Shanghai-based artist Red (aka Hong Yi ) is back and this time she’s come up with yet another creative way to pay tribute to one of this generation’s greatest artists, Adele. By looking at the choices of her previous subjects, including Mark Zuckerberg, Ai Weiwei and Yao Ming, it’s clear that Red has her thumb squarely planted on global current events and it’s inspiring to see her come up with new, inventive approaches each and every time. With a consistent flow of work over the past couple years, she’s been paving her way to becoming one of the most interesting mixed media artists of this generation.
In regards to her latest project, she says: “I’m doing a 4 part project involving the 4 basic elements: fire, water, wind and earth. So for FIRE, I chose to do ADELE’s portrait (also, I wanted to do a portrait of a Brit after the London Olympics!). Her song Set Fire to the Rain inspired me to use candles and fire as my painting materials…but why?
“To me, ADELE was probably singing about the pain of a lost relationship. Rain may be a metaphor for her tears she cried, and she is setting fire to it to burn and destroy her pain. I’ve used blue candles to represent tears, and by setting fire to them, they melt and flow into each other, forming a portrait of ADELE.
“This took about 2 weeks to plan out – I spent about a week looking for the right materials for it (thank God I’m living in China…I got them at a wholesale centre and haggled like crazy for a good deal!), and another week on working out how to use hot candle wax as my ‘paint’. The art piece itself took about 7 hours to complete, and I think I used about 1500 candles!”