q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.
a)First of all, I’m a Chinese, 36 years old. I began to study fine art at the age of 12, and graduated from the art college when I was 23. I’ve been painting all the time in my teenage. I took it for granted that I would take painting as my career in my future life. But finally I became a file art director for some commercial films and MTV, working related with the costumes, make-ups and the pros, etc. In the later several years, I also worked as the director and the photographer of the film. I always like to participate all kinds of works that I’ve been involved in. Later I found that such kind of job cannot allow me to have the free expression because of the boring limitation of the commercial works. During quite a long period of the boring career, I felt extremely distressed. When I couldn’t bear that anymore, I just gave up all that I already had. I thought that was the time to work as an artist only working for my-self. In 2004 I started my independent art creation. Of course the beginning was very hard without the job of making a living, nor the feel of social security. Fortunately I met people who loved my work. They were supportive to me. So, now I can make a live on my art.
q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?
a)I was born in a arty family. My father was a drama director, and my mother is a drama actress. I witnessed the life of my parents related deeply with the art, or it could be said that they lived in art. So it’s natural for me to become an artist, and seems as my destination as well. Actually I once expected to be an zoologist when I was young, especially marine biologist, therefore I chose to pick up the book of this category in the library. But later I noticed the influence in my blood. and chose to live my nowadays life gradually.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a)Currently I preferred the vision work, especially the photography. I’m also trying to work on some paintings and installations. So far I feel like that those works haven’t formed the complete language, while photograph is able to represent me to talk. By producing these image works, I feel like I’m as poet, who describing the wonderful world without pause.
Probably because I had vision related working experience in the past 9 years, I felt that was simple when I making these works. The intuition leads me, which is the most important thing. The intuition could guide you into the world you couldn’t imagine by yourself. Many my works are like this. I only believe the moment that moved me, while I can hardly tell why after that moment. What a pity that I’m slow in thought when I paint.
q) How would you describe your style?
a)I would rather like to know how people think about my work. I don’t want to explain my work anymore. I used to explain it before, but I found that my notes would actually become the wrong guide sometimes, make to work simpler. While the world is so abundant in fact, countless audience with countless different points of view to look at the work, it will become unpredictable and abundant as the world, which is really a funny thing.
I’ve heard many comments on my style, what I thought interesting as below:
Very dramatic, like a movie still image, let people think about the story once happened or going to happen right now.
More like painting work, all is set-up. The sense of the reality of photography and the absurdity generates large contrast.
Very unhealthy, very dark. Just some odd ideas, but the image is very gorgeous.
q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?
a)I would use all kinds of processes, no regulation in particular. During the shooting I often use special effect of film photograph I used to learn before, of course very simple because of no money. For example, use extremely thin fishing line and some smoke, etc., could make some special effect over the image. And after shooting, I will paint the color in computer. If the result isn’t good, it would be produced as photo first, then make some effect by hand, painting on color, and make it looks poor, etc.
Under most circs, my most important work is exactly in the shooting moment. My shooting always takes quite a long time of preparation, careful arrangement, and many modifications on the details that you cannot find out in the final image.
q) What are you working on at present?
a)I’ve set up a stage in my studio, and put in many plants on the stage, including a big faking tree as well. Then I waited for their drying out to death, just like a corner of an abandoned garden. After that, I made a huge glass window, like the display case in the museum before, covering in front of the scene. I’ve shot many different persons in this scene, wearing different clothes, playing different roles. Sometimes I thought the fate of our human beings is like this, either a little character on the stage, or the animal specimen displayed in the window of museum. While those waste garden with invasion of grass is exactly like the background of our lives. Of course in the play, we are well-dressed, with heavenly expression.
q) What about recent sources of inspirations?
a)Indian poet Tagore’s poetry and Greek director Theo Angelopoulos’s all fimes.
q) What are some of your obsessions?
a)I’m fond of perfection, so I live with worries. I always think I could do things better. When I create any of my work, most my unsatisfied moment is always when I just done that. But put it aside for some time, when I looked at it later again, I felt like almost nothing could be modified. Only if the work hasn’t been released, I always do the modifications repeatedly. I know that might not be good, but that’s my character. No way.
q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?
a)I have collaborated with several galleries inside china and overseas, such as Aura Gallery in China, CSG gallery in Canada, and I will have several solo exhibitions in Europe these months.
The galleries I’d like to work with are those really like my work and have unique review of the contemporary art.
q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?
a)I’d like to. I like to hear of other person’s comments, opinion on my work. On the other hand, I feel like lack of time. I always have too many plans need to be executed, so I would rather no to be bother by anyone sometimes.
q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?
a)About 8 years ago, when I haven’t stared my art creation yet, I was very busy occupied by my commercial advertisement work. One day I happened to meet my schoolmate of my college who is elder than me, and a professional artist at that time, but not that famous. I was very happy to meet him, and talked about art that night, criticized other person’s work, described the good work in my view. I remember my schoolmate of rare words, who is one of the most important artists now in China, after listening to my speech, asked me a question: what’s your work?
I was shamed. I didn’t have any work at that time, but only good at talk. For many years, I’ve been remembered this matter, which even become one of the motivations for me to give all up and start doing art. So, I’d like to talk to the younger artist this: Your work is your language, otherwise could be silent.
q) Who are your favorite artists?
a)Too many, hard to tell who are my favorites. All the artists with independent soul make filled with deep esteem.
q) What books are on your nightstand?
a)My bed is put in the middle of my library, surrounded by the books. So I don’t have any book on my nightstand, but sleep in the books. What’s I read recently as below:
‘The Garden of Eros’ by Oscar Wilde / ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostoyevsky / Speech Collection by Chinese author Lu Xun / Several Japanese whodunit cartoons / Fairy tales by Brothers Grimm / a contemporary artists book – ART NOW .
q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?
a)I indulge myself very much, these years is all like this. I never push myself to stop doing the thing I’m interested in. Often I read until morning, listen to some music I love repeatedly until the CD broke. As soon as I work, I don’t want to stop, until I’m exhausted to sleep. Smoking a lot, eat anything I like. Hehh…In general I don’t want to regulate myself now, although I know this might be unhealthy, but I couldn’t stop.