He may have lost his seat in the Legislative Council, but if his career in politics proves to be stalled for good, Gary Fan can apparently fall back on a career as a pretty damn good pet portrait artist.
In an effort to get out and press the flesh, it’s common in the lead-up to Chinese New Year for lawmakers and district councillors to set up stalls in their constituencies and write fai chun, the traditional red banners typically featuring Chinese calligraphy handwritten in brush and ink. The adornments are often hung on a home’s front door, and convey wishes of good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
But in addition to the usual fai chun, Fan has been offering his (former) constituents something a bit different: surprisingly competent ink-and-brush portraits of their pets.
Headline Daily reports that Fan started to learn Chinese ink painting when he was in high school, and later went on to study at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and work as a graphic designer, before deciding to enter politics.
In photos posted to his social media accounts over the last few weeks, Fan can be seen painting people’s cats and dogs, often using a phone photo as reference, with each drawing taking about 10 minutes to complete.
In some cases, the pets actually sat (sit! sit! good boy) for their portraits, as was the case with this Labrador, who adorably managed to keep perfectly still as Fan painted it.
This is also not the first time Fan has shown off his drawing skills. Last year, he painted wild boar-themed decorations to coincide with the year of the pig.
Fan was one of two lawmakers to lose their seats in the last few months. In September, the High Court ruled that the government’s decision to disqualify two pro-democracy activists — Agnes Chow and Ventus Lau — from running in by-elections for the Legislative Council in 2018 was inappropriate.
The decision effectively unseated the two pro-democracy candidates that ran in their places, Fan and Au Nok-hin.
On Tuesday, it was announced by the Electoral Affairs Commission that there would be no by-elections to fill their seats because of time constraints.
The EAC said preparations for by-elections usually take more than six months, and that according to the Legislative Council Ordinance, a by-election to fill a vacant seat cannot be held in the four months before the end of a legislative term.
The next Legislative Council elections will take place in September.