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An Elegant Digital Take On Traditional Chinese Ink Painting

Hong Kong-based artist Desmond Leung creates subtle animations inspired by ancient oriental techniques.

Still from Camellia (2012)

Visual artist Desmond Leung’s body of work is largely inspired by the movement of ink through water. His method revolves around recording trails of ink dancing through water before digitally rendering and transforming the footage with color and subtle effects.

Leung says on his website that he’s “pushing the boundary of traditional painting and transforming it into a time-based cinematic moving landscape and visual poetry.” He’s influenced by Lyrical Abstraction and contemporary Chinese painting masters like Zao Wou-Ki, Wu Guanzhong and Teh Chun-Chu.


In one of his earlier works Qualia (2009), Leung transforms an abstract watercolor painting into an animation, by capturing the flow of mixing colors in slow motion. By fitting the painting into a LED screen, the work’s delicate visual effects truly come to life.

Most recently, Leung was commissioned by CHANEL Digital Art Program to re-imagine several of the brand’s classic motifs. Watch his technique unfold in the making-of videos for The Scent and Camellia below.

The Scent (2012)

Camellia (2012)

Camellia is currently featured on the facades of several CHANEL boutiques worldwide. Watch it in action below.