There have always been strong undeniable connections between politics and art, especially in those moments in history when politics becomes the center of public interests. By being extremely sensitive to all kinds of changes, artists transform the anxiety and tension in society into poignant and meditative art works. Prof. Anita Yan Wong (international artist, educator and thinker), answers our 10 question interview with reflections on her artistic drive, and an artistic life well-lived.
There have always been strong undeniable connections between politics and art, especially in those moments in history when politics becomes the center of public interests. By being extremely sensitive to all kinds of changes, artists transform the anxiety and tension in society into poignant and meditative art works. The impact of shared public emotions is definitely discernible in moments such as these, moments of high tension and anxiety, such as the American public is experiencing in anticipation of their presidential elections, taking place on November 8, 2016. Prof. Anita Yan Wong (international artist, educator and thinker), answers our 10 question interview with reflections on her artistic drive, and an artistic life well-lived.
When and how did you know that you wanted to become an artist?
I knew I wanted to become an artist from a very young age, when I was around 5 years old. My mum encouraged me to become an artist when she found me drawing stick figures and folding origami, while other children were playing outside in the playground. I started learning Guo hua (Chinese painting) from a Master - 辛鵬九 – a world-renowned Lingnan style master and one of the first pupils of Chao Shao An. I decided I wanted to be an artist at the age of 6 with the encouragement of my mum and my mentor, Guo hua master 辛鵬九.
How would you describe your art?
I would describe my art as a reflection of me, a mirror for my soul. We often judge a person by how they look. In a world filled with eye candies, I want people to see deeper, through my art, into my soul, my thinking and who I really am. My art often contains questions; it is a medium for me to communicate with the viewers.
Is it hard to be an artist?
It is very hard to be an artist as a career, but the most fulfilling thing to do in life for me is to create art. I don't force myself to be an artist and I don't force myself to create art, it just comes naturally. Each day I wake up and I am glad I am an artist. Dali said to himself every morning: “Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy —the joy of being Salvador Dalí— and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today?”
What is your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement so far is receiving the “teaching excellence honor” as an art professor, and hearing my students’ cheers for me. I love teaching art and inspiring the young artists’ minds - they are our future, and I am proud of being an artist and an art professor because of them.
Which contemporary artists do you follow?
My current research interests are Louise Bourgeois, Claude Monet, and Picasso. I don't have a particular artist or a particular art period that I follow because I want to be influenced by many great artists. I try to follow both Western and Eastern art, both traditional and modern. I try to get my inspirations online and offline. By reading online art magazines, blogs and websites. Online materials are very inspiring to me, as the World Wide Web has brought us closer, brought cultures closer and brought different style of art closer. I also find it very important as an artist to network, going to local galleries, shows and museums.
What do you do when you are not happy with the result?
I'm never completely happy with the result because, as artists, we seek perfection. I take a break when I don't see the results I want - a complete break for my hands, without creating any art, physically. Instead, I just think: I think and work on the art piece in my mind. I guess one is always working as an artist, either with your hands or your mind.
Do you need to explain your art?
I only explain a little part of the piece (a hint) because I feel that visual communication is stronger than verbal communication. I like seeing what the viewers see. I like to see viewer’s questions. I like to raise the question and keep the answers open to the viewers to answer.
Do you want to try something else in the future?
Yes, I do. I always want to try something else. Many people told me I need to keep working on one project and keep a strong personal style, but I find myself to be too much of a thinker to be contained in one style. I want to work like Picasso, trying many different styles in life. I don't really care how people think of me and what style I represent now. There is too much to do and too little time. Each day I wake up and I want to do something greater.
What are you afraid of?
I am afraid of not being able to create art one day. I see creating art as a luxury, something I love and enjoy. I am afraid of not having enough time to create all the things I want to create in life. Life is short and there is so much beauty contained in it. I love what I do and I love living because of being an artist.
What is your ultimate dream?
My ultimate dream is to develop unique styles of Guo hua and modern arts that speaks to both Eastern and Western viewers. I am amazed by the beauty in both Eastern and Western arts, but find it very challenging to combine them. I don't want to force or rush into a style because of some trend. I want to create something that I'm happy with, and to keep doing what I love to do. I do think that my ultimate dream will change as I change, and as my art ages and matures.
Hillary. Copyright and courtesy Anita Yan Wong
Trump. Copyright and courtesy Anita Yan Wong
Red Wave. Copyright and courtesy Anita Yan Wong
The young Pablo. Copyright and courtesy Anita Yan Wong
A gathering of the famous. Copyright and courtesy Anita Yan Wong
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