SOME PEOPLE DECIDE TO DRAW, BUT I HAVE TO, BECAUSE IT'S THE NATURAL THING FOR ME TO DO.
I moved to the United States when I was 17 years old. My favorite artist Yayoi Kusama said when she was young, in her hometown, many people wanted to emigrate to America. She heard that everything was happening there, and she always wanted to go. American people have a more generous understanding of individuality than the Japanese, and the tempo in New York is so much slower. It’s a big relief for her but also for me.
When I was very young, I had no idea what an artist was. I just knew that drawing made me extremely happy. Drawing also gave me confidence because my friends and teachers always appreciated my drawing gift. However, my father didn’t support me to be an artist because he believed that art was not a serious career. Indeed, not just my father, but most people I knew, thought of artists as poor, informal people who loaf around doing nothing. 18 years ago, Chinese people did not expect the Chinese economy to develop explosively. In the following years, every industry thrived, including arts. As time went by, I gradually became more sure that art never equates to laziness or poverty. On the contrary, art is energetic and passionate. The arts have infiltrated every single aspect of our lives. On Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, you can find art everywhere, such as chic clothes, delicate Italian and French cuisines, astonishing Rockefeller Center, attractive advertisings and all the pretty faces. Their shapes, colors, and constructions are all forms of art.
I will never forget the first assignment of the art class at my elementary school. I clearly remember that my teacher asked me to draw a pencil. The body of the pencil was a hexagonal cylinder while the top of it was a cone. I finished drawing this easy assignment and I added a pair of wings on this pencil to prove that I was also a creative kid.
Though I was not expecting it, those wings changed my life forever. The drawing of the pencil changed my father’s view. He changed his mind and decided to support me to become an artist. He found the best teacher for me and started taking me to drawing lessons on weekends to get me more professional training. One day, on our way to the drawing class, my father shared his thought with me about the pencil I drew. He told me it was not just a pencil. It was a construction that related space geometry, solid geometry and powerful spatial imagination. My father said he believed that I already had those abilities that people usually could not obtain until years of training. That was the first time that my father admitted that he believed that I was talented. I started studying drawing when I was six years old and I never gave up. Drawing has accompanied me for 18 years.
Besides my parents, my first art teacher played a very important role in my life, and she not only led me to knock on the door of art, but also deeply influenced my thoughts about art. Her name is Yao Wang and she was an outstanding artist in my hometown of Wuhan. She respects traditionally academic art and pays attention to techniques of drawing; she believes an excellent sketch was made of millions of strings and all lines can represent a successful painter’s basics. Therefore she is strict at our basics. If she hadn’t been so strict with me, I wouldn’t have made such great progress. I believe that a great artist should treat his or her art works with seriousness.
I love bright colors. When I started studying drawing at five years old, the first object I drew was an apple, and then different kinds of fruits, such as strawberries, bananas and pineapples. When I look at fresh fruit, I cannot help but feel excited and energized. I believe that a lot of my artistic inspiration comes from the colors of fruits. I still have a very special emotion towards those bright and energetic colors. When I behold a fruit salad—lemon yellow, strawberry red, cabbage green, watermelon pink and grape purple—I feel how wonderful this world is and love my life more. Warm colors inspire a positive attitude.
I intend to bring sunshine to my audience through my paintings. I believe that my pieces can appease pain, and I think an artist should bring happiness, energy and encouragement to society.