Within the different pockets that make up Hong Kong’s unique society, are a unique group of people who either aren’t ethnically Chinese but grew up in Hong Kong, or ethnically Chinese but studied abroad or in an international school. These are Hong Kong’s “Third Culture Kids” (TCKs) and they are influenced by multiple cultures. Inspired by her own multicultural upbringing, Hong Kong artist Catherine Grossrieder, also known as “Cath Love”, has partnered with her friend Maggie Chiu to open Club Third – an art gallery in Sai Ying Pun that provides a space that encourages artistic expression among TCKs.
Catherine Grossrieder is a graffiti artist, graphic designer, and now art gallery owner, whose most notable projects include the logo of esteemed restaurant Little Bao and the buxom, bouncy, and ever so lovable Jelliboo – easily recognised on walls around Soho. Born in Bangkok to a Thai mother and Swiss father, Grossrieder moved to Hong Kong when she was seven and studied in an international school in the early 90s, with friends from all over the world. The influence Grossrieder‘s multicultural background has had on her is apparent in her art, through the quirky, vivacious cartoon figures that are peppered with heavy Asian-style influences as well as graffiti and hip hop culture.
On her transition from artist to art gallery owner, Grossrieder hopes to provide a space dedicated to the work of emerging artists who, like her, struggle to find a place for themselves in Hong Kong’s art market. “In the art world, where you come from is a big part of your brand, but Third Culture artists often don’t know where to place themselves in the market because they’re already dealing with an identity crisis,” Grossrieder tells Localiiz. “Through Club Third, I want to show that Hong Kong is more than just western or local, that there is this group of people – the TCKs – who have unique, distinctive voices to bring to the table.”
Club Third’s first group show, Polvoron, showcased the work of two Hong Kong born and raised Filipina artists, Nicole Roquel and Pixie Cascante. Growing up in a city they don’t ethnically belong to, where they are seen as second-class citizens, Roquel and Cascante struggle to feel fully Filipino but also true Hongkongers. Their experiences are reflected in Roquel’s whimsical paintings that often have a dark undertone, and in Cascante’s dark and gripping drawings.
The gallery’s latest show displays the artwork of mixed media artist Shann Larsson, an artist of Swedish and Indian ethnicity who has lived in Hong Kong for the past 21 years. Her paintings are intricate and mysterious, and reminiscent of Scandinavian dreams.
In the future, Club Third hopes to bring in more local and Third Culture artists. Its next exhibition will showcase the work of old-school graffiti artist Syan, aka MC Yan from the local Cantonese hip hop group Lazy Mutha Fuckas (LMF). “Club Third won’t just pick already successful artists from overseas, but rather tell the stories of the various groups of people in Hong Kong. MC Yan is from Hong Kong, but he studied art in France where he got into hip hop and graffiti in the early 90s. He’s a practising Buddhist who studied chanting in a 14th century monastery in Tibet, which he combines with graffiti in his art – so that’s a very different Third Culture art that we’ll be bringing.”
Club Third, Shop 2, G/F Fook On Building, 192 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun, (+852) 9306 4693