Hong Yi, who goes by the nickname Red, is a Malaysian artist-architect, who “loves to paint without a paintbrush.” In honor of actor and martial arts master Jackie Chan’s 60th birthday, she has created this incredibly cool portrait, made of 64,000 chopsticks!
“I spent a looong time thinking about what material to use for his portrait! I finally decided on chopsticks – a symbol of the Chinese culture, Jackie has used chopsticks during his kung fu scenes in a few movies like the Fearless Hyena and Karate Kid. I used bamboo chopsticks to show that disposable materials can be reused and made into something else more meaningful and beautiful. I spent a month collecting these chopsticks from cafes, stalls and factories in Zhejiang and Beijing, then tied each of them up,” Red explains.
Red earned her nickname from her first name Hong, which sounds like the word red in Mandarin. Red’s grandparents and father left Shanghai, China in the ‘60s during the start of the Cultural Revolution, and moved to Malaysia where she was born and raised. Growing up, she heard stories about life in China, but never imagined that one day she would find herself living and working there.
After graduating from university in Australia, she worked for an Australian architecture firm in their Shanghai office, and was completely captivated by the city, which inspired her to create art using local everyday materials as her medium.
Red’s work has been featured around the world, and she has worked with clients such as Hewlett Packard, Unilever, Nespresso, AT&T, BBDO, Mercedes Benz, etc. She was also a presenter at the 6th and 7th EG Conference in Monterey, California, at TEDxkl 2013 in Kuala Lumpur. Red was named Esquire Magazine’s ’12 Brilliant Malaysians’ 2013 and given the Perspective Global Hong Kong’s 2013 ’40 Under 40 Designers’ award.
Currently, Red runs her own design studio and lives and works between Shanghai and Malaysia. She wants to continue to use “mundane, ordinary and often overlooked objects” to make beautiful art.
Red presented the portrait to Jackie at a concert in his honor on April 6 in Beijing.
Check out Red as she creates her impressive chopstick art.