Let’s start with the fundamental question: why do you make art?
I don’t feel like I chose
to make art, so as much as I feel that this is what I’m meant to do. It probably has to do with personality; some people are more suited for the logical and analytical, while others like myself I feel are more driven by emotions and passions. Being this way characteristically, art has just always felt like a very natural pursuit in my life.
So when did you first discover your passion for art?
It really started with my father. He was a calligrapher, so I started learning traditional Chinese art at a very young age. I discovered at this early age that art came pretty natural to me, that I learned and improved faster than the other kids around me.
Do you think this early training in traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting have had any influence on your contemporary artworks?
There definitely has been influences. Chinese calligraphy and guohua
ink paintings utilizes techniques and compositions that are a bit different than the art theories of the west. Even though my primary language is abstract art passed down from western art history, I think elements of these traditional Chinese techniques and compositions can still be seen in my works.
So would you say your father has influenced your artistic style?
Well he was the catalyst, but I wouldn’t say he’s been the most influential on my overall style. I was really more influenced by the old masters of abstract arts, like Mark Rothko for example, who I consider to be the definitive pioneer in elevating the practice of abstraction.
Do you take the inspirations for your artworks from these old masters?
Indirectly I do; to me the most important inspiration comes back to what I was saying earlier about emotions and passions. I am interested in exploring the relationship between the visible — color, composition, geometry — and the internal. My main pursuit in making art has always been a pursuit of self-discovery. I’m actually quite curious myself as to why I feel the need to paint the subject matters that I do, or to paint them in the ways that I do, and it is oftentimes through the process of painting that I discover the answers.
Can you talk a bit more about your process, how you make your artwork?
Most oftentimes I paint right before I go to sleep. I’ve had insomnia for much of my life actually, and my mind tends to wander in the moments that I try to get myself to sleep. I usually keep a pencil and pad on my nightstand, because I’ve found that the kinds of imagery that comes to my mind when I close my eyes at night is quite ephemeral. These kinds of imagery almost never comes to me during the day — in terms of the colors, lines, compositions and such — perhaps because they can only manifest themselves when my mind feels free to wander.
Born 1987 in Hangzhou, China. Lives and works in Shanghai, China
2010 BFA, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou China
2017 I AM HERE BY CHANCE solo exhibition, Paper Gallery, Shanghai China
Asia Contemporary Art Show, Hong Kong China
2014 Sheng Xiao Solo Exhibition, J.D. Arts, Shanghai China
2013 100% Design, Shanghai China
2012 Young Artists Group Exhibition, Hangzhou China