Leading Ladies: Sze C., Artist and Tattooist
The artist is showcasing artwork she’s created from menstrual moon cups.
Hong Kong artist and tattooist Chow Pui-sze, better known as Sze C., has been creating works, exhibiting and holding charity and live music events for the past 13 years. She opened her first art space, Artouch HK, in 2014. Chow just launched an art project to raise awareness for V-Day, a global initiative to stop violence against women, using artwork she’s created from menstrual moon cups.
“I grew up and studied here in Hong Kong, then I went to Thailand to train in tattooing. I’ve been running my own studio for more than 13 years.”
I’ve always used “women” as the inspiration behind my artwork.
Apart from exhibitions, I also hold book tours, movie nights, music and charity events at Artouch.
For me, rent is the main obstacle for every business in Hong Kong, especially art, since it’s not a necessity that people buy [artwork].
In Hong Kong, there’s a lack of this kind of experimental artwork that doesn’t sell, that’s made to spread a message.
I’m blessed that I can set up the gallery for my own exhibitions, but the key is that I can do it for others. Some artists I know are really talented, but really don’t know how to promote themselves.
I’m not stuck with one role: I’m a tattoo artist, an artist, a gallery owner, I practice yoga, I dance, I sell menstrual cups. For me, it’s just a title.
It’s surprising: even though the menstrual cup has been in circulation for a few decades now, how not a lot of women know about it.
When I used it, I found it excellent. I think it’s beautiful to look at, too.
Instead of telling people about it one by one, I can do it in another way, showing them as an art piece so that people can get curious about them.
It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But at least I wanted people to get an idea that they had an alternative.
I post a lot of information on pads and tampons and their marketing—they keep telling you how clean or pure they are, but they’re actually so white because they bleach it. They’re full of chemicals.
As a woman, sometimes you have experiences with infections because of those products.
Why is the moon cup still unpopular? These days, especially, if a product is more durable, it’s going to be unpopular. People just want to change something every season, just like fashion.
Besides making an art piece, I wanted something a bit deeper. This is a very sensitive, personal product for women users, so I thought to relate to women’s rights, and to focus on sex abuse issues.
There was a TED talk by Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues,” which brought about a huge global movement called V-Day to end violence against women. I asked for permission to show the talk at my exhibition.
I realized that a lot of girls in developing countries had to skip school during their period, because they have nothing to use. They are bleeding and emotionally distressed every month.
Pads, tampons, these are luxuries for girls in third world countries. They don’t even have enough food!
This made me a little heartbroken. I would really like to create a program like Toms shoes: if you buy one cup, I will donate one cup.
This is my first show, but it won’t be the only one. My idea is to go to different countries to do this project, to co-operate with a local female artist. They can bring more of an audience to help understand this issue.