Work / Art

Adrian Kay Wong mixes the simplistic and sentimental in his nostalgia filled paintings

Artists regularly use their creative skills to reflect and reinterpret something from their personal past. It could be someone they knew or somewhere they once lived, or as Los Angeles-based artist Adrian Kay Wong demonstrates, it could be adolescence as a whole.

Adrian is a painter in the traditional sense, but his portraits are far more ambiguous than his practice would lead you to believe. In his use of shapes, utilising a soft colour palette despite their bold form, the artist offers his own “intimate depictions of adolescence through his paintings that balance his own sentimentalities and settle between nostalgia and estrangement”. His portraiture works do this in particular, “investigating familial roles and relationships between sons, brothers, fathers and friends,” but as they remain obscure — never including recognisable facial features — they could relate to anyone.

Despite the artist’s “attempt to glorify the innocent naivety of youth, reconciling the vibrancy of juvenility and the struggling confusion associated with growing up,” Adrian has more recently been applying his illustrative style to landscape settings. Culminating in a series of works, Shadows over Chinatown the series continues the minimal aspects of his earlier works, focusing on the minor details. Shadows play a large part in forming the perspective of his paintings, from satisfying silhouettes of plane windows to hidden ornaments that he sees in Chinatown.

Although his works show two very different series in terms of painted content, Adrian’s developed simplistic style allows the works to fit together seamlessly. One constant across both series is a sense of nostalgia, whether he’s painting parts of childhood or a scene from wandering around town that afternoon.


Adrian Kay Wong: Wind Up Birds


Adrian Kay Wong: 1 and 2


Adrian Kay Wong: 2 and 2


Adrian Kay Wong: A Shoulder To Lean On


Adrian Kay Wong: Ball, Ball Racket, Racquet


Adrian Kay Wong: A Peculiar Silly Stillness About Chinatown


Adrian Kay Wong: A Thin Gold Chain and a Jade Circle Dangle Around His Neck


Adrian Kay Wong: A Wide Staircase Down to the Dining Room


Adrian Kay Wong: Four in the Afternoon


Adrian Kay Wong: Milky Light Before Dawn