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Dana Shek

Phoenix Garden

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Dana Shek

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Phoenix Garden by Dana Shek
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Phoenix Garden

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Dana Shek

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Overview

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2019

Paper

Unique Work

Dimensions: 180cm (H) x 350cm (W) / 70.9" (H) x 137.8" (W)

Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.

Artist Statement

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“Phoenix Garden”, paper cut art by Dana Shek. It is a labour of love which spanned 6 months in the making. The overall size is H180 x 350 cm and it is the largest paper cut art I have created to date.

I draft a few compositions which will work with a 4-panel artwork. For this oversized artwork, the scale of the subject is equally important. Because the paper carving technique creates very fine details. It is best viewed up close. Lighting is key as it brings more depth and contrast to the carved parts and white paper. After deciding on the design, I use sticky notes to mark the position for the larger elements. The wings and clusters of flowers will follow my sketch. I cut the smaller elements around the bird wings afterwards by feel.

With each cut, the weight and form for each wing and flower come to life. My impression of a phoenix garden unfolds as I carve into the paper. The act of paper cutting, for me, has a meditative quality. My way of working tends to be organic once I have the design skeleton figured out. For the final touch, I add paper feathers to create more depth and shadow to the artwork. These feathers are cut and scored by hand. Then creased and adhered to the paper.

Paper seems to be a very basic material but it is incredibly versatile which is why I love to use it for my paper cut art.

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Artist Profile

Hometown: Forfar

Based in: Hong Kong

Dana's parents were fisher people from the grass islands off Sai Kung in Hong Kong. They later immigrated to Scotland in the 70's where Dana was born. She spent her early years in Scotland until her family moved to Ashbourne, the UK at the age of 12. The family background and the moving has Dana well accustomed to the idea of perseverance, to build a lot with very little.

From an early age, Dana's artistic inclination stood out in secondary school. She followed her interest to study Multi-Media Textile Design at Loughborough University in the Midlands, the textile region of Britain where the industry boomed in the 18th century. She was trained to apply traditional textile techniques such as printmaking, weaving and surface embellishment to contemporary artistic expression. She experimented with a multitude of textile methods using atypical material combining skills such as sewing, binding and fabric manipulation to create textile sculptures or unique surface textures using wire, plastic and cloth. She made site-specific art installations to create an atmosphere or set a tone for a space using large-scale, brightly coloured organic sculptures.

After graduation, Dana moved to Hong Kong where she worked as a gallery manager and art consultant for 8 years. In this period she continued to work on her portfolio and took up photography. Experimenting with new ways to interpret her ideas, she combined photography with hand drawings and found objects to create new marks and textures. She exhibited her works in galleries in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Great Britain. Her time as an art consultant exposed her to a wealth of experience with hospitality, corporate and residential art projects. She found it exciting and challenging to find a common ground that met the practical and artistic needs of both client and interior designer. Her new found sensibilities meant she was quick to tune into commissions for her own artwork while still preserving her artistic imprint. Eventually, the demand for her artwork brought her full circle and she is now a full-time artist.

Dana works freely in both 2D and 3D art forms; her inquisitive mind for new processes and new expressions allows her to transition between artistic genres and even bring together unexpected styles. She has created small, intimate sized artworks for guest rooms to grand wall installations for hotel lobbies. She has worked with materials such as paper, fabric, ink, acrylic, digital media and photography and her portfolio of media continues to expand. Dana believes growth as an artist is crucial, experimenting and testing personal boundaries can lead to exciting discoveries. Although Dana works with a diverse range of materials and techniques, the fundamental element that runs through her artwork is the love for texture, colour and surface pattern.

Dana's artwork has been commissioned for various international 5-star hotels, boutique hotels and corporate offices in Australia, China, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Turkey.

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