In the months before the trip I had painted Manchester’s Chinatown with the abundance of coloured neon, and I looked forward to tackling this in Hong Kong. The light is what drew me to this subject; underneath the heavy concrete ceiling of the overhead walkway network, the mass of bulbs call people over to the glowing meats on skewers.
I think this painting was a reaction to realising just how much food needs to be sold and consumed to feed the densest concentration of humans. I wanted the brushwork that forms the crowd to take on an intestinal appearance; for heads, faces and limbs to be caught at a glance amongst the fluid, organic, writhing mass of brushwork.
In order to arrive at the angle on the scene I wished, I was positioned out in the busy walkway at a point where it was already narrowed. This meant I was partially in the flow of the people and to some extent an obstruction. The mild imposition I was inflicting on people was always apparent in my mind when working, and yet I was really positively received by the passing audience. In the study of flows of crowds and likening it to fluid, this conscious obstructing is akin to being a rock in a stream or pinching the end of a hose.
A book featuring this work can be purchased at our Picture Library