Fast-paced, vibrant, East meets West, these are just a few terms to describe the small land of Hong Kong. Formerly a fishing island, the city has came a long way, and, throughout history, has earned its place in becoming Asia’s world city. Over the years, Hong Kong has become more diversified in the arts. As if in a blink of an eye, Hong Kong is on the map for arts and trying to become a hub for them as cities like New York and London are. Across the globe, artists have come to this vibrant city to take advantage of its robust market. One of these artists is Francesco Lietti.

Born in northern Italy, Francesco left the country after completing his studies in Milan. He furthered his studies in Paris and lived in London for the next decade after that. One might ask: “How did you decide to come to Hong Kong?” Well, “Almost randomly,” he says.

One of his best friends in the UK was planning to leave London on a long overland trip back to his homeland, Australia. One night, after a few drinks, the friend said to Francesco: “Hey, Fran. I’m going to Sydney. Why don’t you come with me?” The artist thought, “Why not?” A few weeks later he packed his bags and left London, taking trains across Europe, Russia, China, then East Asia. In early 2006, just a few months after that inspirational trip, he landed back in Hong Kong. Fascinated by the city, he was drawn to stay.

Many of Francesco’s paintings are related to travels: places he visited and enjoyed along his journey. Inspired by the colors of Asia, architecture, and abstract paintings, the artist says that it’s hard to define himself as an artist belonging to one movement. When it comes down to categorizing his art, he self-ascribes the paintings as, “Abstract, naive, urban, and country visions.”

His paintings are a combination of memory and fantasy, where the artist takes in two contrasting elements: the city and the countryside, to recreate his own townscapes and landscapes. Using bold, striking colors, Lietti borrows from his memory and enlivens the cityscape with every stroke on the canvas. His works are primarily in acrylic on canvas with mixed media such as newspaper cut outs and other found objects used as collage to give his works texture and depth.

Of all the places that he has travelled to, the artist has said that Hong Kong and Southeast Asia remain his biggest inspirations. His works celebrate the beauty and dynamism of his travels, and are all stamped with his iconic “Colors of Asia” chop.

Now an established artist in Hong Kong, Francesco Lietti has exhibited across galleries in the city and has been featured in numerous publications. With his innovative creations, we can look forward to more works to come.


by Victoria Wong  |  journalist