Born in Dalian, China, Zhu Hong has been living in Singapore since 1997 and is currently a Singapore citizen. He holds a degree in Architecture, and had previously worked in interior design, architectural design and event design before turning to art full-time in 2011. At the moment, he also serves as an adjunct faculty lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic where he teaches visual art to tertiary students enrolled in high-tech media studies. As an artist, Zhu Hong is actively involved in the local arts scene. Apart from being a member of the Singapore Watercolour Society, he also helps the committee for the Federation of Art Societies.
Although Zhu Hong only embarked on a full-time artistic career in the last couple of years, he demonstrated tremendous interest and potential in art since he was a child. Having observed his talent, an art teacher in school once advised him to pursue art at his alumni university should the young boy’s grades for the other academic subjects remain mediocre. However, Zhu Hong eventually did well enough to enter another university to major in Architecture. In fact, he was drawn to Architecture as he considered it a discipline closely related to art, and would allow him to express his visions and ideas through drawing.
For Zhu Hong, painting offered an important source of mental and spiritual support, especially during his early years in Singapore. Alone and new in a foreign land, he would often spend his free time reading books in libraries or travelling around to explore the island. For a spate of time, he was also coached in watercolour painting by prominent Singaporean artist, Seah Kam Chuan. Watercolour painting quickly became an immersive hobby and he never ceases to be fascinated by the versatility and poetic quality of this aqua-medium.
In his watercolour art, Zhu Hong’s understanding of, and passion for city life and architecture are expressed through the way he captures the spirit and essence of a building and its immediate surroundings. Adopting askew lines and unique angles, the instinctive and playful distortions of architectural elements in his cityscapes and street scenes exhibit a distinctive and contemporary flavour. The colours employed are usually vibrant and arresting, and they reflect keenly the lively tropical atmosphere of our island. By injecting an unconventional and localised twist into what is supposedly one of the most traditional and timeless mediums in the Western art world, Zhu Hong paints like no other, and his works inspire us to observe familiar scenes and objects with fresh eyes.
Zhu Hong sees art as being transcendental in nature; it is satisfying in so far as one devotes to it as a wholly spiritual and non-material pursuit. While he usually lives on a modest budget, he spares no qualms when it comes to investing in good quality paints and materials, sometimes even at the expense of a good meal. Such is his dedication and uncompromising spirit as an artist. In addition to watercolour, Zhu Hong is also constantly experimenting with other artistic means of communication that have evolved from the proliferation of modern technology and mass media. For instance, Crossroads, an art book he published in early 2012, features miniature sketches and paintings that were composed using his Samsung Galaxy Note.