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  • Writer's pictureTina Brand

Eating with Artists: Illustrator Kia Hing Fay

From home base in Brisbane riverside Teneriffe, Kia Hing Fay is busy making intricate collages.

PaperHang came to be as something Kia could do where-ever the intrepid family happened to be living : Kia was trying to come up with a project she felt could pick up and travel easily with her family when they moved.

Kia describes PaperHang as cutting paper to tell stories.

The family's ethos has always been to live light and not to be weighed down with too many possessions.

So too for PaperHang: a cutting mat, a stack of paper and glue, a pair of kitchen scissors. Quite simple really!

Kia fell into collage making when she was helping her son on a classroom project. He had decided to use stop motion animation to tell a story and she made him a whale shark out of paper to use in the story. It turned out pretty well, and that got her thinking. Kia started to pull out archived drawings, to see how she could break down the images into more simplified lines which could be cut into shapes to glue together.

Kia says: 'It helps that I've spent years and years being an observer, and what better places than art museums where I've worked, for observation!' Kia has worked at the Victoria and Albert, the National Gallery and Tate in London, and more recently at the Queensland Art Gallery.

For PaperHang, Kia works from observing everyday life, and on drawing from years of working in art museums around the world to find creative inspirations.

Her works range from famous figures depicted in art, to whimsical animals, plants and everyday life.

The paper collage works have come out of always drawing.; Kia always has a pad and pencil with her, and draws all the time.

Kia is strictly focussed on her work in the mornings, leaving the afternoons and evenings for the children, her partner and the running of their household. They are a close knit family who like spending time together. She says: 'my kids have always taken priority and I like that'.

I asked Kia three food questions:

Tina: What's the every day go-to meal for you?

Kia: My husband Chris is Cantonese, and so we are very rice, stir fry, fresh vegetables focussed. Noodles and ramen at the moment.I've learnt to cook from Chris's mother: the golden rules of a little bit of corn starch, soy, and char siew... haha! Lots of salads in the summer, slow cooker comes out in the winter. That's a tradition I've carried on from my mum's cooking.

Everything is always from scratch, but simple.

Tina: A good Brisbane tip for a meal out?

Kia:Happy Boy! It is only about a ten minute walk from home for us, towards Fortitude Valley. I could eat that eggplant dish every time.

Tina: Where do you go for coffee and pastries?

Kia: Oh definitely Mica Brasserie. They do delicious pastries and their coffee is very good too!

They are in Newstead at the wharf, and you can take a long walk along the river boardwalk all the way, and not feel bad about indulging at the end!

Kia is working on updating her website so enthusiasts will be able to look at more examples of her creations and purchase her work. Most recently, Kia Hing Fay's Paper Paintings series was long listed for the 2021 World Illustration Awards.


Find Kia Hing Fay's work on


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