For most of us, a “thread” is merely an ordinary object used in everyday life. For Hong Kong-based thread portrait artist Alfred Cheng however, he sees thread as his muse - his medium in which he brings to life a visual language. A thread is Cheng’s singular, exclusive tool he uses to convey his artistic vision, and his meticulous techniques present the subjects in his portraits in a stunningly realistic fashion. Cheng takes a single thread of yarn over 5,000 meters long and weaves it by hand around a circular wooden canvas frame made up of around 300 to 600 metal nails to create hyper realistic masterpieces.
The classic roles in movies have always been an important element that accompanies the growth of the public. Alfred Cheung refuses to utilize traditional painting tools and paints to create his portraits. Instead, he uses a thread and an algorithm that outlines the complex structure of the portrait. After mapping out the portrait over the canvas, Cheng then individually hammers metal nails along the perimeter of the canvas’s circular wooden frame, keeping within a precise measured guideline to keep every nail at a specific distance apart. There is little margin for error in his technique. Cheng’s portrait interprets a new dimension to the relations between algorithms and thread art, which redefines the nature of "painting".
Another highlight of the “City Face” exhibition is the use of “Emoji” as one of the themes for thread art. With sharp and strong color contrast, and creative application of lines to bring up a different feel of emoticons, they bring another interpretation to a well-loved texting culture. "Underneath even the slightest facial expression lies a thousand meanings, just like how a thread intertwined in different positions creates infinite possibilities."
Alfred Cheng’s solo exhibition "City Faces" is the first key art project of ARTICKS. A total of 30 artworks will be displayed at 13A New Street Art Gallery from February 26 to March 7, 2021. Free admission.