You’ll Reach for Your Makeup After Seeing These Chinese-Style Paintings

One of Red's makeup paintings. (Screenshot/Instagram)
One of Red's makeup paintings. (Screenshot/Instagram)

Not all painters use a brush, or at least not a regular one.

Chinese artist-architect Red Hong Yi goes by the name “Red” because her name Hong sounds like the word for red in Mandarin.

Her family fled China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, so Red was born in Sabah, Malaysia. But she studied in Melbourne, Australia, and now works as an architect in Shanghai.

Her talents are varied, and she first shot to Internet fame with her portrait of basketball player Yao Ming which went viral on YouTube… because she painted it with a basketball!

Red first got the idea to use unorthodox materials while on a semester break in Sabah she realized she’d left her supplies in Melbourne.

So she started using everyday objects instead.

She’s certainly cornered the market on using unconventional tools to create her pieces. Here are some examples of her “Make-up meets Chinese Art” series, which combine extraordinary patience with delicate creativity:


Nail polish cherry blossoms ready for Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival


Bamboo with black and gray eyeshadow


The crane represents longevity (done in liquid eyeliner with mascara brushes as cattails)


Firecrackers and lanterns made with fiery red lipstick


2014 is Year of the Horse!


Autumn leaves with eyeliner pencil shavings


A 500-year-old village called Hong Cun with a red hot sun in nail polish


Guilin mountains and river in foundation powder


Orange nail polish koi swim between shimmery green eyeshadow lilypads


Fake eyelashes for leaves and liquid eyeliner for the trunk


Cranes made of damp cotton wool, eyeliner, and pieces of lipstick

Goldfish drawn with mascara


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