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the Unknown Land

I went to art school since I was 9th grade. I have probably hundreds in-class practice pieces before I even got admitted into one of the most fancy art schools in China. And then there's more. 

During my four years of study in Hangzhou, I was always more into pencil than oil. It was more accessible for me; pencil and charcoal have always felt more logical to me than colors. I found it rather comforting when I was able to show what I saw through them, while at the same time deciding what people can see through my work. I enjoyed this practice through my classes, but when it came to colors, I always felt a bit awkward. Now looking back, I can see the struggles. You see, I was practicing at the classic painting studio where we learn from Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Caravaggio… at the same time, our trainings were also heavily influenced by the Russians. If you are familiar with those artists, you might notice that, with all the excellent skills they have, they didn’t have the resources of modern colors. Because of that, it was a struggle for me to enjoy using blush pink, or arctic blue, or lime green, or lilac purple…the training gave me excellent logical skills, but somehow screened me from seeing the world in bright colors. And it was very awkward.

My final two years of study in Hangzhou, I finally found a sense of  how to combine those logic and color and still maintain my own voice. I was really excited for these specific paintings; I love how I address the relationship between the background and the nude skin. I felt that I’d finally found a way to tell a story instead of simply practicing a skill. I was still driven by the details, but I found myself with intentions, intentions to create an image, not just to mimic one. In my own world, that was a fundamental change. I was proud of my work and eager to learn my grade. The 87/100 I received was not good, but I don’t know if I’d change what I did. I think they were great.

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