Tong’s works, using the unconventional medium of custom-made stickers, are visually striking not only by the liberal use colours, but also by the simple cryptic messages they carry. Tong’s original inspiration of using the stickers came from the “Made in China” stickers that mark the manufactured goods coming out of China’s booming factories.
The artist’s works can be appreciated at two levels - first from large eye-catching messages so reflective of Hong Kong’s cityscape of neon signage, billboards, pamphlets, flyers, that are contributing to the hectic pace and information overload of the everyday life and second, the often humorous and ironical fine prints on the very stickers that compose the artworks. The paradox and tensions as a result of the witty juxtaposition of the texts stimulate deeper reflections about Tong’s works.
Tong deliberately uses common phrases from his daily life in Hong Kong that are so deeply ingrained into the social psyche to the point of being clichés. This focus on repetition and the mundane is an important aspect of Tong’s practice, for the artist, this is where the common becomes anonymous. The duality of the messages in Tong’s works reflect the complexity of the issues faced by the people of Hong Kong, including the city’s identity, culture and values.
Born in Hong Kong in 1979, Damon Tong received his Bachelor of Art degree in Fine Art from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (co-presented with the Hong Kong Art School) in 2008 and his Master of Visual Arts from the Hong Kong Baptist University in 2013. He is also a member of Rental United, an artist trio established in 2009, which is known for their participatory practices.