Currently having a gallery in California (at the time of this interview) we had the privilege of interviewing the very talented and beautiful painter Xue Wang. Her subject matter is quite morbid….but cute. Needless to say, our chats of tiny feet, art and nursery rhymes is something you don’t want to miss! Read below for the full interview…
Could you tell us about your Solo Show in California? What was your creative mindset going into this exhibit?
Xue: The show is called “Time Off For Good Behaviour” which was inspired by crime. I wanted to show a more balanced side to things. I mean, not merely present the acts as purely bad or condemn the perpetrators. There’s a lot of impish play on the temptation we all have to commit anti-social acts.
This is also your first time presenting yourself in the United States. Have you let your imagination run a bit wild on how Americans will respond to your artwork? Do you feel different cultures respond to art in various manners?
Xue: As to pitching to a different public not really (In fact I first exhibited there in 2011), I would’ve done the same thing if the show were in the UK. Maybe the American audience is more open to the darker theme, but people are all different.
Lots of your work are inspired by old tales, history and nursery rhymes. What gravitates you towards this subject matter and why do you find it easy to translate into art?
Xue: The childhood thing is always in me. I’m from a single child family, and had no siblings. So I spent most of my contact time with my dolls, either talking to them or setting up various scenarios to act out. Even when I did my MA fashion design degree, I made a doll and a short animation film to promote my final collection.
Does this theme account for the way you illustrate eyes in an exaggerated fashion?
Xue: As most dolls have oversized eyes and children tend to envision people with scaled up heads, I feel this as a more instinctive representation.
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
Xue: Funeral Parade of Roses, Realm of the Senses and Ikiru spring to mind. The first beautifully made and slightly twisted. The last offers hope, even in the eleventh hour.
How do you make sure your artwork continues to be edgy and evolve into more unsettling subject matters without becoming stale?
Xue: It’s hard to say, I would just go with my instinct. It’s not a conscious act, my thoughts have always been a bit weird.
You are able to work with pencil, gouache, oil, and many other mediums. How did you become well-versed in many disciplines? Is it hard to balance all your talents?
Xue: I think most of the artists can use many mediums to work with. It’s just what they prefer, and settled in one or two. Much of it is through trial and error. This is how I worked out glazing in oils.
I also noticed the people in your work have really tiny feet. Do you like to include subtle characteristics of your own self into your subjects?
Xue: [Laughs Hard] I do have small feet, but not as small as in my paintings. Again, dolls often have small feet- a bit like Betty Boop.
As an artist, what tips do you have for freelancers to live more frugally and live a happy life?
Xue: I’m very lucky to be able to do what I wanted in my life—paint although there were frustrations and down sides. But imagination makes the world go round. If this is what you want, go for it. Maybe having a part time job at the beginning would help with the financial situation. You don’t need that much physical space to paint in. It’s surprising but I used to do it all from a dining table top!
Lastly, what can we expect from you in the duration of 2013? More exhibits or perhaps an art book?
Xue: I’ve just got back from the solo show at Copro. That was an exciting occasion. Then I have an art fair in late April. Also, there’s another solo show at least and a couple of group shows. I also want to spend some time on lots of en plein air landscape studies. This will be something new and I have wanted to do it for some time to improve my skills. I’d love to have a book. But it’s not the time yet. I’ll know when I’m ready.
Want to stay up to date on all of Xue’s fancy travels and shows? Visit her official site below: