Artist Hong Yi has a great nickname which sounds very familiar to me. This Malaysian artist-architect goes by “Red” because her real name of Hong sounds like “Red” in Mandarin. Of course, I think that tidbit of information is just too cool even though it has nothing to do with her art!
Red Hong Yi is known as the artist who “loves to paint, but not with a paintbrush” because she uses everyday objects to create her art. Some of the mediums she uses include feathers, food, sticks, socks, coffee, melted candles, sunflower seeds, makeup, books, tea bag tabs, flower blossoms, fingernail polish, super-hydrophobic chemical on astro-turf with white paint, tea bags and many more things.
Chopsticks And Martial Arts
After spending a month collecting 64,000 chopsticks, Red Hong Yi tied them into different size bundles using string. She connected them all on a steel frame to make it a suspended hanging piece that was connected with steel cables. This chopstick piece is of a very well-known international face who is an actor known all over the world, a fantastic martial arts fighter, and an environmentalist. Who is it? None other than Jackie Chan.
Flowers Can Be Birds
Fly Away Blue Bird
The Kingfisher was made using Gerberas, Butterfly Peas and purple Shamrocks.
Not Just A Red Bird, But A Cardinal
Northern Cardinal was made with Dill, red Gerberas and deep purple Chrysanthemums.
She Has The Right To Act Pea-Cocky
This beautiful Peacock was made from Butterfly Pea flowers, Bottlebrush leaves, Coconut leaf sticks and Alamandas which are also known as Trumpet flowers.
The Bird With The Funny Knees
This flamingo was made using pink Gerberas and brown twigs.
This rooster was made from Gerbera flower petals and leaves.
750 Pairs Of Socks
The artist states on her blog that, “When I first moved to Shanghai, I stumbled upon an old residential alleyway and saw bamboo sticks poking out of windows with laundry hanging onto them, waving in the air. I thought that was an incredibly beautiful sight. And the amazing thing is seeing something so traditional in a modern, bustling city like Shanghai. That inspired me to do a project in the old residential area that I live at, and I wanted to use materials that local residents are familiar with, but arrange and install them in a different way.”
The project she chose to create was a portrait of Chinese film director Yimou Zhang and he was made using 750 pairs of socks.
Adele Is Melting
According to her website, Red Hong Yi chose to do Adele’s portrait based on the song ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ as inspiration to use candles and fire as the materials.
She said, “To me, ADELE was probably singing about the pain of a lost relationship. Rain may be a metaphor for her tears she cried, and she is setting fire to it to burn and destroy her pain. I’ve used blue candles to represent tears, and by setting fire to them, they melt and flow into each other, forming a portrait of ADELE.”
This portrait took Red Hong Yi about two weeks to plan, one week to shop for the materials, one week to learn to use candle wax as the medium and seven hours to create the piece. Guess how many candles she used? A few hundred? Nope! Red Hong Yi used about 1500 candles to complete the Adele portrait. That’s a whole lot of candles and fire!
Playing With Food
“Let’s play with food!” is a phrase we all wish our parents would have said when we were much younger. Red Hong Yi decided that she would start a fun food art project on Instagram and play with her food in order to create art. It is really a very simple idea – use food cut in different ways and bring them together on a white plate to create a picture. Quite an ingenious idea!
Obviously, creating art does not require a ton of resources. Red Hong Yi stated on her Facebook page that she started the project in order to push herself to be more creative. I think she accomplished the task quite well.
All you need is love…
The loving soy sauce people and cherry tomato balloon bouquet held together with nori is a very creative way to play with food. I don’t remember my “playing with food” looking quite so happy or artistic!
Red Hong Yi wasn’t crying because she was sad. No, her eyes were tearing because the picture of an owl was made with onions and mint leaves. Thus the name “Owl-nion!” is quite cute and appropriate.
“I found four dogs in my oreos!”
There’s several things I know about Oreo cookies.
- When you eat an Oreo cookie, all the black cookie gets between your teeth giving your mouth the look of someone with rotting teeth who never brushes!
- The white center is gooey and I always peeled it off and threw it in the trash.
- Oreo’s are so unhealthy to eat.
Well, none of those things about Oreo cookies matter because Red Hong Yi didn’t eat them, she used the cookies to create dogs out of the white cookie center while the blackness of the cookie created a backdrop for the dogs. I must say that none of my Oreo creations looked so classy!
“Found a tiny little garden on my plate today”
A tiny garden with oatmeal dirt and a bright lemon sun is a bit whimsical to me. Many times I remember pushing peaches around on my plate to make them look decorative, but in the end, I shoved them under my plate to hide them. I was completely oblivious to the fact that when my mother lifted the plate she would find my peaches. Eventually, I acquired enough sense to shove them all in my mouth at once and then go to the bathroom and spit them out. Of course, that was only if my dad wouldn’t eat them for me.
Don’t Cry About Melted Ice Cream
Melted ice cream is usually a very sad affair, but in this case, melted ice cream has become art. With a pair of chocolate polar bears, the melting and cracked ice cream sicle became the melting ice cap in the Arctic.
“Sonny, if anything, just stay far far away from Colonel Sanders.”
We may never know if the chicken came before the egg, but in Red Hong Yi’s art piece, the chicken is actually made out of pieces of eggshells under an egg sun.
Just One Cucumber
Using just one cucumber, Red Hong Yi created a full landscape farm scene with houses, trees, mountains, fence and clouds. I will never look at the cucumber in my salad the same again. I used to think I was creative when I peeled the cucumber fancy, but this cucumber picture goes way beyond simple peeling of the skin.
Do You Like My Puffy Purple-Red Evening Gown?
Red Hong Yi used a vegetable that I think is really so pretty because of the vivid colored leaves. Yep, a red cabbage! This red cabbage Marchesa Salad woman in a long dress was made with red cabbage, mayonnaise, basil seeds and silver candy dragees.
Painting With A Porcelain Cup
The image of singer Jay Chou and Lucio Dalla were painted using only spilled coffee and a mug. Red Hong Yi was inspired by Chou’s song, “Secret” which is about a lost romance with a time-traveling girl from 1979 and heartbreak. In the opening lines of the song, there is a reference of coffee and by using the porcelain cup and various strengths of coffee, the paintings were completed. The Chou painting took about twelve hours to complete and the imperfection of the coffee rings in this type of painting is what makes these pieces so intriguing.
Just Be Different
I definitely enjoy looking at the art of Red Hong Yi because she uses materials that are not “normal,” but I also enjoy it because of the underlying message which is a reminder that being different okay. Not only is it okay to be different, but it adds more interest to life.
From the time I was born with shocking orange hair to a woman who constructed her blog differently than “all the rules” proclaimed a blog should be done, I have lived my life my way.
I think I can hear that Frank Sinatra singing…”I did it myyyyyyy waaaaaay!”
Each of us has something unique to offer the collective of humans. Knowing that there isn’t another you anywhere in the universe is quite an inspiration. It also should make all of us feel special. So when you think outside the box and have unconventional creative ideas, don’t hold back! Go for it and share your wonderful ideas and talents with the rest of the world.