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Yuan Ming : Portfolio

Let’s start from the beginning: when did you first discover your passion for art?

Well I started becoming interested in art when I was probably around 5 years old. My Mother worked at a publishing company that published these traditional Chinese xiaoershu comic books, and that’s really how it began for me. I loved the graphics on those books, and in the beginning I started with tracing those graphics on paper. From tracing I moved onto sketching, and that’s really how it began for me.

And when did you begin to explore art as a form of self-expression beyond these technical skills?

Chinese art education is really more focused on the techniques aspect than the creativity aspect, so believe it or not I didn’t start painting out of my own imagination until I was in my late twenties. The silver lining is that by this point I had already 20 years of technical development if you will, which as a foundation was great in enabling me to navigate the creative process in finding my own aesthetics.

Let’s talk more about this creative process, how does it work for you?

I actually take much more pleasure in the creative process than in the artwork itself. For me, the journey is the goal, rather than just a means to it. It’s like in Buddhism: you don’t reach Nirvana by spending your days thinking about reaching Nirvana, you reach it by devoting your life to the meditation process and guiding yourself towards that sense of purity. Making art is the same kind of deal to me. I don’t like to think about the stakes of the art I’m making — whether it will be accepted by the market, whether it will be remembered in art history — I just like to ensconce myself in the process.

And yet the aesthetics of your artwork is quite unique and consistent, are there any particular themes that you’ve pursued with your artwork? 

For me, an artist’s ultimate responsibility is developing a unique sense of taste and conveying that through his artwork. Along those lines, I’ve always been in a pursuit of subtraction rather than addition, much in the traditions of the Bauhaus movement and other minimalism philosophies.

Would you say you’re influenced by any of the old masters of minimalism or abstract arts?

Mark Rothko is my favorite artist by far, someone who I think has really captured a certain essence of painting by his deep exploration on the effects of color. Additionally though, I would say that much of my art is influenced by just the regular people around me. I have this childhood friend who went into business and he’s doing very well, and one time he said to me that he has  never been quite as happy in his life as he was when we were kids tending our farmlands. That notion really stuck with me, because having come from the same background I can empathize with the kind of happiness that comes from doing daily work that’s physically laborious yet almost meditative from a mental standpoint. To me as an artist, I still have the luxury that my friend doesn’t have of continuing to live in that state of mind.

Yuan Ming

Born 1981 in Gansu, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China


2007     BFA, The China Academy of Art, Hangzhou China


2017     Autumn Works Invitation, Eslite Art Space, Beijing China

Dream Mountain Contemporary Works On Paper Exhibition, Shang shang International Art Museum, Beijing China

Fennel, Fang Art Space, Beijing China

Visual Art Abduction Exhibition, 3898 Gallery, Beijing China

2016     Cohesion, Beijing Shanhai Art Museum, Beijing China

2015     Poly Tenth Anniversary Contempary Art Fair, Beijing National Agricultural Exhibition Hall, Beijing China

2013     We 1994-2013: The Twentieth Anniversary of Songzhuang Artists’ Colony, Songzhuang Art Museum, Beijing China

2012     Long Posession of Private Brewing, Yee Hong Gallery, Beijing China

2011     Giant Cup of Contemporary Art Students Annual Awards Exhibition, Beijing Today Art Museum, Beijing China

Art Archives 80 Exhibition, Songzhuang Wansheng Park Museum, Beijing China

The Floating Life Series

The Moonlight Series

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