《Memories have always seemed more beautiful because you can't touch them — every time I create a new butterfly, I feel closer to the one from my memories》— Wallis Hong.
I first met Wallis Hong in the Emerging Talent section of November 2022’s exclusive GemGeneva jewellery show. I discovered his awe-inspiring jewellery pieces and met him in person. Here Wallis stands smiling and welcoming me to his booth. It felt like I meet my friend whom I have not met for so long. His titanium sculptures enchant the viewers with their scale and vitality. Otherworldly, fairytale, futuristic and thrilling miniature sculpture works that are inspired by nature, underwater life, mythology and more were lined up to be ready to hand. His jewellery pieces were due to his signature creativity, diverse imagination, and dynamic curiosity. Especially, those micro-set butterflies are spectacularly detailed and have a contemporary advanced feel to them.
Wallace's creativity is so connected with his childhood memories. Raised by an artist, musician and art collector mother, Wallis praises his mother's aesthetic influence that made him empathetic to art and jewellery from an early age. Two of his famous "Eternal Butterfly I and II" were inspired by his childhood memories of chasing butterflies and being under the spell of the butterfly's captivating beauties. For Wallis, butterflies are as magical as colourful messengers carrying dreams, memories and desires from earth to the sky and back. From these childhood memories, the fragile beauties of these creatures held a fascination for him. It took him three good years to bring those two mysterious butterflies to life from his childhood memories and endless atelier hours to immortalise them within the framework of his famous titanium brooches. The result speaks volumes and his full vision, and reflection is eternal magic art.
The butterflies that sprig from the imagination of Wallis Hong are as real as he is. They have just taken a long road from his mind to the hand, via the heart. His Etherial butterfly is an example of Wallis’s determination, and perseverance with the jade technique illustrating his creation invariably imbued with vitality. Wallis used the age-old Chinese tradition of hollowing out jade carving technique for his creation, cloning the wax model of the casting but the tiny mesh structure broke apart during the casting process and it was impossible to weld the structure, especially in titanium. After much trial and error, Wallis had the idea of sculpting directly on the metal base and he successfully incorporated it to create a large-scale piece that was visually dreamlike and, technically, light as a feather.
Wallis Hong is also fascinated by radiating shapes and abstract art. All his three pairs of earrings are inspired by the radiating shapes and nature. He believes the connection between the radiating shapes and the universe’s energy attracts good fortune in human beings. His " Thorn Shells " Earrings, especially are so fascinating. Its foundation came from Ibiza and Formentera islands where he found inspiration in the natural forms of the conch on their beaches and the underwater ecosystems that lay in with a rich diversity of fauna and inhabitants. Especially, the blue-toned matching coloured sapphire Wallis has used in his jewellery pieces to recall the seas and marine bubbles from his Mediterranean inspiration.
Currently, the iconic Thorn Shells earrings are part of the Shenzhen Jewellery Museum’s permanent collection in China.
" Thorn Shells " Earrings
Many jewels are reminiscent of our dreams. They represent our dream, and our memories and Wallis is good at interpreting those dreams and memories into the world of dreams. Wallis Hong maybe only is 27 years of age but he is already at the centre of global attention within the jewellery community. Nonetheless, Wallis’s work has been praised by the international museum communities, high jewellery fair organisers, and celebrities who appreciate innovative high jewellery. Currently, he’s collaborating with Sotheby’s Hong Kong on a forthcoming creation. Wallis was also invited to exhibit at the GemGenève Jewellery show and the EPHJ International trade show. He was also invited to the international Vicenzaoro show and Roma jewellery week as a speaker. It seems it is just the beginning of everything for Wallis and he seems to stay unfazed by the jewellery’s micro-detail and sculpture’s macro-scale limitation. What I noticed with Wallis is whatever big or small he’s chasing or his hunger to show something new never stops.
Author: Shohista Turan