These Things Happen with Chico Leong

November 17 2023 – Jack Stutfield

“These Things Happen” is going to be opening Friday @ On The Corner gallery, what’s the story behind the title, is there a theme to the show?

No real theme to the show, but I guess the majority of the pieces use the same or similar posters, just layered differently so they all tie in together that way. My work has been very Type heavy since I started making these collages. At the start of the year, I was a bit bored with what I was making so I wanted to switch it up a little , so I choose to use faces instead of words. The title of the show is kind of like a ‘shit happens’ type vibe. A few years ago, I had some health issues and ended up in hospital for a couple weeks. It just came out of nowhere and the doctors said there was a small chance I could die. It changed my whole mindset and outlook on life, so now I just go about life like these things happen, you can either be a hater and complain or choose to be positive and roll with it. If you stay positive, then that’s the kind of energy you’ll be attracting so most of the time it’ll be all good. As long as you’re alive, then you’re chillin.

Yeah sick, I think I read it similar to that, it felt like an acceptance statement for sure! That seems to be a hard point to reach for an artist, do you find yourself getting caught ruminating over works and chasing perfection? or have you learnt to embrace the little imperfections?

Definitely learnt to embrace it. When I first started making these collages, I thought that everything had to be perfect. If I got air bubbles or creases, I would be off it and think that the piece was ruined. But now I feel like the work looks better if it’s not too perfect. It’s good to have texture and imperfections in the piece. That’s all part of the style. 

How long have you been working on this body of work? And did you build it out especially for this show or does it feature pieces from different periods?

Some of the pieces I’ve had since earlier in the year. I’d had it in my mind for a while that I’d have a show soon, but originally I was going to plan for it to be next year. The studio started to fill up, so I thought why do I want to wait until next year, may as well have one before the end of the year seeing as I already have a bunch of work to show. Once I had made my mind up that it was happening this year, then I started to plan it out a bit more and started to make pieces specifically for the show.

I know everyone can be very different on this one, but do you like to show your pieces to friends while you pull it together or do you prefer to keep it all under lock and key until opening night?

This is my first proper solo show, so unless someone had come to the studio, then I didn’t want to show anyone the work. I like that people will be able to see most of these pieces for the first time in person instead of on their phone.

You’re currently living in Melbourne yeah? Did you grow up there, if not where?

Yeah in Melbourne, but I grew up in Warrandyte, which is about 30-40 mins from the city. It’s a small town, it’s chill. I rarely go back but when I do, I can appreciate how nice it is. The air is fresher out there haha. It was cool growing up there but also really bogan. If you were a skater and wore your pants low, then all the bogans would try and staunch you and tell you to pull your pants up haha. 

For those who might not be too familiar with your current works I’d wager they would certainly be across your artwork from Common Dust, how did you first get into design?

Ah yeah Cdust was a good time, that’s how the work I make now started. I’ve always been creative. Drawing as a kid, graff when I was a teenager, photography as I got a bit older but I only started getting into design in my twenties when I went to study Graphic design. 

There’s often a subtle nod to hardcore and punk music through your artwork, I’ve hardly met an artist I like that doesn’t have a healthy taste in music to back it up, in a chicken or egg situation which do you think normally inspires people first?

I think music. Well for me anyway, music is one of the biggest things that inspires me. Without music in my life, I might find it hard to be creative.

What are your top 5 tracks looking like at the moment - no filter, no shame…

Grinding all my life  - Nipsey Hussle
Over the limit - Benny the Butcher, Dom Kennedy
The Sopranos - Tee Grizzley, Machine Gun Kelly
Werewolf - Lil Uzi Vert, Bring me the Horizon
L.E.S Artists - Santigold



Be sure to go check 'These Things Happen' tonight at On The Corner Gallery. See more of Chico's work here: @chico.wun and


Photos by Michael Danischewski: @mdanischewski and