You know Michael Chow as the guy who started a line of upscale Chinese restaurants across the globe. Jay Z has name dropped Mr. Chow in his lyrics, and Kanye West often frequents the famous eatery. However, few people know that Chow actually studied architecture at Saint Martin School of Design and initially struggled to make it as a painter before he opening his first restaurant back in the day. In fact, Chow ended up taking a long hiatus from creating art just so he could focus on building his line of restaurants. Recently, however, the renowned restaurateur has switched gears and begun painting again, working under his Chinese name "Zhou Yinghua." A few weeks ago, he opened an exhibition entitled "Recipe for a Painter: Mr. Chow aka Zhou Yinghua," his first painting show in 50 years, at Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong.
When Chow picked up his brushes again in 2011, he realized that painting and creating one of his mixed-media pieces felt a lot like preparing a dish. In fact, both passions required the same kind of intuition.
“The idea is to build and build and stop when it reaches a climax. It is like whipping cream, where you need to know when enough is enough. With painting, you can ruin the whole thing by just adding one more thing," Chow explained to Artsy.
Many of the pieces in Chow's latest exhibition comprise numerous ingredients like milk, egg yolks, paint, Ziploc bags, bubble wrap, and manipulated metals. Like Mr. Chow's Asian fusion cuisine, the artist's works also mesh the abstract style of action painters like Jackson Pollock with traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy.
"Recipe for a Painter: Mr. Chow aka Zhou Yinghua" is on view at Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong from Jan. 14 until March 8. For those who can't make it out to view the exhibition in person, check out some of the pieces from the collection above.