eleanor mccoll-hong kong artist
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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.

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lattice wool scarf- winter style-organiser bag- small handbag
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How to look stylish in winter

As you may have noticed we have recently moved our studio from tropical Lamma Island in Hong Kong to the slightly chillier Isle of Wight. After six years of living in constant humidity I had forgotten quite how many layers an English winter requires. Scarves can (and do) stay on all day, regardless of whether you are inside or out, so it makes sense to pick a nice one.

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Lattice pattern-lattice scarf-fuck weasel brooches
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100 Days of Pronoia

New Year and all its resolutions is supposed to be an optimistic time of year, which is a burden if you are habitually negative. Like most pessimists I believe I am a realist, that is to say I don’t think things will always go badly but I do think a bit of shit in life’s sandwich is to be anticipated, and moaning about it and hearing others worry about potential bogey-men is one of life’s secret pleasures and essentially what gin and chocolate were invented for. All we can often do for our families and friends is to just be there to help stiffen their resolve and pour the drinks as they wade through horrible times.

That was really the function of the original Fuck Weasel that I made for Lauren. A reminder to her that your attitude is both armour and sword. I find shit-deniers much harder to understand than those who have a colossal venting whinge about life’s unfairness and then plough bravely on. In our family my husband is an optimist of frankly heroic proportions. This is surprisingly annoying to live with. He sees every domestic calamity as minor and most major disasters as mere irritations. Like the cartoon where the character can run off the cliff and keep going in mid air until he looks down and falls, my husband just refuses to look down. Ever. We call it his pronoia – a belief that the world is conspiring to help him or a belief that everything is great despite the evidence. I don’t understand it at all but I do envy how much more simple his universe is. For him there is only fixable-shit and ignorable-shit and therefore he gets things done.

For me there is shit-happening, shit-that-might-hit-the-fan, old-shit-that-I-haven’t-dealt-with, and worst of all; The-Big-shit- that-I-cant-yet-see and every shade of brown in between. It is often paralysing.

At the start of 2017 I have decided I would like a taste of this pronoia stuff. I don’t think I could sign up for a whole year but I am going to commit to 100 days of positive thinking and shit-ignoring which by my calculation takes me to April 10th, by coincidence the date of the first human-cannon ball act in London in 1877 and if that isn’t an act of positive thinking I don’t know what is.

For the next 100 days I will be wearing the rose-tinted specs and posting every sparkly and frankly tenuous grateful thought to counter the natural procrastinating grump which is me in the months after Christmas (sans gin and chocolate). If I promise not to use #blessed (to which I am severely allergic) please please can you point me in the right direction for some grateful thoughts?

Rats! already two days behind…..

1) Positive thought: two days behind on my positive thinking and therefore only 98 to go.

2) Positive thought for today: found a forgotten box of new pencils and got that ‘start of term’ feeling.