TRADITIONAL POP ART BY JACKY TSAI

by Ariadna Zierold

jacky tsai, chinese, china, pop art, traditional, culture, upper playground

Jacky Tsai is a Chinese pop artist, creating peculiar pieces with an inventive approach to traditional materials and craftsmanship. Tsai works to establish balance and harmony between cultural extremes. His original style, featuring of references to western pop art in combination with eastern artistry re-imagines the concept of beauty to be appreciated by viewer of all different cultural heritages. Tsai works across various fields including installations, sculpture, and fashion.

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COLORFUL CHAOS BY ZHOU FAN

by Ariadna Zierold

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Zhou Fan was born in 1983 in Shanxi Province in northern China. In 2006, Zhou graduated from the art department of Shanxi University. He participated in a solo exhibition and several group exhibition in his home province that year. Zhou has been very inspired by his childhood. While the artist has always had a strong fascination for Jellyfish, Zhou’s “Love of Jellyfish” series of paintings is based on dreams that he had as a young boy of many jellyfish floating in the sky, some of which fell to the ground on parachutes and became mushrooms. These dreams had a strong impact on the artist, and he remembers them vividly.

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While Fan’s paintings may at first look happy and cheerful because they are colorful, many of the artist’s works have a sad undertone to them. Zhou seems to be quite sensitive to the fact that people can be cruel and destructive, and he can see the effect China’s societal changes are having on individuals and the society as a whole. Fan likes to combine the impossible, and while it looks beautiful within the paintings, the results can be confusing and chaotic-seeming.

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FASCINATING WONDERLANDS BY ALICE LIN

by Ariadna Zierold

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Beijing based Alice Lin, aka LINLIN, is a freelance artist as well as painter and 3D Art with a passion for new Chinese meticulous painting and 3D projection art. She first fell in love with the technique when she was a child, inspired by Chinese tradition techniques and surrealism.

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Alice style is rich and full of details, harmonizes apparently discordant elements and intertwines them together by a skillful use of drawings and paintings. The resulting is unique, fanciful whimsical, undertones of wit and a good old vivid finish. This new and fascinating wonderland of possible realities combines with the human figure, plants, animals into a singular, calm, dark vision.

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WEIRD NARRATIVES BY INKEE WANG

by Ariadna Zierold

inkee wang, shanghai, china, illustrator, illustration, illustrations, graphic, vibrant, geometric, minimal, narrative, narratives, upper playground

Shanghai, China based Inkee Wang has a background studying graphic design at Central Saint Martins and latterly animation at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. Inkee creates illustrations fizzing with weird and wonderful narratives.

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More recently, Inkee has been working with watercolors to add a textural representation to her characters. She is also working on improving her Cinema 4D skills, in an attempt to write a longer story and make an animation about it.

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CLEVER ILLUSTRATIONS BY JUN CEN

by Ariadna Zierold

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Jun Cen (previously featured here) is an award-wining illustrator and animator born in Guangzhou, China, a subtropical city with warm and humid weather. He received his MFA in Illustration degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013. He is the Overall New Talent winner of the 2013 Association of Illustrators Award. His work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, 3×3 Illustration Competition and more.

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His conceptual illustrations portray stories in clever and inventive ways. Cen’s cunning use of patterns to represent ice, stone, and fur is very innovative. Rather than drawing these textures by hand, he employs marbled and blotchy patterns that mimic the lighting and colors of these natural surfaces.

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SPIRITUAL AWARENESS BY XIAOYI CHEN

by Ariadna Zierold

xiaoyi chen, china, uk, photography, photographer, photograph, pictures, monochromatic, black and white, dark, landscape, abstraction, upper playground

Xiaoyi Chen currently lives and works in UK and China. She received her MA in photography from the London College of Communications in 2014 and was awarded the LCC/Photofusion Prize. Chen’s work has been exhibited and published internationally.

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Chen’s practice is tied to a natural, oriental aesthetic, influenced by Western abstract art and oriental philosophy. Photography is a personal tool for Chen, used to question broad concepts that migrate from the personal to the philosophical realm. Her recent work focuses on the combination of photography and printmaking, a combination of techniques used to explore beneath the surface of things by simplifying and abstracting; an approach aimed at reviving spiritual awareness and intuition before entering the symbolic nature of what we view.

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FANTASTICAL CREATURES BY GUO FENGYI

by Ariadna Zierold

guo fengyi, drawing, china, creatures, surreal, abstract, ink, upper playground

Guo Fengyi’s ink drawings of fantastical creatures are completely alive, as might be expected from an artist whose work began with studies of qi, or life-energy. Fengyi was born in Xi’an, central China, in 1942. She obtained her high school diploma in 1962 and found work in a rubber factory. However, severe bouts of arthritis forced her to give up her career at the age of thirty-nine. She turned to alternative medicine in the hope of alleviating her symptoms, and found a new spiritual path in Qi Gong.

guo fengyi, drawing, china, creatures, surreal, abstract, ink, upper playground

She started experiencing visions in 1989, as a result of which she produced large numbers of drawings, first on the backs of pages from calendars, then later on rice paper. She worked with Indian ink and brushes, producing works up to five metres long, drawn with no initial plan in mind, discovering her own creation as she worked. The multitude of delicate lines form ghostly figures, dragons, phoenixes, and faces, sometimes interwoven, smiling and serene or terrifying and monstrous.

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A WORLD OF UNEXPECTED BY SHANG CHENGXIANG

by Ariadna Zierold

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Chinese artist Shang Chengxiang’s compositions have a realistic foundation in which he inserts surreal, thick colored clouds, leaving you to interpret the limit among consciousness and unconsciousness. Dream plays a crucial role in his works. Psychedelic colors, absurd settings, lunar landscapes, his paintings are overflowing by imagination.

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His paintings are often a mixture of memories of his dreams and pondering of his reality and things that are in between. The colorful cloud smoke in his “Cloud Path” series derive from the rainbow-color forest that once appeared in his dream; many drafts and attempts later, the artist couldn’t recreate the scene, the illusionary quality of dreams started to sink into Chengxiang’s mind.

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Combining colors with clouds in his paintings, together with surreal and dream like images, Shang Chengxiang leads his audiences to a world of unexpected. He compares this illusionary quality of dreams to the evaporating quality of cloud and smoke, both temporary and unobtainable.

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