When Alana Tsui isn't busy as a model in New York, she's a passionate mural artist who travels the globe, painting on walls.
We’re all about highlighting the amazing creative talents from Hong Kong, such as illustrator Kylie Chan, artist Zlism and bands like Thud. And recently, we got the opportunity to sit down with mural artist and influencer Alana Tsui, to see how her life in New York is treating her, and what projects she’s been working on back in Hong Kong.
An interview with Alana Tsui
Hailing from New Zealand, Alana Tsui is a force to be reckoned with. As a mural artist who has worked on a multitude of projects, including HK Walls, a model, and an influencer, this energetic kiwi fell in love with Hong Kong when she moved here after a stint in the States after finishing university. Currently based in New York, we chatted with her about how she found herself as a mural artist, her project at recently-opened serviced apartments The Mercury, and her plans for the future.
Hey, Alana. Thanks for taking the time away from painting to chat with us today. Your parents are from Hong Kong, but you grew up in New Zealand. Tell us how you ended up living here in HK.
I was looking online and found a job opening for HYPEBEAST in Hong Kong. So while waiting for my visa to go through for the States, I flew back here for the position. I had planned to be in Hong Kong for a year but ended up staying for four years before moving back to New York.
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Great to hang with @jamaica_asthma and see her gorgeous wing mural at @themercuryhk come to life. Full interview on the site #hongkonger #discoverhongkong #capturehongkong #homekong #hkig #hkiger #hkart #streetart #hkstreetart #hongkongstreetart #hongkongpics #travelhk #photographyhk #streetphotography #hk #artfinder #artjournal #creativelife #dailydoseofcolor #photooftheday #lifeofaphotographer
How did you get into mural painting?
I moved to New York when I was 21 years old, right after I graduated from university, and the walls of my room in my first apartment was a dull grey-green. I asked my landlord if I could paint it white and got through three walls before running out of paint for the fourth and final wall, so I started doodling with the remaining paint, and before I knew it, a whole mural came out. It was so much fun and I immediately fell in love with mural painting, as I never had the freedom to express my art on such a large scale on the walls growing up living with my parents. From then on, I got more paint and would paint on my other walls whenever I was bored at home. I posted photos on Facebook and soon, people started messaging me asking me to paint for them.
Tell us about the inspiration for the design for the two murals at The Mercury
For the first mural on the rooftop, given the stunning view of the harbour, I wanted to focus on elements of water, fish, sunset with an iconic Hong Kong component, which was the junk that are all bought in together with swirls found in my patterns. Keeping it soothing and easy on the eye but still with meticulous details. I added in the main feature of the mural that is the bright fiery phoenix right in front of the sunset. As in Chinese Feng Shui practice, the phoenix symbolises harmony and luck, therefore, with this powerful feature right in the middle of the mural, I wish to bring great peace and prosperity to The Mercury building.
Moving on to the inspiration for the second mural on the ground floor, I wanted it to still bear a connection to the rooftop piece and be a social media photo opportunity spot that will bring people and awareness to the building. Keeping to the main phoenix feature, I decided to do a pair of bold long wings filled with my patterns that also includes elements of fish and water. Making it interactive for people to stand in front of it for photos with the wings stretched high up and coming out from behind them as if it were lifting them up.
What are your plans for New York and the future?
I want to give New York a good shot, so I see myself being based there for the next few years, focusing on the art and fashion industry by working with bigger brands on an international level.
If you’re in NYC, pop by @grayspapayanyc to see her most recent work.