Friends who have been following my Facebook page or this blog know this guy by now. This is ‘Splash Baron’ (Facebook page here), or HungWei Chen as known to his friends. He is a Taiwanese performing artist making living on the donation from his audience in public space such as Swanston Street in Melbourne where he often shows up with his bucket and brush.
Recently he was invited to perform at the TED spin-off event, ‘TEDx’ in Melbourne (TEDx Melbourne Women – Facebook page here). When he asked me about it, we talked a bit about what TED stands for, and what opportunity it may bring to him as an artist with such talent but could really use wider audience. He brought his friend Bee to assist/paint with him, and I came along as a support driver and photographer, well, more to give him a moral support.
He was unsure about this. First, the weather forecast did not look to be in his favour. He is a water painter who works on the pavement out there. He cannot create when it rains. When it rains, he sits and contemplates. He studies sample pictures, coins, notes, anything, to come up with ideas. But he cannot paint. And the forecast was for a rain. Unlike him, I am not one to believe in God, but I did wish for this force of universe to help him, grant him a couple of hours of sunshine. Turned out, it was a hot lunch time, so hot that the first part started to dry up before he finished a single painting. Thanks for listening to our wishes!
He had more concerns. His painting requires a specific surface that absorbs the right amount of water, so it does not smudge or flow too much. Although he went to the venue in advance to study it, the day he went it was raining so he did not get to try and see. So he was concerned.
Having seen him so many times now, I could tell that he was struggling a bit. It was way too hot, so he needed to put more water down so it will last at least until a piece is finished. But the surface of the concrete tiles were letting water smudge a little too much, so the lines do not remain clear. It was such a balancing act. If you have seen his portrait series, or more of his ‘signature’ animal series, you know the difference. But fight on he did.
Bee, who is an extremely talented painter herself (Facebook page here), has picked up HungWei’s brush before while they were busking in the city. So she is no stranger to Splash Baron’s style.
Yes, that’s right. She’s painting your friend there!
Well done guys! You make a great team, coffee and muffin deal!
Thank you, Jon and Tracey of the TEDx Melbourne for inviting those talented artists to take part of your event, and for allowing me to photograph at the venue. Thank you all the paticipants who despite the hot sun came out to take part in the creative process. There is no public art without you!
Please do forward your comment, snaps you might have taken at the venue, or any enquiry directly to the artists.
HungWei’s ‘Splash Baron’ – Facebook page
‘Flying Bee’s Love Art Travel’ – Facebook page
As for my event photography, please use the enquiry form on my profile page.