HONG KONG’S CRAFTY NEW GENERATION

Craft beer lovers who make their way into The Ale Project bar in Mongkok have noticed something new lately: two door gods affixed to the bar’s sliding glass doors. It’s something you would normally expect to see on the entrance of a temple or an old village house, not on a bar that draws young beer aficionados, but these particular gods are a new spin on an old tradition: wood block prints painstakingly handcrafted by Marble Print & Clay, a printmaking studio founded by artists David Jasper Wong, Bambi Lam and Terence Leung in 2012.

The door gods came about by chance. The trio moved into a new studio in a Kwun Tong factory building at the end of last year, and their next door neighbour turned out to be Moonzen, a craft brewery with a cult following and a penchant for traditional Chinese imagery. Brewmaster Laszlo Raphael liked the studio’s work, so he asked them to craft a set of posters that could ward evil spirits away from the brewery and the outlets where Moonzen’s beers are sold.

“The idea of woodcut is really traditional and it matched with craft beer,” says Wong. “It’s handmade, so it’s really tough to do.” Lam spent hours painstakingly carving the fierce-looking gods into blocks of wood, which he and his partners then used to make a two-tone print.

“We had to do it about 600 times,” says Wong. “There’s no machine for this.”

Lam grins: “We are the machine.”

Helios Obsidian