Whereas for me, nature is my outlet.

Qian Yinxiao, Silver

 

Qian Yinxiao, Silver

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, while others hide behind an inscrutable mask. However, it is not impossible to identify underlying sentiments from people’s body language, or, for artworks, painters’ brushwork.

Graduated with BA (Hons) in Visual Arts from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), Professor Raymond Fung Award for Chinese Painting recipient and emerging artist Qian Yinxiao, Silver (L5-19) grasps the changing forms of emotions and thoughts with ink, to present an “emotional landscape” like no other.

 

JJCCAC
Q1. J

What prompted you to become an artist?

 

SQian Yinxiao, Silver
A1. S

During my secondary school studies, I took part in the Arts Ambassadors-in-School Scheme, and met a number of artists such as Frog King (Kwok Mang-ho). Being an artist remained a far-off dream then, until I studied visual arts in HKBU and gained confidence in my creativity. Taking things one step at a time, I now have my own studio here at JCCAC.

 

Melancholy I, Released

Ink and acrylic on paper | 2019

Melancholy I and Released is a set of graduation exhibition works displayed and it got Prof Raymond Fung Award for Chinese Painting. The artworks are the process more than the result. It showed the theme of “existence” at the beginning, then applied the experience of “pain”, and finally realized the chaos that has been entangled with own.

 

Q2. J

Your relationship with Chinese ink painting is …

 

A2. S

My first encounter with ink painting dates back to the second year of university. Koon Wai-bong was our tutor then, and he saw potential in my experimental ink works. From there, I took up ink painting as my primary creative medium. In fact, I have always been fond of water-based materials. Their fluid nature perfectly expresses the stream of personal emotions and thoughts that my works tend to originate from. From inner self to outer environment, I try to capture the chaos and transformations of our souls and surroundings.

 

Q3. J

Is your art creation process one that is improvisational in nature or deliberate with meticulous planning?

 

A3. S

Usually I try to sort out my thoughts best as I can, come up with a general direction or framework, before putting paintbrush to paper. This is to ensure ideas and layers are shown in the work. During the painting process, however, I follow my heart and instinct. Therefore, it is a combination of both.

 

Melancholy I

Ink and acrylic on paper | 2019

 

Melancholy II

Ink and acrylic on paper | 2019

 

Q4. J

What are the similarities and differences between your work and traditional Chinese paintings?

 

A4. S

Traditional Chinese paintings express outward admiration and respect for nature, with sentiments in the backseat and hiding behind the realist landscape. For me, nature is an outlet – my feelings are expressed through abstract brushstrokes in a straight forward manner, creating a different kind of scenery.

Although my works appear to veer away from tradition, I actually appreciate and take reference from traditional Chinese paintings. Their composition and imagery are deeply ingrained in my mind, which become a kind of ‘muscle memory’, I guess this is why some viewers may discern hints of “Chinese landscapes” from my work, even though I did not set out to create landscape paintings.

 

Q5. J

How do you meld ink with various materials? Are there any interesting discoveries?

 

Full Bloom

Ink and mixed media on paper | 2017

 

A5. S

Take Full Bloom as an example, I incorporated dried flowers in splash ink, to create different layers. On the painting, the dried flowers stand out like stones that create a physical block against the flow of water. Interestingly, the paint yellowed over time with the dried flowers. Just like plants, feelings fade and wither with the passage of time. Meanwhile, the Melancholy series is a combination of Chinese ink and acrylic, both of which I am rather familiar with, giving the works a touch of East-meets-West, as well as a blend of old and new.

Recently, I try to include calligraphic brushstrokes in my work, and Lonesome* is one of such experiments. It is inspired by the book Invisible Cities, which accompanied me during my trip to Belgium and Austria last summer as an exchange student, and fused with my daily musings. These prose-like short sentences are assimilated into my work to lend it a poetic quality.

 

Lonesome

Ink and mixed media on paper | 2020

 

Q6. J

Could you tell us more about “Wandering In The Wilderness”, your upcoming solo exhibition at PMQ? The fragments on the exhibition posters are …

 

A6. S

Besides Full Bloom and Melancholy, the exhibition will also feature the remaining portion of the fragments shown on the exhibition posters. These fragments are actually pieces I have torn off from my work. The initial idea was that the exhibition poster should not be just a piece of printed matter, but a part of the exhibited works . Surprisingly, after being torn off a piece, the remaining portion resembles a mountain, which echoes the notion of “hidden landscape” in my other works.

What I wish to express is that when people experience catharsis, their beliefs and values may be obliterated or broken into fragments, and being chipped away bit by bit unknowingly.

 

”Wandering In The Wilderness” exhibition poster (painting in pieces)

2020

People become incomplete after undergoing various baptisms, just like these fragments. Will we realize what we have lost?

 

”Wandering In The Wilderness” exhibition poster (original painting)
2020
”Wandering In The Wilderness” exhibition poster (the remaining painting)
2020
Q7. J

Why do you want to explore “forms of existence” through your works?

 

A7. S

Some years ago, when I went back to Mainland China to visit my relatives, I was introduced to the concept of existentialism through Kenzaburō Ōe’s Under the Tree of Mine. From then on I started to explore this concept in my works. Philosophy and the arts are similar in that there are no standard answers and both are open to interpretations. In my opinion, life is a constant search for answers. But it is not the attainment of answers that is important, but rather the journey of pursuit that matters.

 

Q8. J

Do you strive for perfection in your works and life in general?

 

A8. S

To me, art is not about pursuing perfection, but providing food for thought and a framework that encourages dialogue, as well as creating resonance. My works, just like people in general, are full of rugged edges. It is within these ups and downs or uncertainties of life that one would discover pleasant surprises.

 

Thorn

Ink and mixed media on paper | 2018

Thorn exhibited in 2019 to 2020 – I am period positive Selected Exhibition, Various Location.

 

Melancholy II, Void

Ink and acrylic on paper | 2019
Ink and mixed media on paper | 2017

Void and Melancholy II exhibited in 2019 – TAKE 1, Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery

 

This “valley” is not just an exclusive place for me to escape from the hustle and bustle of life and to concentrate on my own works, it is also an open corner for conversations and exchange of ideas.

 

 

Q9. J

Could you share with us your thoughts on your studio and future plans?

 

A9. S

I feel blessed to be able to set up my studio at JCCAC. Compared to other options like industrial buildings, I find it easier to focus on art-making here, soaking in the vibe of an artist village. The location and environment also make it more welcoming and convenient for the general public to visit. I named my studio Shao Nian Gu (Youth Valley) to remind myself to be young at heart – stay curious and hopeful towards the future. This “valley” is not just an exclusive place for me to escape from the hustle and bustle of life and to concentrate on my own works, it is also an open corner for conversations and exchange of ideas.

In addition to ink paintings, I also do illustrations, like the “Cheng Tau Yan” series. I produced different postcards for this character, which I distribute at JCCAC Handicraft Fair and exchange with strangers from around the world. Moreover, working at a non-profit organisation has given me the opportunity to organise activities related to community arts and arts therapy, I hope I can continue to bring people of different backgrounds together through arts.

*Donated to Faith in Love Foundation for charity sale.

 

“Cheng Tau Yan Eyes Travel” Exhibition at JCCAC Blue Wall

2019

 

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