Bizzie Bee's Artist Interview: Kalo Chu

Happy Monday and happy June Bizzie Bees. To kick off the summer, we have Kalo—artist, calligrapher & educator sharing her art story and work with us.

What types of calligraphy have you tried?

What are the differences between a dip pen and a brush pen?

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Kalo. I'm a Hong Kong based calligrapher and stationery designer. I specialise in western dip ink calligraphy as well as bespoke invitation designs under the brand KALO MAKE ART.

How did you start your creative journey?

In June 2015, I opened Hong Kong’s first calligraphy studio in Central, Hong Kong, with the aim to create a cozy and relaxing environment for students to learn and enjoy the art of western calligraphy. The studio hosts a range of creative events, such as calligraphy workshops, jamming practice evenings and monthly pen meets which welcome all walks of life, including kids! My studio also sells a range of calligraphy tools—from penholders, brushes, nibs, inks, papers and cards to many other stationery.

Why do you make art?

I have been making art since the age of four! Art is the best channel for me to express my creativity and release stress. The beauty of making art lies on the process and not the outcome, there is no right or wrong!

What is your workspace like?

My studio is peaceful and spacious. Although it is located in the city centre, it provides a calming environment for the mind to focus on calligraphy learning. It is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of a city like Hong Kong!

What is your favourite art form and why?

My favourite art form is calligraphy! I LOVE IT because there is so much to learn—from the pen and ink tools to numerous script styles. I love it also because I met so many supportive friends who share the same passion along the journey.

What inspires you and how do you keep your creative spark?

My father is a Chinese calligrapher and painter. He has been a great influence on my passion for arts and calligraphy. I became fond of handwriting and penmanship at a very young age. My father is an exceptional teacher. He taught me patience, discipline and to never stop learning. With his encouragement and support, I've learnt to "never forget my beginner's spirit".

Who did you admire when you were younger that inspired you to be an artist yourself?

Yuko Shimizu, an illustrator who lives in New York, played a significant role in my artistic career. After admiring her work for some years, I was fortunate to meet her personally at her illustration workshop in Venice in 2009. Yuko's teaching deeply inspired me to be a great artist and teacher myself.

What is your favourite tool for making art and why?

Dip pen tools are no doubt my favourite and I always carry a set with me! It's simple and light—all you need is a penholder, a nib, a small bottle of ink and some papers and you can write anywhere and everywhere!

What role does the artist have in society?

Education is one of the most important roles for my job. I'm grateful to be able to teach and share what I love with others. I now dedicate most of my time to teaching workshops and hosting calligraphy events as the ambition and direction of Kalo Make Art is to promote western calligraphy and to inspire and educate others on this beautiful art form.

What are you working on right now?

To be totally honest, I'm getting ready to pack my luggage as I'll be heading to a calligraphy retreat in Nashville for a week! This kind of holiday is a perfect combination of relaxation and further learning. It helps me to refresh my mind.

What advice do you have?

If you're planning to learn calligraphy, here is my advice. A lot of beginners focus on QUANTITY and try to fill up a page as quickly as possible, but the key for calligraphy practice is QUALITY! Studying with experienced calligraphy teachers will help you to learn the right techniques and to improve the quality of your writing.

Have a look at more of Kalo's calligraphy and other areas of her design work on her website

This summer she is also holding mini summer camps for artists 7-12 years old in dip pen calligraphy, brush pen calligraphy and watercolour.

All photos provided by Kalo Make Art



IG: @kalomakeart | @shop.kalomakeart

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Bizzie Bee is a social enterprise initiative and primary funding partner of Lizzie Bee Foundation Ltd, a Hong Kong registered charity. Money raised from the sale of our products goes directly to arts projects for the underprivileged in our community.

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