Last time we saw Shanghai-based artist Hong Yi, aka Red, she was painting a portrait of Asian pop star Jay Chou with rings of coffee stains. The artist known for her unconventional painting materials and methods is back with a portrait of famous Chinese film director Yimou Zhang made of socks. The large-scale monochromatic sock portrait is held together with pins and propped up with bamboo sticks. Using 750 pairs of socks, adding shadow and depth with a black, white, and gray scheme, the artist reproduces the face of one of her favorite directors over the course of three tireless weeks.
Red attributes the reasons for her medium of choice (this time around) to the inspiration she found from a tiny alleyway she came across when she first settled in Shanghai. There were clotheslines made of bamboo sticks hanging various articles of clothing above this fairly narrow path. It surprised her to see such a traditional slice of life in a big and bustling city.
Through her medium inspiration she found a connection to Zhang, who is known to incorporate bamboo sticks into his period films (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower) as well as the Beijing 2008 Olympics opening ceremony. Rather than creating the portrait with t-shirts to echo the hanging laundry, she opted to use socks because they were smaller and more cost effective. We’re constantly amazed by Red’s innovative expressions and can’t wait to see what she has coming up!