Stephanie Ho Painter - London, UK

Can you discuss your style and the style of Lowry? 

People often said my works reminded them of L. S. Lowry, an important English painter in the mid 20th century, famous for his landscape peopled with human figures.

Lowry’s works represent life in the industrial district of England while I have chosen metropolitan city lives as my subject.

There’s a lack of weather effect in Lowry’s works so no shadows are used to represent light. On the contrary, weather plays an important role in my works. The use of shadows is an essential tool in my works to represent time, location and movement.

The crisp white background of my paintings gives a more uplifting, happy feeling, compared to the more melancholic atmosphere of Lowry’s work.

Lowry is only one of the many artists that I admired. My works are also inspired by contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter, Julian Opie and Alex Katz.

Rain-Bow 11

Rain – Bow, 11, 90 x 120 cm

You have taken part in many exhibitions discuss the importance of exhibition to the growth development of your work?

Social media is now playing a large part in showcasing artworks. However, I do enjoy visiting exhibitions, especially being present at my own shows and art fairs. It is a great way to communicate with other art lovers.

I believe conversing directly with spectators can give the artworks a different dimension, they will remember not only the picture, but the story and inspiration behind as well.

I also take this opportunity to find out what people think about my work. Listening to comments help me improve and develop new theme and style.

You have a degree in Museum and Gallery Management, how has this background helped in your art career?

My Museum and Gallery Management degree is actually my stepping-stone to becoming a full-time artist.

I talked to a lot of gallery owners, curators and critics during the course of my degree. They have given me an insight to working in the contemporary art world and make me appreciate the hard work that galleries put into behind a successful exhibition.

I realised that I enjoy creating artworks much more than promoting other artists’ work and organizing exhibitions.

Derby 01 90 x90cm Earlier work

Derby 01, 90 x 90 cm  (earlier work)

Discuss the use of shadow in some but not all your work. 

The Still Frame series, my earlier works, are inspired by postmodern art and artworks by Chinese contemporary artists, the colours in this series are more vibrant; figures are more repetitive and distributed evenly across the canvas like a pattern. That’s why I feel shadows are unnecessary.

The introduction of shadows in my later series, Human Planet, enhanced the reality of space, time, location and motion. It gives life to the paintings, bringing them to a new dimension.

Frozen Planet 29Frozen Planet 29, 100 x 70 cm

Your comment, ‘Just like composing a piece of music, with notations hanging across the lines, creating melodies, conversing with the spectators.’ Discuss.

I believe paintings and music are both art forms that converse with the spectators in their own very special language. From afar, the tiny figures in my paintings look like small dots on an empty sheet. The process of placing figures carefully and precisely on the white background resembles the composition of a beautiful piece of music.

2 Wheels 03

2 Wheels 03, 70 x 100 cm

How does weather effect your work?

The changing seasons and weather play an important role in my works. I use colours and shadows relating to the weather to portray the behaviours, moods and activities of the people in the painting.

I purposely leave the background colourless so the viewers can have the freedom to fill in the missing information.

Frozen Planet 20

Frozen Planet 20, 30 x 30 cm

Can you expand on the techniques you use in taking the painting right around the canvas to the sides?

Also, the placement of your signature on you work?

Painting right around the canvas to the sides can give my artworks continuity and life. I want my viewers to look beyond the obvious, not restricted by the size of the paintings. They will be surprised how much more there is to discover.

Putting my signature on the side will allow viewers to concentrate on the composition of the painting initially. In order to discover the artwork’s identity, they have to get close to the work and look into the details.

FP Nano 19b

Frozen Planet Nano 19, 12 x 12 cm

Contact details:

Stephanie Ho

Stephanie Ho, London, UK

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, April, 2018