Brian Tilbrook

Somewhat Out of the Ordinary


This section refers to slightly bizarre events. The greatest ego trip was none of my doing. I had been brought in to contribute a little flair and colour to the biggest Hong Kong Philharmonic concert ever staged, with the audience gathered around all four sides of Hong Kong’s vast Coliseum. The Butterfly Lovers was one of the main attractions of the programme so I produced several hanging metallic banners which ended in stylised butterflies and could change colour. But my involvement in the concert occurred too late for my inclusion in the programme. So the organisers decided to make use of the huge central scoring tower and my name went up in lights above the performing orchestra.

On another occasion, Hong Kong’s first regular chopper service to Kai Tak, I was asked to paint a scene of Hong Kong around 1870 and then to include three of the bright yellow helicopters.

I had been the Mandarin’s resident artist at the same time that I was BOAC’s muralist and then Cathay Pacific’s travelling artist – their title, not mine. Nearly all the work was focused on attractive travel destinations, but one of the many projects for the Mandarin involved its third birthday celebration and my contribution was a huge pond and fountain framed with 2000 red roses flown in by BOAC (BA). The pond leaked at 2 a.m. while my wife and I were working on an Indian curry festival design for the Harbour Room. We coped.

The Mandarin also offered me my only opportunity to design glass engravings. These I did for the Mandarin’s newly opened nightclub on the top floor. Don Ashton designed the Club and Eartha Kitt starred in the first cabaret.

There have been many such odd moments in a lengthy design career. The remaining black and white photographs refer to a commission from the Hong Kong Bank in Brunei. Apart from a mural in the main banking hall I also produced a metal sculpture to fit into a circular architectural feature in the main entrance. It stood happily for some time until the local children discovered that once the banking staff had gone home it could be used as an excellent climbing frame. Thereafter its days were numbered.

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這組畫有點怪誕,其中包括不少鮮為人知的作品,但最使我引以為榮的卻非出自我手。 我獲邀為香港管弦樂團有史以來最大型的音 樂會助興,以自己的一點綿力為音樂會畫龍點睛。 是次演出可謂盛況空前,紅磡體育館內座無虛席。 蝴蝶戀人是演奏會中最具吸引 力的節目之一。因而我制作了好幾幅金屬吊畫,下面飄曵着姿采萬千的變色彩蝶。可惜因我到晚期才與音樂會發生關係,以致作品無 法加入節目。為此,主持單位決定物盡其用,利用場館中巨型計分板的霓紅照明設備,在樂團表演上空把我的名字照亮起來。

有一次,在乘直升機飛往啟德機場途中,我接到邀請為1870年代的香港古貌繪制一幅風景圖,並在當中加入三架色彩鮮艷的黃色直 升機。

在擔任英國航空公司壁畫師期間,我兼任文華酒店的駐酒店畫家,隨後為國泰航空公司的旅遊畫家,這名銜是他們安的。所有的作品 幾乎全都集中在風景怡人的旅遊勝地。唯獨為文華酒店三週年紀念所作的一個項目。我為這次慶典制作了一個由兩千朵玫瑰滾邊的大 型池塘和噴水池。正當我和內子還在忙着為即將在港灣廳舉行的印度咖哩節設計時,一天清晨二時左右,池塘突然漏起水來,幸好還 是給我們應付過來。

文華酒店還為我提供了玻璃鑲作的唯一設計機會。我為文華酒店頂樓新開張的夜總會作了一些玻璃鑲品。 Don Ashton為夜總會設計 而Eartha Kitt則在卡巴萊歌舞首演中表演。

諸如這類趣妙的經歷在一個畫家漫長的設計生涯中還真不少。 畫冊中其餘那些黑白的相片是滙豐銀行委托我作的。 除了銀行大堂的 壁畫外,我還制作了一個用來套進大堂入口的一個圓形建築設計點的金屬雕塑品。 這雕塑品悠然自得地屹立在大堂不多久後就被小 孩子發現可以趁銀行職員下班後當攀爬物使用,從此以後這雕塑品的壽命也就指日可待了。