A TEENAGER has been inspired to follow his dreams after debuting his art at a Leamington festival.
Hugo Pang was the youngest creative to exhibit his skills at the town’s inaugural Japanese Festival held in January at The Pump Rooms.
The 15-year-old, who originally hails from Hong Kong, has been drawing since he was three and now spends more than four hours a day recreating characters from Japan’s iconic comic book scene – Manga.
Hugo, who moved to the UK with his family two years ago, was not expecting such a positive response to his art at the cultural event.
He admitted he had ‘underestimated’ himself and wasn’t prepared for the some 1,000 people browsing his work at the festival.
He said: “It was a great experience for me as this is my first time of having a exhibition and selling event to participate in.
“The event brought me some motivation to move even more forward than I am now and some recognition locally.”
The budding artist, who is set to take his GCSEs this year, hopes to study art in Tokyo towards a future in animation.
But, ultimately, he dreams of creating his very own Manga series.
He added: “This has created motivation for me to draw even more than before, now I am looking forward to participating in more related festivals and conventions around the UK, trying to get more exposure.
“My ideas now are to work on a Manga series of my own and publish it internationally sooner or later but it is a big step apart for me to create a Manga of my own.”
Festival organiser and former Japan resident Milagros Kuga was equally overwhelmed by the response to the cultural event to which some 3,500 visitors flocked – with hundreds more turned down due to limited space.
She said: “I only expected about 500 people so I wasn’t prepared for thousands but it was amazing. We had lots of staff and volunteers on standby and everyone queuing was very calm, interested and understanding.”
A number of artists, crafters and musicians showcased their wares and skills, from drummers and theatre performers, to those demonstrating traditional Japanese crafts including Saori (hand weaving) and Origami.
Following her festival high, Milagros, herself a jewellery maker, has been inspired to help others follow their creative calling.
The mum-of-one said: “I was very emotional to see how my idea, my passion for Japan, has come to life.
“I was the solo person running this so it just shows if you work hard you can achieve things.
“I feel very proud of the festival and that it helped showcase Hugo – I was extremely excited to have him debut. He was frightened but now the response has reassured he is good at what he does.
“I want to help to motivate more young people to follow their dreams – it’s important.”
As well as her plans to hold motivational talks and traditional Japanese workshops, such as tea ceremonies, Milagros is already looking for venues to host an even bigger festival event next year.
Follow Japan Festival Leamington on Facebook for updates.
Pictures by Marcus Mingins 0822009MMR copyright Bullivant Media.