Artists  •  Artists

Interview with Jia Yuanhua

Can you tell us a bit about you?

Hi, my name is JiaYuanhua, an artist from China. Before being an artist, I worked as computer specialist for nearly 10 years, like programmer, web design, flash design, etc. So if you look at my artworks, you may find some characters that may have some relationships with my career as computer specialist, strict, exact, etc. Yes, that is my style. Because I love the traditional culture and history, so to show the best of these, I try to make it more elegant and exquisite.

Why take form of lines of main subject in your artwork ?

Quiet, 2015,Oil on Canvas,60×80 cm

That is a good question. Before take form of lines, I also paint in normal way, use paint brush. And I tried many different materials besides oil, like watercolor, acrylic, ink, etc.

You know, I focused on the historical sites, especially the old buildings. Not only because they are very beautiful, elegant and exquisite. Many of them has hundreds of years of history. Another important reason is they are the carrier of traditional culture. So each of them is unique. In my opinion, they are the treasure of our nation. Unfortunately, most of these old buildings now vanished very quickly in the past 50 years, like the plum blossom, following down to the ground, little left…

That is very sad scene, because you see the beautiful things gone, replaced by new ones, or forgotten. And the new generations do not have chance to see it and inherit. It is difficult for the old people to describe to the new generation how beautiful they were, and it is also hard for the new generation to imagine.

I am fascinated by the very old buildings. To record their history, I also take photographs for many years, even for the same gate, I will take different photos in different season. I remember, there was a beautiful gate, the second time I came, there was nothing left except ruins, everywhere. That was in deep autumn, I saw the yellow leaves floating with wind… it is hard for me to describe my feelings, really sad inside.

So I choose knife carving on the surface of oil, like craftsman, meticulously and carefully, to show the beauty and memory of old buildings. You may not have chance to see the real sites, but from the outlines in my mind, you may imagine its beauty, unique and charming.

What do you want to express from your work ?

Prohibit Ship, 2016, Oil on Canvas,50×60 cm

Two points. First, I hope people who see my works, can enjoy the elegant beauty those old historical sites bring to us. Secondly, I wish they can see the cruel reality we have to face. We must try our best to protect those old buildings from vanishing or destroyed by human beings. Otherwise, the new generation can only see them from the history books or videos. Hope that never happens.

How long does it take for line style artwork ?

Because I work on the wet oil surface, so the time for carving is limited by the temperature and humidity. The size and color will also effect the time for carving. Example, for size 80cm x 100cm, it will take 72 to 78 hours. For blue color, the time may limited to 50 to 60 hours. Higher temperature and less humidity will compress the duration. If the oil surface dry out, there is nothing you can do but discard and restart. So bigger artwork will have higher risk of failure.

Do you paint other styles of work except lines?

Place to stand, 2016,Acrylic on Canvas,150×120 cm

Yes, I also paint some other types of work, like acrylic, markers, ink, etc. Many of these artworks focus on the conflict between human, nature, animal and our society, or conflict between traditional and modern, or reflect the real problems of real life.

Two World No.1, 2014,Acrylic on Canvas,120×90 cm

Everything in the universe, is divided into Yin and Yang, has outside and inside, so does the human being.

Sometimes, the outside and inside may looks quite different, ex. his appearance may not looks good ( like hyena in this painting), but he has beauty inside ( like giraffe ), while someone may looks quite strong, but inside, as timid as a rabbit, etc.

Great hawk spreads its wings, 2016,Acrylic on Canvas,100×100 cm

Many moves in the kung fu come from imitating the behavior of animals. In reality, for the benefit, many people follow the results of other people’s labor.

Long journey, 2015,Acrylic on Canvas,90×120 cm

On TV, to find a place to live, the chameleon have to cross the highway. Cause they move quite slowly, to so many of them dead on the way. The branch is not just a symbol of habitat, but a shape of highway full of trucks and traffic jam and dirty deal. The purpose of making this painting, is to indicate the influence of human’s activities on the environment. When human built their own world, they are also destroying the home of animals and break the delicate balance of the nature.

wait for wind, 2015,Acrylic on Canvas,90×120 cm

Facing the haze, the product of human beings, conditional people choose to stay at home, even the air inside may not be better than outside. At this moment, the only thing we can do and the only hope is to wait for the wind to come. When wind comes, the haze will disappear and there will be blue sky and white clouds.

How did you come to art, or how did art come to you?

hutong expression No 52, 2017,Silk screen printing on Paper, Cardboard,67×54 cm

My love, a kind girl who loves art and has a dream of working as an artist and has a small art studio of her own. She taught me how to paint and whatever need as an artist, and thus began my new career, to be a real artist.

We paint together, learn from each other, and share the happiness of art brought to us. At the beginning, I try to copy some famous artists’ works, and as time went on, I know, I need my own style, which should be a little different, that can reflect my personality, my own characters, my thinking, my ideas, my happiness and my concerns. You know everything easier said than done, no progress in two years. It was really hard to find my unique style until a cold winter morning, on a small bus. The window was covered with ice, I tried to erase the ice to see outside, Suddenly I noticed the white world on the window, full of mountains, trees, flowers, roads, and it was really beautiful, while the area my fingers crossed, began to melt. And the same time, an idea flashed through my mind, maybe I can do some sculpture on the oil canvas !

But another problem was I had no idea what to paint, until an early morning I took my camera walking through the ruins of hutong. One year before, there should be a beautiful old courtyard, but only a broken gate stood among the mass of rubble, and leaves fell to the ground with wind. My heart was deeply touched, it was not only because one hundred year old building vanished in the morden city, but many people do not know how serious it is, if nobody protects the old buildings and traditional culture, they will vanish one day from our life ! This will be the fault of our generation, to the next generation.

The next day I made a small painting, used knife carving on an oil canvas, with gray background, and make an outline of the vanished hutong, with red plum blossom which is a symbol of traditional Chinese culture, falling down to the ground. And here comes my own style, that reflects my feelings, and the serious issue that I want to tell all the readers via my works.

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