Chalk is editor Brandon Ho, art director Calvin Ho, ‘head of the house’ Wendy Lee, and stylist Claudy Ho. All of whom are multi- talented, Brandon writes music for local artists and has his own band, Calvin is a talented graphic designer/dj who owns ‘atomicattack!’, a small specialist record store with his wife Claudy.
Chalk is a new magazine currently at it’s second issue dealing with music, fashion, and youth culture. You might see many magazines that deal with this same topic on the magazine racks, but will seldom see or see at all any that actually come from Hong Kong. It’s not that Hong Kong has ‘no’ youth culture, so why is there a lack of local magazines that deal with this subject? This is one of the topics that Brandon, Calvin and I discussed about.
Drafus: Alright, first of all, why don’t you guys tell me a bit about your background.
Brandon: Okay.. ahh, background, let’s see, roots sort of thing, hip hop, music… creative, I always like creative things you know, pretty much my background.
Calvin: I always liked fine art, actually studied fine art and then realised it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I went into design and loved it ever since.
Drafus: Okay, so what made you decide to start ‘chalk’.
Brandon: Well since I was into music and art, and Hong Kong is lacking in anything creative and original, I thought that there should be a magazine to promote talent in Hong Kong.
Drafus: Yeah I can see that there seems to be a collective of talent that you are starting to use within your magazine…
Calvin: Yeah, hopefully we can get more people to join us who’s like in the same frame of what we’re doing…
Brandon: You see Hong Kong’s got a lot of creative people but they can’t… there’s nothing that they can do. There’s no magazines they can work on, nothing they can do unless they do it themselves. So rather than everyone doing their own thing, try to get everyone together. That has more impact you know?
Drafus: True, hopefully something will happen with that. So tell me what you think about, if one exists, the Hong Kong ‘scene’.
Calvin: There is, but I think it’s like a mish-mash of everything around the world, don’t think there’s anything like… you know, unique.
Brandon: I think it’s very young compared to everywhere else, it’s all money right? Everyone says you do something creative, there’s no money in it so why do it?
Drafus: It’s all about the dollars. So what do you want to achieve, or where do you see ‘chalk’ in a year?
Calvin: Survive. (laughing)
Brandon: Yeah survive the year first of all… (more laughing)
Calvin: I think as a goal, we just want to establish a local magazine and just try to promote the talent here whether it be music or art, so when people come over here, at least they know that there is something here by reading our magazine.
Brandon: Just want to show people overseas that Hong Kong is more than just making money…
Calvin: …and cheap products.
Drafus: Your magazine right now is bilingual; english and chinese. Do you think you will always continue to try to focus on the two audiences, or do you think you will eventually shift towards chinese only?
Brandon: Yeah, we’ll basically keep it both, also to have people outside of Hong Kong read it as well…
Drafus: Right, you want that global audience. I also notice that some articles or reviews are either written in chinese and not english or the other way round. What makes you decide to write what in what language?
Brandon: Some things don’t translate the same, or some things that have a lot more people who read chinese than in english such as the bands,
Drafus: Calvin, as a designer in Hong Kong, we’ve often talked (complained) about the state of design here. Do you want to stress anything about the topic?
Calvin: I think that some people here don’t look at design as design, and you see a lot of plagiarism. To the point where you see two works..
Drafus: Uh… we won’t mention any names…
Calvin: …They do look to Japan (for influence), but they never look at their own country …we got a culture here…
Drafus: It’s basically people not wanting to take risks and being safe.
Brandon: We just hope that in the future, more people will be doing this sort of stuff. We see that we just got to start it, and people will carry on…
Drafus: Alright. Thanks guys.
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