised by sparkling eyes.


'The eyes tell a lot about one's personalities and state of mind,' Cheung said.


Flux runs until July 3 at Fabrica Features, B/F Prestige Tower, 23 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Admission is free. For more information, call 2367 6856.


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