Gaylord Chan did not take up painting until he was 42 years old. In his early life he worked at Cable and Wireless Plc as special advisor and OLUHO (Okinawa Lusong Island Hong Kong) Submarine communications cable project. His expertise was in air waves and frequencies, rather than in form and colour. Yet his interest in and passion for the vividness of life around him led him to seek out art as a means of expression. In 1968 Gaylord began to study visual arts at the University of Hong Kong's Extramural Studies Centre, and he never looked back. He soon became a dedicated painter, and one of the most active members of the early Hong Kong contemporary arts scene. Gaylord was the co-founder of the Hong Kong Visual Arts Society in 1974 and was a founding member of the Artmatch Group in 1995. Awarded an MBE in 1986, he was also the recipient of the 'Artist of the Year Award' from Hong Kong Artists Guild in 1990, and Bronze Bauhinia Star from the HKSAR Government in 2013. In 1989 he and Josephine Chow co-founded the Culture Corner Academy, a teaching studio which has mentored dozens of artists over the years, as well as inspired many others to make art an integral part of their lives.Read More
Gaylord Chan describes his paintings as conversations between himself and the canvas. He says each work is spontaneous and springs from the heart. He is inspired by anything, from a plain bottle of pills to a display of Eskimo art to drawings by his students. Once an idea is formed, he says he feels driven to put it on canvas. Chan admires modern and contemporary masters both East and West, such as Francis Bacon, Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Huang Binhong, Qi Baishi and Xu Wei, but also reacts strongly to primitive art. While he has nurtured a singular style, he continues to experiment with various media, gaining a reputation for originality and for an enduring iconography in his work.
Oscillating between the figurative and the abstract, Gaylord Chan's art is known for its simplicity, invigorating ordinary things with a unique pictorial composition. In 1997, Gaylord was commissioned by the MTR Hong Kong to create a monumental mural Swift and Safe that is permanently displayed in the main subway from Hong Kong Station to Central Station.
For health reasons, he rechanneled his artistic creativity from painting to computer drawings. Using basic computer software, Chan has developed a brand new language of artistic expression. At the age of 92, the artist retains his passion and enthusiasm for artistic creativity having created with 400 digital paintings in the past decade, as well as designs for unique textile creations. Gaylord has participated in over a hundred major exhibitions both locally and internationally and his work can be found in major institutional and private collections worldwide.
Text courtesy Hanart TZ Gallery.