Chan Keng Tin 陳鏡田


Background and Early Exhibitions


Chan Keng Tin (born 1979, Zhejiang) graduated with a degree in Fine Art from the Chinese Culture University of Taiwan in 2003.


He received a Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2006. Inspired by Shen Zhou's works in his childhood, he learned about traditional landscape painting. In 2008, he joined the Luyushun Workshop of the China National Academy of Painting. Currently a member of the Society of Chinese Painting (Hong Kong), he lectures at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


His artwork Memory for Tour to Tailu Mountain received the Outstanding Award at the 11th National Art Exhibition in China in 2009. In 2011, he held his solo exhibition – Men Wai Cang Lang (The Art Exhibition of Chan Keng Tin) at the Guyuan Museum of Art, Zhuhai. In 2012, Cloud and Sea received the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Award, presented by the Hong Kong Museum of Art. His The Buddhist Subtleties 01 received the Outstanding Award at the 12th National Art Exhibition in China in 2014.


Discussions with the Artist


Were there any special moments or incidents that have made an impact on you as an artist?


My journey as an artist is still ongoing. I think my two years in Beijing had a huge impact, because they gave me an opportunity to observe trends in the world of ink art there. When I first arrived I focused on traditional landscape painting. I was invited to participate in a group exhibition at the China National Academy of Painting, and at one point I walked past my own work without noticing. That made me realize that the expressiveness of my work was limited and so I began moving beyond traditional ink art.


What is your greatest source of inspiration? Has the city of Hong Kong inspired you in any way?


It is difficult to explain my inspirations. Some come from my memories of travelling, others are scenes that come to me in dreams. Sometimes I work purposefully towards a particular objective. Mostly, my inspirations come from reading. For instance, Shan Hai Jing (Classics of Mountains and Rivers) inspired my artwork Xihuang Ruixiang and my The Buddist Subtleties series was inspired by a Buddhist story. For my latest creations, I try to avoid purely figurative landscape painting. The city of Hong Kong is more spiritually inspiring to me, such as the ways urban life and inner aspirations collide.


An artist encounters many twists and turns while creating works. Please share any memorable experiences.


With my previous works, I tended to express sublime imagery such as magical clouds and grand mountains. The composition consisted of large-scale scenery and expressed the spirit of the place. However, I have found that this kind of work lacks emotion, and I tried to bring living creatures into my work. Eventually they became the main characters. Recently, I have been using deer as the main theme of my work. Initially this was because of cultural significance to Buddhism (which is an area I often explore), but I later realized that the silent gestures of deer also convey my inner feelings and pursuits