so glad you're
Photo by Kiro Denev
Michelle Fung (Michelle Kuen Suet Fung) 馮捲雪
Hello! Thank you for finding me in an ocean of artists! I make art that portrays a world in 2084. I work in ever-expanding media including drawing and painting, installations, animation, books, woodcuts and more to come!
In this 2084 world, there are five imaginary countries: Contradictoria, Northlandia, Dreamland, the Aristocratic Union and the Republic of Strata. I began this project in 2015, and plan to continue until 2084.
In order to make my works, I have to constantly teach myself new skills. Seven years ago, I had zero knowledge in animation. Today, I have traveled the world with my first film and am leading my own talented team for my second. Four years ago, I had never done a single woodcut. Now I have shown my woodcuts in prestigious printmaking journals, biennials, conferences and museums. Three months ago, I would laugh at the idea of building my own website. Today, you are now reading my labour of love.
Because no is not an option.
If you want to know more about me as a living breathing animal, scroll down! Otherwise, choose a black box to continue exploring the world of 2084.
I used to go by Michelle Kuen Suet Fung. After receiving an engraved notebook “Michelle Kuen” on the cover (sad emoji), I wonder if I should go by Michelle Fung.
Hong Kong Canadian Artist
When did you start making art?
I have been making art since…forever donkey years.
When I was two, I expressed my artistic vision on my mom’s sewing machine and on the living room wall. My wise parents said nothing and let me choose our wallpaper during our next home renovation. The pink balloons and textured ivory became too precious a surface. I resorted to the underside of our coffee table as my new go-to canvas. Imagine my glee when, years later, the movers flipped our coffee table! Sadly my parents didn’t know about the importance of documentation then.
I am incredibly lucky that not only was I born into an Asian family that’s supportive of my art (LOTTERY!) but I was also married into an Asian family that’s equally supportive!!! In 2018, my husband’s family (four adults and one toddler) flew to San Francisco for my exhibition. That’s just unheard of.
I know how lucky I have been, and I can’t wait to share some of my blessings with the world. I love guiding and nurturing and working with young creatives! It is so incredibly rewarding to watch them transform into more mature and confident versions in a matter of months. Oh, and everything else being equal, I always want to work with girls. Because, girls are awesome. Why wouldn’t you want to work with girls?
Photo by Rico Tsui
Photo by Rico Tsui
"Michelle is devoted to her art practice and the visionary world of 2048 she has created. It is an epic thought-provoking tale that reflects the dreams and despair of the world we live in. She ingeniously combines contemporary issues with various traditional artmaking techniques in her works.
In 2019, we worked with Michelle to realize with her the solo exhibition at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, featuring works from the award-winning series “Plastic, plastic, everywhere!”. It involved setting up a large hand-painted mural, with over thirty pieces of original artworks displayed at two unconventional exhibition venues on campus. The collaboration was superbly efficient and smooth on all ends. We are excited to collaborate again for her solo exhibition at Varna City Art Gallery Boris Georgiev, Bulgaria in 2022.
Michelle’s art world not only shows empathy and imagination for viewers, but it is also insightful for those who have been involved in the making process."
Hilda Chan & Iven Cheung
Curators of MUSTHAVEKEYS
What's your inspiration?
I do not believe in talent and inspiration. I believe in hard work and persistence. I mean, you can’t really bring your inspiration to the copyright lawyers.
Art is in the execution. Beyond school, people judge you by your performance, not by your inspiration. My husband doesn’t even bat an eye at my 17h workdays, but I’m always worried that I’m not working hard enough. So I constantly pester him for affirmation.
Do I work hard?
He’s annoyed but still answers my questions. I guess that’s love.
Oh, my love languages are quality time, verbal affirmation and food. So if you love me, feed me and tell me how wonderful I am. I am ENPF, although my engineer father has trained me to becoming more ENFJ by the day.
I have no patience for people who don’t deliver. I am a hyper-demanding leader (sorry team), but I promise to be fair and caring. Read what my team says.
I love wearing animal hats, make animal noises and eat and draw and paint and carve animals. I know I’m supposed to be vegan because I am an environmentalist. (Still working on that one. Maybe.) I must have bloody steaks on my bloody days. I do love my rabbit food though and get very cranky without fresh vegetables.
I have always LOVED working from home (that’s Hong Kong right now.) I have a studio in Shau Kei Wan and also love working on the beach, but I mostly work from home. I bet I get 30-50% more work done because I can work in my robe and lying down on my couch (which I am doing now.)
I have had a dream home vision of a little round white ocean-view house since age 20. You walk into a spiral staircase through the front door. The bright and airy studio takes up the entire upstairs flooded with light through the skylight.
Bedroom? Kitchen? Who cares?
I also love dumspter diving, second-hand clothes, second-hand furniture and appliances. I may upgrade to vintage but never to designer. My dream home is full of second-hand furniture and artworks.
Where do you work?
Kuen Suet 捲雪 is my Chinese name. Literally it means rolling snow. It’s a metaphor for white caps on waves in a Song-dynasty poem 1000 years ago. I know. Pretty darn cool. My mom studied Chinese literature. My brother’s name comes from the same stanza.
working on my fav beach
"Michelle Kuen Suet Fung is a multi-talented artist with a deep commitment to sounding the alarm on environmental degradation."
Elaine Elison, Author
"You are wonderful, bright, intelligent, talented, humourous, generous,
spiritually balanced and obviously loving, and appreciated and loved by others...
all qualities that make the world the best of places to live."
James Yopp, Microbiologist
What music do you listen to when you work?
I listen to music only when I need to get into the mood of working.
I mean, for those sluggish days when you feel like a sticky slimy slug? When you want to forever live in your right brain? My go-to albums are Charlie Haden’s Nocturne, In the Mood for Love soundtrack and anything by Stacey Kent.
However, my work is so labour-intensive that I spend hours and hours doing repetitive movements, drawing, painting and carving. During those hours, I need audiobooks or podcasts to keep my mind perked up. Otherwise my brain complains there isn’t enough going on.
I do a wide range of fiction and self-help and lectures and podcasts. I get an average of 10-30 hours of active listening weekly. Currently listening to Blue Ocean Strategy (No, I'm not going to update this list every week.)
What else do you like besides art?
I ask my husband if I like art or food better. He thought about it for a moment and was silent.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW? OF COURSE I PREFER…then I stopped myself short. I wasn’t quite sure either.
I also LOVE swimming, hiking, reading, skiing. Most of all, I like working.
Oh, and my favourite food? Ice-cream, but only if it’s made the day of. Old ice-cream has icicles. Fresh cream gives a sweet fragrance that no words can describe. I don’t eat ice-cream in Hong Kong coz there's no fresh cream. Second fav food: steaks and sushi/sashimi.
I am hungry typing this. Be right back.
Back. My favourite artist is probably the outsider artist Henry Darger. I picked him (randomly) for my artist research presentation in Stephanie Aitken's Third Year Drawing class at the University of British Columbia. (Thank you Stephanie!) He was totally awesome but also led a tragic life. Go check out his epic book "Henry Darger: In The Realms of the Unreal."
Post-film festival hanging out with fellow filmmakers in Montreal. Yes, I did finish all that ice-cream.