The Echoes of Illustrations Are Endless - Interview with Kinchoi Lam

The Echoes of Illustrations Are Endless - Interview with Kinchoi Lam

The Echoes of Illustrations Are Endless - Interview with Kinchoi Lam

Since showing up on social media in 2020, #MilkTeaAlliance has been around for a while, and represents a shared love of tea drinks across Hong Kong (Milk Tea), Thailand (Iced Thai Tea) and Taiwan (Bubble Tea)! But the similarities are way more than that. Yes, people from all 3 cities love traveling and sharing their experiences, but it was also the way the youths were suddenly thrust into the world’s eyes as well. You could say that tea drinks are a powerful symbol of emotional connections and support!

This summer, we’ll be introducing the beautiful souls we met in these 3 cities. Let’s see what makes Hong Kong’s Kinchoi Lam rise and shine!

It’s certainly not strange to see Kinchoi’s illustration “Dreaming” everywhere on social media as the collection stood out for a number of reasons: it was selected by the prestigious Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and it was also an echo of Hong Kongers’ emotions when the city was put under the spotlight.  We weren’t able to meet this talent illustrator back then as he was in the UK pursuing his studies. Yet even though a year has passed, he was still the first illustrator we thought of while working on our #MilkTeaAlliance series. So we jumped at the chance to interview him, now that he’s back home in Hong Kong! Scroll down to see what brings him home!

Toys remade - 2-layer screen printing


Hello Nomads! - Monoprinting, screen printing and digital collage


AWW: How has growing up in Hong Kong shaped or inspired you to become an illustrator?

Kinchoi: Growing up, I always had a great interest in art-related subjects and that’s why I studied visual arts in high school and graduated with a major in creative media in university. I’ve always worked with different mediums too. 2014’s Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong triggered my desire to share the stories of my hometown with the next generation, so with my partner, I spent more time reading books and carrying out different experiments. And we made illustrations and children’s books. As luck would have it, the first illustration book we created won the Award for Creative Writing in Chinese in 2016 and got published thereafter. This experience has also escalated my eagerness in learning illustration, and that’s why I pursued a Master Degree in Illustration in Cambridge, UK later on.



March Comes in Like A Lion - Three-layer screen printing


AWW: Can you share an illustration that best represents you and Hong Kong?

Kinchoi: I really enjoy living in Hong Kong as I can always visit really beautiful mountain trails easily. Back in the days when I worked in my studio on Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, I thrived in the hustle and bustle of this fast-paced city, and whenever I encountered any doldrums in work, I would walk to the Wan Chai Gap Road. This illustration was done after my visit to the Dutch Path there. I love how the sunlight falls on the corner of the path, and I think this illustration can best represent me and Hong Kong. 

Dutch Path - Watercolour


AWW: Your work “Dreaming” has been selected by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. What's the most satisfying part about illustrating this project and what are the messages or stories you want to tell through your work?

Kinchoi: During the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, I was studying printmaking in Cambridge. The collection “Dreaming” reflects what I saw live on streaming platforms. I used mono-print to convey the scenes. Through scratching away the ink and the repetitive printing process, it was also an emotional outlet for me. I wish people can understand that life is about finding light within the darkness.


Dreaming - Mono-print, digital collage



Dreaming - Mono-print, digital collage


AWW: You’ve been to Cambridge for a graduate program in illustration, and are represented by a UK agency. What do you think is the major difference between being an illustrator in Hong Kong and in foreign countries?

Kinchoi: I think the major difference is that when you are living overseas, there can be lots of new things around so I have new inspirations all the time! And you will be more open to explore and observe the things around you. I also feel like it’s more free to illustrate in a place when no one knows me, we tend to always care about how people think when we are in Hong Kong!


Sketch at Porto - Oil Pastel


AWW: Can you share any interesting or memorable encounters you had while studying in the UK?

Kinchoi: The first module I had in the UK was about observational drawing, and everyone in class brought a sketchbook with them all the time in order to sketch things every day and night! The pub is another important encounter that I wouldn’t forget, I remembered the days when I would go to the pubs with my classmates and enjoyed the beer there while illustrating! It was one of the best experiences I had!


Sketch at a pub - Ink


AWW: Can you recommend 3 illustrators that you want to collaborate with or follow closely on Instagram?

Kinchoi: 1. Arthur Vergani (@arthurvergani), 2. Sonia Albert (@sonialbert_), 3. Jin Kitamura (@jin.kitamura.5)

AWW: Okay, so here comes the last question: which animal do you think best represents your inner self and why?

Kinchoi: I wish I am a whale, so that I can have a huge body and escape from the crowd.


The Bird Who Sleeps in the Wind - Mono-print


Dog - mono-print, animation

Nomads - 4-layer screen printing

Morning Assembly - Pencil on Paper

Waiting - Ink on Paper

Dreaming - Mono-print, digital collage


To find out more about Kinchoi Lam, please visit the artist’s IG account  |  @lamkinchoi
All images provided by Kinchoi Lam. Artist’s profile photo taken by South Ho.

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