Friends in Totes: Sim Chan

Friends in Totes returns with talented Hong Kong artist Sim Chan (@simchancom).

Sim Chan (陳閃)

Sim Chan (陳閃)


We sometimes work late into the waning hours of the evening, and from within an industrial building, it’s usually pretty darn quiet. But there are also nights where we can hear faint sounds coming from another studio down the hall, sounds of music, sometimes banging, sometimes drills. Those sounds came from the studio of Sim Chan, we later found out, and when we met him we instantly gravitated towards his work.

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“My name is Sim, I am a painter from Hong Kong.”


Q: What does a day in your life look like?

A: My life revolves a lot around work.

I usually sleep very late, because I enjoy working late at night, when it’s quiet out there. I often listen to the radio or music when I’m working, sometimes watch movies over lunch or dinner. When I get to rest I like playing games on my phone.

Q: What are the items that follow you on a daily basis?

A: I’m pretty simple, my basic phone and wallet, a sketchbook and a pen, and a light jacket for when it gets cold.

Q: Coffee or tea? What is your go-to order?

A: May I have water?


Q: What is the most attractive quality of a person?

A: Kindness.


Q: Introduce us to a cause/belief you care about, and why others should too.

A: I’ve always held the belief that human beings are a virus to this world. Setting aside the damages that we do to the environment, purely observing our populations, we’re growing so rapidly and are over-crowding the earth. Observing satellite maps we can see how our cities are becoming so populated, houses are popping up everywhere, we’re spreading like a virus. Then there’s the damages that we do to the environment based on our insatiable greeds, the ever increasing demands to satisfy our desires at the expense of our planet. No matter how much we try to recycle, things we create will always outnumber the things we recycle.

Q: If there’s a young person who wants to enter your field of work, what advice would you give them?

A: Keep believing in yourself. Also, save more and be frugal with money, you need to prepare for a long-term battle.

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Q: Share with us one way you express yourself creatively?

A: As a painter, I tend to observe the city a lot, and often use it as inspiration for my work. I try to distill those observations and sincerely express them in a tactile way onto my artworks. Sometimes it is via the interaction of light and colours, sometimes it is about how the buildings juxtaposes with the sky. A lot of my work evolve around my experiences of this unique city.

Q: What do you love most about the city you live in?

A: I love the environment, and especially the buildings of the city. In fact they feature quite heavily in my artworks, as I often contemplate and observe the cityscape’s interactions with our environment. I also love the Hong Kong language (Cantonese), it’s fascinating.


Q: Share with us something you learnt or discovered over the past few years.

A: Having perseverance as a creative is difficult, but I realised it is even more difficult to give up. Not only would I deal with a lot of regrets, but it would also mean disappointing the people who support me and my family. Letting myself down is awful, but I would feel even worse about letting down those who invested in me.

Q: If you had a free day all to yourself, and could just pick up your bag and leave, where would you go?

A: I don’t normally get free days, so if I do I would love to just sleep and do nothing. But there are also things I love doing when I’m not working. I really enjoy slow-walking in the city, observing people and things along the way, or sitting in random parks. There is something about slowing down, aimlessly wander and mentally decompress.

Sometimes I’d head to the Sai Kung Pier and stare into the ocean, it’s a refreshing escape from the city. Since I grew up in the Ma On Shan area, I also enjoy visiting the local Twin Bridge (孖橋/雙子橋).


Below, we just wanted to share some of Sim’s amazing work. He has a unique view on the interaction between cityscapes and its negative spaces, often the sky, and creates very tactile and introspective work. Although his primary medium is painting on canvas, he continuously seeks to redefine his canvas space, from creating unique shapes and frames, to paintings that intermittently-illuminate to reflect the passing of time.

Sim is truly a gifted and unique artist, we’re very proud to be able to call him neighbour and friend. Please view and support his work from the following links:


Instagram: @simchancom

Facebook: /simchancom

Enoch HoComment