Did you know socks can be truly amazing? Well, the condition is they be used by skilled visual artist Hong Yi, who used them for an over-sized portrait of Asian pop star Jay Chou. The Shanghai-based visual and performance artist who also goes by the pseudonym of Red, used no fewer than 750 pair of socks to create a large-scale monochromatic portrait of the singer. Judge the end result by yourselves, but allow us to tell you that we think nothing was lost in matters of shadows, depth and precision, in her use of black, white and grey socks. This is not her first use of the medium, either, since she previously produced a portrait of notable and talented Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
This time, Red used the socks because she was inspired by a narrow alleyway she stumbled into on one of her first days in Shanghai. She found many clotheslines made of bamboo sticks there, and the clothes hung up above her head to dry told her she needed to do something inspired by that image. The innovative artist is constantly inspired into employing alternative media by her life in a bustling metropolis, in the world’s most economically powerful country. Her use of otherwise strange items reminds us that life in the big city can also be inspiring, not simply alienating or dull.