Renowned Graphic Designer and Artist Kan Tai Keung Reflects on 60 Years of Creative Endeavours
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Kan Tai-keung is a name that's legendary in the international design community and the world of ink painting. At 82, he still retains the passion and innocence of his youth to pursue art.

He is the first Chinese designer to be listed in the "Who's Who in Graphic Design", he designed the logo for the Bank of China in 1989, which has become an iconic symbol deeply rooted in people's hearts. He is also an active advocate for the "New Ink Painting Movement" in Hong Kong.

Kan's works are collected by numerous art museums and private collectors, including the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the US, the International Financial Fund Art Collection in Washington D.C., the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Art Museum of China, the Taiwan Provincial Museum of Art, M+ in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the University of Hong Kong's Museum and Art Gallery, Cathay Pacific Airways, HSBC, Bank of America, East Asia Bank, the Macau Museum of Art, among others.


Kan fondly recalled his youth in 1960s Hong Kong. In his early twenties, he toiled day after day in a tailor's shop, performing the same monotonous tasks repeatedly. This routine gradually became unbearable, and he found himself increasingly contemplating his future. An inner voice beckoned him to pick up his paintbrush once more. In his younger days, Kan had studied drawing and watercolor painting under the tutelage of his uncle, sowing the seeds of his artistic ambitions. Now, those early dreams stirred within him, urging him towards a more fulfilling path.

He smiled and said, "I never thought I would end up doing graphic design, I had my heart set on studying painting and becoming an artist in the future, using my works to move people. Like Beethoven, his music is over a hundred years old but it still inspires positivity in people."

In 1960s Hong Kong, the tailoring industry followed a master-apprentice system, where apprentices not only did the cutting and sewing work, but also had to help the master buy groceries, cook meals, and do laundry. He had a resolute and diligent character. In his spare time, he took advantage to study Chinese ink painting under Professor Lui Shou-kwan and design courses under Wucius Wong at the part-time program of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Under the guidance of these two excellent teachers, Kan Tai-keung's artistic talent blossomed.

The "Travellers Among Mountains and Streams" painted during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) by the artist Fan Kuan is the ink painting that Kan most admires. Kan has repeatedly studied and copied this work, learning from it extensively.


In the past, Lu Shoukun saw Kan's copied versions of this ink painting and recognized the great potential of the young designer. Under the gentle guidance of Wang Wuxie, Jin Daijiang came to understand the importance of "designing for people". As he put it, "I used to think commercial design was vulgar and didn't want to do it, but I've realised that design is actually about serving people, and it can be truly great."

In 1970s Hong Kong, Kan worked at the Tayama department store in Central, collaborating with several design colleagues on graphic and window display projects. That year, he was highly valued by Patrick Chung, and quickly rose from art director to creative director.

Kan was insatiably curious, continuing to take courses in culture, art, philosophy, and English after work to expand his knowledge and cultivation. In 1976, he founded his own design company, and gradually became a renowned designer and painter both at home and abroad, eventually being named one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Hong Kong" in 1979 - the first painter and designer to receive that honour.​​

After that, he gained fame. In 1981, he won the Hong Kong Urban Council Art Award (Chinese Painting); in 1984, three of his works were selected by the Hong Kong government as gifts for former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, former Foreign Minister, and former Finance Minister during their visit to Japan; the same year, he won the Gold Award at the International Art Creation Exhibition in Los Angeles, USA. In 1995, he won the championship at the 1st International Computer Art Biennale in Poland; in 1998, he won the Mercury Award and the Galaxy Award in New York... His design and art achievements in Hong Kong and internationally are too numerous to mention.


Kan's paintings often feature pine trees, and when asked why, he replied, "Pine trees can still thrive in harsh environments, full of vitality and strength, which represents me." He smiled sincerely, as if revealing his unyielding spirit from back then.

Looking back on his 60 years of creative journey, he humbly said, "Teacher Lu Shoukun gave me three treasures: learn from the ancients (learn from the past), learn from nature, and learn from one's own heart. We should learn from the masters, observe and contemplate nature, and explore our own hearts to create something truly our own."

From now until June 8, the “Rediscovering the Origin” solo exhibition will be held at the Touch Gallery in Central, showcasing his new works that revisit his original intentions. He pointed out, "All the works exhibited this time are new creations from 2024. There are also some calligraphic pieces."

Lastly, the renowned artist Kan has been expanding his artistic scope since 1969, going through different stages, from the New Ink Movement wave to the pop art wave, from "learn from the ancients" to recreating classical paintings, from "learn from nature" to creating landscape paintings, and finally to "learn from one's own heart" to explore self-awareness. Each stage has been a journey of continuous innovation and elevation. Today, he is unrestricted by any style or technique, freely cultivating his creative spirit, and creating new works that reflect his renewed self-awareness.​​

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Renowned Graphic Designer and Artist Kan Tai Keung Reflects on 60 Years of Creative Endeavours
Renowned Graphic Designer and Artist Kan Tai Keung Reflects on 60 Years of Creative Endeavours
Renowned Graphic Designer and Artist Kan Tai Keung Reflects on 60 Years of Creative Endeavours
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