eleanor mccoll-hong kong artist

Artist in the Spotlight: Eleanor McColl

Could you tell us a little bit about your work and how you came to be in Hong Kong? 

I am a multi-disciplinary artist, focused on collage, photomontage and painting.  I first came to Hong Kong with a great friend from University who grew up here. We did a two month work placement for the amazing Lindsey Macalister at the Youth Arts Festival and a fabulous costume designer (Roberto Conti), who had us making 18th Century wigs, horses heads and dyeing ballerina’s leotards. It was a whirlwind of experiences and I fell in love with Hong Kong and the creative energy I felt then, and still do. I came back to help set up an art school the day I’d finished my degree and two years after that I set up my own art school Chameleon Workshop which I ran for 11 years before changing the business to make room for my own art.

How much time do you spend each week working on your art?

I divide my time between working as an Artist in Residence in schools and my own art practice. I also launched a range of Fine Art kits together with a toy company a few years ago, so I try to dedicate time to growing this side of my business too. There’s not a enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do Art-wise, but I’ve learnt to  catalog my ideas and prioritize what I can do now and what I need to leave for time when life is less hectic (with three small children!) and I can give the ideas the space they need. I am a bit of a workaholic, although I’m not sure I’d be calling myself that if I were in any other profession, I absolutely love what I do and so I find it hard to sit still. I love the diversity in what I do as every day is different.

What inspires you about Hong Kong?

Anything and everything! From the peeling walls, graffiti and washing hanging from the windows to the shimmering reflections on the tallest skyscrapers. I am constantly inspired and I love the ‘can do’ attitude and open-mindedness that makes Hong Kong so unique.

Are you part of a creative community in Hong Kong or is there a supportive community of creatives you can turn to?

I am lucky to have some very talented friends teaching art and also pursuing their own art careers, all of whom are hugely supportive. I love meeting people and over the past 17 years I do have a lovely group of arty friends. However I wouldn’t say I am part of the larger art community as such and that’s partly my own reserve and reluctance to network. It’s definitely something that I hope to connect with further. Being an artist is very much like running your own business and that doesn’t come naturally to most creatives, but like anyone in business you have to go and get it, it doesn’t just come to you. I feel ready for that now.

Funnily enough, it’s been on my to do list to try and set up an informal creative community or collective, but again…I just need a longer day!

What’s next for you in 2017?

This year I’ve been asked to join the Micro Galleries team as a Creative Associate (Global), which is hugely exciting. Micro Galleries is a free global arts initiative that brings together international and local artists and sets up open-air galleries in urban spaces that are in creative and/or social need. I can’t wait to work with them this year (you can see more at microgalleries.org) I am also working on a new collection that I am hoping to show later this year or in early 2018 – watch this space!

Keep up to date with Eleanor’s latest news and collections
here and here.
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