London-based artist Spencer Fung delights in the intelligence and resilience of the natural world, which he studies with intense care and interest. As a child growing up in Hong Kong, he sought out glimpses of nature, and relished trips to the sea. Keeping sketchbooks from a young age, he became fascinated by the interplay of space and light, structure and landscape. He moved to the UK to study architecture at Cambridge University, and in 1990, founded his architectural practice. His painting expresses the ways he is both profoundly touched by the beauty of natural environments, and troubled by the threats humankind often poses to their survival.
Fung’s attention ranges from the singular qualities of small items such as seed cones and tree roots, to trees and forests, and the sweeping forms of mountains and rivers. His creative process is characterised by spontaneity and his use of natural materials. “I love to work with the elements I find around me,” he says. “I might use soil for pigment, and water from a lake; clumps of moss, leaves or bundles of twigs might become my paint brushes. I paint instinctively, often starting with a small detail that evolves. I never set out to do certain things, they just happen.” This approach allows Fung to make deep, personal connections with the landscapes that inspire him, and brings a distinctive texture and poetry to his work. “I’ve always been observant and liked to record,” he says. “Painting from nature is one of the greatest pleasures in life.”