Q&A with Figure Artist Wingkei Hoang

Wingkei’s reflections on, hopes for and words to her body. And her message to you.

By Ellen Downes
Wed 15 Dec 2021

Wingkei joined me for an Every Body’s Instagram Live. We spoke about her relationship with her body – the journey it’s been on and her hopes for its future.

She is a Chinese-British digital artist who empowers the female nude with bold and confident styles. Her work confronts themes such as the reclamation of nudity and body dysmorphia.

She says that she always felt something was missing in the art community. She felt that more representation of realistic Women’s bodies, and more BIPOC representation was needed.

And so, her artwork reclaims both these areas through different media and styles, from digital graphic-esque mark-making, to acrylic painting on canvas, to photography and mixed media.

We’d been following each others’ journeys of establishing ourselves as artists on Insta during the pandemic, so it was so lovely to chat for the first time. Wingkei is such an inspiring example of how art can help us to learn how to love, connect to and celebrate our bodies. Here’s my interview with the wonderful, powerful woman that is Wingkei Hoang…

3 words to describe your body:

Realistic, soft and mighty.

What do you love about your body?

You know, I learnt so much at life drawing classes, watching how the models hold themselves and are perceived by others. I love seeing people pushing their boundaries with their bodies, and noticing when they feel most comfortable.

Just watching the models made me feel empowered. Then when I stepped up and became a life model myself, that’s when I really came into my own and became this powerhouse! When I model, the body that I once loathed is being adored and appreciated by others.

I see my body being quite far from the conventional, I don’t have the classic hourglass figure. But… I love that it’s realistic and relatable for so many people. Now I love what my body represents and that I can use it to celebrate all that I am. So, what do I love most about my body? How much confidence it’s given me.

What would you like to love about your body?

I love everything about the way my body looks… I suppose I’d like to learn to move my body more freely. I find it really hard to move my body completely fluidly. Yeah, I’d like to show my body some love by starting a dance class.

What would you say to your 10 years younger self?

10 years ago… I was 15. Your teenage years are just evil. It’s such a hard time being between a child and an adult.

I didn’t have a very good relationship with my body back then. If I skipped a day at the gym that would be like the worst day ever. Now I’m a lot more forgiving to myself. For example I might think okay, move as much as usual today, but I did spend some time quality time with my mum.

I just want to tell my 15 year old self, it gets easier! It’s just a body, it’s not that deep.

What are your hopes for your relationship with your body in 10 years’ time?

I don’t consider myself to be a very loud person. I prefer my body to do the talking. I came across the phrase ‘quietly confident’ recently, and I’ve never found a way to describe myself better than that. I’m want to maintain the relationship I have with my body that I have now.

A hope I have for all women in 10 years’ time is that we’ll be able to walk safely at night, wear whatever we want and not have to worry about being vulnerable. Let us be.

Her words to you:

Start life drawing! Life drawing changed my life. It made me become body confident and that confidence trickled down into every part of my life. People would ask me, how did you suddenly become so positive? It’s life drawing!

Shout out to 2B or not 2B Life Drawing Collective. You can join classes in person in London or online. Run by two lovely people called Jess and Erhan who I love very much.

Every Body's Story Book

The bodies of 30 women aged 20-75 and the stories they hold

Every Wednesday I ask an inspiring creative 5 questions. I ask them to reflect upon their relationship with their body and they share their experiences and the lessons they’ve learnt with us.

You can watch the Q&A LIVE via the Every Body’s Story Instagram every Wednesday at 5:30PM.

Sign up to the newsletter here – where I’ll be sharing the programme of guests for each month, and more blog posts like these. 💖