Experiencing nature with Stephen Wong Chun Hei

Armed with a sketchbook, the artist has traveled across Hong Kong and the world to experience breathtaking landscapes

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“I want to experience the landscape before I start painting” – UBS Art Collection artist Stephen Wong Chun Hei is driven by his passion for exploring nature, and has traveled to some of the most extraordinary landscapes across Hong Kong and around the world. Upon returning to his studio, he uses his sketches and memories to reimagine his experiences on canvas.

With lockdowns and travel restrictions in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wong was compelled to “do the traveling from home” and began to explore the world through VR technology and Google Earth. Each day he would choose a location that he had not previously encountered, continuing his practice of sketching his experience in real time while opening his mind and imagination.

Bright and highly saturated, the artist’s works are also known to push the boundaries of color in landscape painting. A couple of years ago, he found himself with an excess of magenta paint: “I really wanted to use them up” he says. The artist began to experiment with the color, and discovered that magenta worked well with the green hues associated with nature.

Wong’s ‘Matterhorn’ (2022) and ‘The Sharp Peak’ (2022), commissioned by the UBS Art Collection for the UBS office in Hong Kong, connect landscapes from the East and West. Portraying the iconic Swiss Matterhorn and the Sharp Peak in Hong Kong, the artist believes that these two locations echo each other with similar shaped peaks. “I’m quite happy that in this project I can really show them together” he adds.

“Whenever I’m quite stuck in my mind, I will go out to explore in nature.” Reflecting on the power of nature to bring a sense of calm, the artist hopes that “everyone really treasures the things that we’ve got in the world.”