Let’s start from the beginning: when did you first discover your passion for art?
My uncle was an artist, so I was exposed to art at a very young age. Throughout elementary school — so starting when I was about 7 or 8 years old — I remember just always making sketches and drawings throughout the day, during class, outside of class, when I should be doing homework, just every chance I got. It’s felt like a very natural path that’s gotten me where I am today; I didn’t really plan it out with any great ambition or anything, I just did what I loved and that’s what I continue to do.
Do you consider your uncle to be the person who influenced your art the most?
Yes and no, I mean I consider my professional pursuit of being an artist to have began when I first moved to the Songzhuang
art district in Beijing. It’s the largest artist enclave in China by far, and when I lived there I was hanging out with a group of artists who I’d say have collectively inspired each other. More than any one person, it was this group influence that probably shaped my art the most.
They collectively inspired you in what way?
They gave me a deeper understanding of art. Up until this point my exposure and study of art has mostly been in the academic setting, which in China is still very much focused on techniques and execution, rather than understanding art as a form of expression. Songzhuang
really opened my eyes to the aesthetics of contemporary art. I began to sense a new aesthetic being formed amongst our new generation of artists, this post-internet aesthetic if you will. The sheer breadth and volume of visual media that our generation is exposed to on a daily basis is unprecedented in all of human history, and we are not only the first generation ever to have such an exposure but perhaps also the last to experience any real fundamental change like that brought on by the internet.
As you developed yourself as an artist, have you found there to be any particular themes you’ve pursued through your artwork?
I would say there’s been two major periods of my career as an artist so far. My earlier period I was obsessive in exploring the effects of lines and geometry on the composition of a painting. I found it to be a rather unique form of expression, and for a period of time it became really the signature style of my artwork. My latter and most recent period I’ve become much more interested in exploring the effects of color. Between this and my earlier pursuit of lines and geometry, I think I’m really pursuing an almost philosophical representation of time and the human experience.
Time and the human experience... how does that manifest itself in your artwork?
Well in my most recent Fragmented Time
series, where I’m painting these goldfish or a flowers, the overall imagery is made up of geometric shapes and colors that each can stand alone. Taking these colorful diamonds and triangles out of context is like taking any individual life experience out of context; it could still be interesting an interesting story, but not nearly as interesting as how it fits into one’s overall life.
The total is greater than the sum of its parts, just as in life.
Absolutely; and also on the other hand that we should value each individual life experience and appreciate them for their uniqueness. Some experiences last longer than others, some are linear in time, others are not, some are more colorful than others, and some have an overall greater impact on our lives and others, but in the end we are the total of our experiences and yes, that total is much greater than the sum of its parts.