- Tell us about yourself, how and why did you start Callisupply?
I am Sam, the founder of Callisupply. I have practiced Chinese calligraphy for over 20 years and won the Hong Kong Chinese Calligraphy Championship for 3 consecutive years. I started Callisupply when I came back from Beijing. Inspired by my experience in Beijing where the art scene there is less solemn and livelier to the public, I started Callisupply as an art & design studio aiming to make calligraphy more accessible and approachable to the general public in Hong Kong.
- What is the vision of Callisupply?
Callisupply aims to make Chinese calligraphy more accessible to the public. We curate art exhibitions to show the versatility of Chinese calligraphy and design fun gadgets and also wall arts to engage with wider and younger audiences. We believe the existence of Chinese calligraphy should not be undervalued in the digital era, especially in Hong Kong. Thanks to the exhibition, with the support and endorsement from audiences and media attention, we are happy to see that there are more commissioned projects and campaigns which indicate more in-depth thoughts on the Hong Kong cultural identity in the commercial world.
- What are the biggest challenges in preserving traditional Chinese calligraphy in Hong Kong?
Although there are very few Chinese calligraphy masters in Hong Kong, the biggest challenge is the industry itself which is fading out. Since the late 90s, words and designs have been vastly replaced by digitalized type and fonts. The industry has shrunk so rapidly and teaching classes has become the main way out for Chinese calligraphy artists in Hong Kong.
I do think re-branding and new innovation of traditional Chinese calligraphy can help to tap into the modern market. However, traditional Chinese calligraphy contains a lot of cultural context and complexity, which is not an easy task for artists to handle.
- How did you come up with the idea of collaborating with streetsignhk for the pop-up exhibition?
streetsignhk and I share the common goal of preserving street arts in Hong Kong. Both of us would love to preserve the unique street arts in Hong Kong, from preserving the historical street signs to applying calligraphy techniques to re-create the piece. Therefore, after rounds of discussion, we are thrilled to create the concept of the exhibition – “Reconnect & Recreate”, which means the breakthrough from preservation to modernization.
- What do you think about The Nate?
The Nate is definitely a perfect place to stay in Hong Kong. It is located right in the heart on Kowloon side with excellent interior design, also The Nate is willing to sponsor the venue and support local artists in Hong Kong.
- If you were staying at The Nate, which studio would you like to stay?
Studio with Balcony studio! I really enjoy the lovely vibe where I could have a sip of coffee enjoying the streetsigns and calligraphy on Nathan Road. Also, it would be great to stay at the rooftop in the evening for a beer or so, it can definitely inspire me in making arts.