In a small atelier in Hong Kong, stately trees guard a meandering river, lilies float peacefully on a pond's surface, and ancient stone cottages cast shadows across a path of sunshine. Such images endlessly inspire Joseph Wong as he transfers the artful ideas in his mind, first to sketchbooks and then to copper engraving plates that will produce multiple prints of the original theme.
Joseph started working as an artist when he was quite young. Self taught in his early years, it wasn't until after secondary school that he benefited from formal training by attending graphics courses at Chinese University in Hong Kong. Later he studied with Professor Chen Shou Soo, who had studied in Europe had extensive knowledge of European painting techniques which Joseph learned and applied to his own style. After seeing an etching in a North American gallery, he became intrigued with the process and put down his brushes and focused on the process of intaglio printmaking.
In the early eighties he made four profoundly inspiring trips to Europe. He learned etching in Munich, and took trains to Paris and Amsterdam to study various techniques. Joseph says,"That is where I got my inspiration. . . in the midst of the masters of intaglio". Joseph returned to Hong Kong to set up his own atelier. He traveled throughout the countryside searching out imagery that would inspire his creations.
In describing the etching process Joseph says,"There are so many difficult steps in the process, you must control your thinking through the procedure from beginning to end. One must have an idea, and when you are motivated by an idea you have to freeze it. You have to engineer the whole process and then realize it on the plate. It is a long time from the beginning of the visual idea to the first print. That is the thrill."