Johnson Tsang is a sculptor living and working in Hong Kong who delights viewers with his masterful ceramic pieces that express so much emotion. He has delighted us for many years at Arts Artists Artwork and we’ve been compelled to share his work frequently. This year, 2022, we have learned some sad and happy news about a significant event in his life. But first, let’s learn a little more about his life’s journey.
Johnson Tsang Always Did Create Art
Johnson Tsang was an avid artist throughout his childhood. He excelled at drawing but he found the 2D expression a bit unsatisfying. He loved life and thought everything was beautiful which inspired his pursuit to express it on paper. When school turned to expressing with modelling clay, he loved it and created many small pieces that interpreted his sense of beauty in reality. The 3D expression suited him so much more than 2D drawings.
Johnson Tsang’s Careers
Tsang tells viewers that he didn’t come to be an artist by any traditional path. In fact, he had many different experiences, including a 13 year career as a police officer. Prior to that, he held odd jobs after high school, where he didn’t particularly excel and was unable to continue his education as a result. But his work experience did give him so much more to draw upon in his career as an artist.
He speaks about his time with the police where he was able to still exercise and develop his art. He drew hundreds of portraits of his colleagues over the years. And because of his abilities drawing, the police gave him the opportunity to work on other special projects that utilized these talents.
At one time, it felt like he wasted 13 years of his life working with the police, but looking back now he realizes how important that path was to his development as an artist and as a man. Working on the force, he saw many bloody scenes. He recognizes the impermanence and beauty of life. The importance of treating people well and valuing conversations because this might be the last time is something that will be with him forever.
Becoming a Ceramic Artist Full Time
Being an artist full time didn’t happen overnight. When he left the police force, he taught ceramics in order to survive. In time, he was able to evolve his career into a full time artist. And his experience drawing portraits, doing ceramics, working with modelling clay, understanding faces and expressions on people’s faces, has all lent to his incredible ability to put our deepest feelings into his sculptures.
This is Where We Love Johnson Tsang
Just look at this expressive sculptural work he has created. The very first time we saw one of his pieces we knew he was something special. As a viewer, you get an immediate sense of the emotion, whether it’s pain, frustration, or something else. People everywhere around the world find his faces to be very relatable to some experience in their life. It is never a disappointment sharing Johnson Tsang’s sculptural faces with our audiences.
So What’s Changing for Johnson Tsang After 2022
On January 26, 2022, around 6:00 p.m., Johnson Tsang was in his workshop where he suffered a stroke. The cause was an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) which occurs about once in every 150,000 cases. Tsang tells us this is a brain defect that someone is born with and will happen sooner or later. Now in his early 60’s, he is very fortunate and grateful for a second chance. When the stroke occurred, he was lucky enough to be able to call his wife and he got medical help quickly.
He had a successful open brain surgery to eliminate the problem. He woke up after surgery three days later. His right leg and arm had lost most of their ability to move and he can only speak slowly. Johnson Tsang went through three months of rehabilitation, learning to walk again and his optimistic attitude surprisingly enjoyed the experience of being a beginner again. He taught himself to draw with his left hand instead of his right and after a month was pretty good at it. That’s when he started to draw hospital staff. With the help of his wife, thank you notes were written and the staff and good people he drew were gifted with the drawings in appreciation for their help in his recovery.
Still in Recovery
After several months at home, he’s only been into his workshop once to take photos of new ceramic pieces with the help of his wife. When he left the workshop he said, “I’ll be back.” Then he spends every day working on his recovery exercises. Even though he says he’ll be back, he’s seeing life differently now. His time is precious. His relationship with his wife is beautiful. His life is slower and he spends it in deep observation, appreciating the second chance at life.
Homage to an Exemplary Ceramic Artist
Johnson Tsang, you have given us so much pleasure and joy over the years and we’re eternally grateful. Your ceramic pieces speak to us in so many different ways. It is with joy and gratitude that we celebrate your second life with you. And we sincerely hope that there will be a time you do get back to the workshop. It is important for you to do what speaks to your heart and we hope there will be a balance between loving the people that matter to you in your life and being able to continue to create art in whatever form you continue to choose. In the meantime, we will continue to celebrate your uniqueness, your vision and your love for humanity.
More of His Beautiful Pieces
Enjoy this small selection of his incredibly expressive pieces.
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