It was an unproductive afternoon, the creative juice was not flowing as hoped for. As the Mills is a stone throw away, taking a walk in the former textile mill turned cultural space seemed a good idea. It was there I met the paintings by Hong Kong illustrator Janas Lau. Moved by the warmth and humility in her drawing, I contacted Janas for an interview, hoping to learn more about a person who has great talent in discovering the small wonders in life.
Although uncertain why she was contacted by a watch brand, Janas open-mindedly agreed to a meeting. It was supposed to be an “interview” but at the end it turned out to be a hearty conversation. Maybe it is because we coincidentally lived in Tokyo during the same period of time, and maybe it is because we both grew up in Hong Kong.
Who is Janas Lau?
A self-taught illustrator, Janas picked up drawing in 2005 when she was studying photography in Japan. Inspired by Japanese art ukiyo-e, Janas started drawing with fine lines. Such influence can still be found in her recent illustrations. To further pursue her artistic dreams, Janas obtained a master’s degree in Children’s Book Illustration & Graphic Novels at Middlesex University in London. Her storybook illustration Where is My Next Home?, the story about an eight-year-old a boy living in Hong Kong, received an honorary mention in Clairvoyants 2018 competition in Poland. Apart from drawing, Janas has also spent time learning farming and carpentry – both should be considered a form of art.
Her illustrations | Images of Everyday Life
Janas’ illustrations have a tendency to document people’s everyday life – one that is easily overlooked, such as a knife sharpener old man on the street, a watch repairer at the corner of the stairs and the local bakery - the small things that make up our hometown Hong Kong.
While known among tourists for its skyscraper-studded skyline, beautiful Victoria Harbour and shopping varieties, Janas offers a different perspective of the vibrant city she calls home. To fellow Hongkongers, her illustrations subtly remind them that there are moments worth slowing down for. Every city or hometown has its personality. Much like the unconditional love for our family, we love our city even though it is not perfect. Such love and warmth permeates Janas’ daily sketches. When praised for her exquisite portrayal of Hong Kong, Janas humbly equates herself to an everyday city-dweller. “Some other people are doing it as well, whether in the form of photography, filming and more. There is nothing special about what I do,” she said.
Discover Your Small Wonders
Indeed, we all have to ability to discover small wonders. They are in your everyday life, all you need is to slow down and look around.
Are you looking at your hometown or neighbourhood close enough? What can you see? Small Pleasures, a delightful book published by School of Life, is a great reminder of the small yet tremendously gratifying things in life, such as a friend who listens, pleasant exhaustion after a productive day and staring out of the window. There are deeper meanings in the small things than we imagined. Slow down - you will discover a whole new world.
Janas Lau official website: https://janaslau.com
All images by Janas Lau