James Ng (pronounced Ing) was born in Hong Kong, where he spent most of his childhood drawing monsters and robots, making his own elaborate cardboard toys, and playing soccer. Ever since, he has been on the move between Hong Kong, Vancouver, Chicago and New York. His travels have greatly influenced him, allowing him to combine Eastern and Western cultures in his artwork.
Currently, James is enjoying the freedom of being a freelance concept artist and illustrator. After a sunny summer in Vancouver, and travelling to London, and then to New York for an award show and exhibition, he is back in his home of Hong Kong to continue his career.
We asked James a few questions – you can see his answers below:
When did you first get into Steampunk?
I started the series Imperial Steam and Light in 2008. I actually did not know the term “steampunk” until posting my series online. The series is based on an alternative history thesis I wrote; the idea was what technology would look like if modernization was not affected by western culture, but lead by the local design and engineers with different cultural backgrounds. The artwork were a way to answer my thesis. When I posted the work online, people kept calling it Chinese steampunk, and I googled the term and fell in love with what I saw.
What was the first commercial piece you made? (as a print)
The first print was the Imperial Airship, done the week before my graduation from New York School of Visual Arts. It was amazing to me that someone wanted a copy, I only did the piece for my own amusement and practice, but the airship has now become a staple of my series.
Who inspired / inspires you?
Besides my immense interest in history, one artist really inspired me. It might sound really cliché, but Da Vinci is someone I really admire, not only for his masterful technique in art, but for his thirst for knowledge and quest for self improvement. He is well versed in so many fields, and a pioneer in not only the arts. He was a skilled mathematician, engineer, scientist and physicist. Some of his private studies of the human body were later found to be 200years before it’s time! Part of the reason I got so into history was because I was inspired by Da Vinci’s motivation to learn and it turned out to be a defining moment in my art career.