Talking Art: Allan Zeman

Art may not be the first word that associates with Allan Zeman, but perhaps it should.

The chairman of our Performing Arts Committee known for his style and creativity - best explicits in three words, Lan Kwai Fong - is generous enough to share his favourite Chinese sculptures and paintings, and of course, his never-get-tired performance for Ocean Park.

Q: What was your first program in art?

A: My first art program was watching Pavarotti in Montreal when I was 18. Opera is not really my thing, but it was my introduction to art. I have always been artistic in my own style. When I first come to Hong Kong, I had a company that brought in overseas artist shows here mostly in the 80s. We brought in everybody, international singers like Celine Dion and we almost got Michael Jackson.

exhibitionQ: What's next?

A: My whole life has been in art. I have been in the film business for 14 years. I started a film company, After Dark Films in Los Angeles, that makes horror and action movies and we have done over 110 films. I have always been involved in some form of arts. Well, I had six years on the board of Hong Kong Arts Festival. And now, West Kowloon.

Q: What was the last show you saw?

A: It was a show conducted by (Yip) Wing-sie about two months ago at City Hall. Wait, I actually went to ArtHK where I bought these guys (picture, showing his office sculptures)

Q: Where did you buy them?

A: That is from Liu Bolin. He is famous for painting himself. Last year I bought Yu Fan. He is from Hangzhou, very famous but also very good. I buy what I like. I also bought these beautiful ink paintings from Yang Jiechang. He is actually in Paris. I have his in my house.

exhibitionQ: Do you have a special liking of mainland art?

A: I collect a lot of American contemporary art pieces from Jim Dine, including his two Z hearts. Botero (Columbian sculptor famous for fat figures), I have two of his sculptures in my house. I also like Thai sculptures. I bought some from Chiang Mai and put them in my Phuket house. Look! That one calligraphy was from Audrey Yu. I bought it at one of her Civic Party auctions. She is very, very good.

Q: When did you start collecting?

A: First time when the first Art Asia came to Hong Kong about 15 years ago. I always like art. It gives you a good feeling. I don't buy art for value. I never sell.

Q: So how is your art collection?

A: I have seven floors at my house and every floor is decorated with art. Every wall has paintings. To me, I respect all art. Everything is art, when I look at it.

exhibitionQ: Who is your inspirer in art?

A: I would say Steve Wynn. He is one of the largest collectors of Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt etc. Real stuff. Very famous and expensive. He is one of the largest collectors in the world. I am with him quite a bit.

Q: Any artists you want to meet?

A: My biggest problem is time. I do so many things that even if a great show comes alone I don't have time to really enjoy it. It is unfortunate. But luckily to me, Ocean Park is a form of art. It is a different form of cultures and I enjoy it more than anything.

Q: Ocean Park, isn't that the place you played ghost bride and even dead body at Halloween?

A: Yes, each show is enjoyable. To me, each one is different. Most amazing thing I have done this year is flying through in the air and landing just in front the audiences including Donald Tsang. Rocket man, as I was called.

Q: More like Richard Branson. Don't you ever get tired?

A: No!! I don't.

Q: Ever turn down idea?

A: No. I enhance the idea (laugh). Being creative is a form of art. To me, being creative is the most important thing, whether it is architecture, painting, theatre. Everything I do must be creative. To me, art is part of personality.


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