William Chong's Artist's Statement
I am a 17 year-old student attending Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver. I live with my parents and two sisters. I was born in Canada, but I moved to China when I was 2 years old. I started travelling when I was young. We enjoy travelling together to different parts of Canada. I paint as a way of re-living important experiences and places. I like to look for important landmarks while I’m travelling because they represent the place in a memorable way that other people recognize.
The medium of oil paint allows me to play with colours and to produce a finished work that I can present on the wall. My style is not photographic. Photography cannot express what I think and remember. In this exhibition, you will see a selection of cityscapes and landscapes that are inspired by my travels. I want to show that my family and I have fun when we visit these famous Canadian places. I make colours more vibrant, add details, and play with texture by using a pallet knife and different brushes. When I think back on these family trips, I associate the place with a happy memory--more colourful than it might have been in a photograph, but more appropriate to the feeling I have.
Reflections in water diffuse and refract the light. If done properly, they can add a sense of being present in the scene. Reflections are everywhere around us, but they change at every moment. Capturing the reflections gives the impression of re-living it at a very precise instant of time.
In the future, my next series of paintings will focus on calming landscapes. I will experiment by incorporating both real and imaginary scenes. You can imagine a scene that does not exist, which says something about what you hope to see. The inspiration for this future series is my mother, who enjoys looking at natural scenes more than cityscapes.
Downtown Vancouver, Oil on Canvas
"I painted this cityscape of downtown Vancouver because this is the place where my family moved when I was very young. To me, Vancouver is the most beautiful city in the world. For this painting I focused a lot on the reflections of the light from the skyscrapers in the water."
Toronto Sunrise (CN Tower, Sky Dome), Oil on Canvas
"I painted this cityscape of Toronto after I returned from a family trip to Ontario for my cousin’s wedding. The trip itself was an exciting reunion; I lived with my cousin in elementary school, but I hadn’t seen him much for several years. I had never been to Toronto or seen my favourite cousin in his new home.
I wanted to capture the brightness of the scene, which was sunny even in winter. I put special focus on the water in this painting. The water is not like a mirror that reflects the buildings perfectly, but like a piece of glass that blurs what you normally see. Textured waves add movement through horizontal lines."
The Hill, Oil on Canvas
"I painted this image of Parliament Hill in Ottawa after my educational field trip. This scene shows an important monument for Canadian history. I used small brushes to add texture to the leaves. I used a palette knife to give texture to the water and the sky, giving an historic look to the painting."
Niagara Falls, Oil on Canvas
"I painted this image of Niagara Falls after a visit with my family on a cold winter day. I focused on the dark sky in this painting and put lots of texture in the top half to show the clouds. The perspective focuses on the sky more than the water, since that is what you see when you stand in front of it and look ahead. This perspective is the same as that used in my other paintings. I used a lot of blue, green and white in both the water and the sky because of the fluidity and resemblance of both elements. I used bright red to make the Maid of the Mist stand out in the water. I used the same red to highlight the horizon above, balancing the composition."
Halifax, Oil on Canvas
"This is a painting of Halifax. It is the only place I have painted but not been to. I painted this because I have always wanted to travel to the other side of Canada, and Halifax got my attention because of its beautiful buildings and view. For this painting I focused on the water and the feeling that the plane is taking off."
Woman with Guitar, Oil on Canvas
"In this painting of a woman with a guitar, I’ve used vibrant colours and geometric patterns to make a visual representation of music. The bright red guitar is the focus of this painting, and I’ve chosen to crop most of the woman’s face out of the composition in order to highlight the instrument’s importance. I hope that this painting conveys the character of the music the woman is playing. The bright sun and the colourful designs on the figure’s clothing give the painting a style that is foreign from my home in Vancouver. While it is not a Canadian landscape, this painting highlights my interests in travel."