For this article in the international artist series, we turn to China, featuring seven artists who create fantastic work, from illustration to graphic design and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Caver Zhang / 乌猫
Caver is an illustrator based in Jinan whose work tells beautiful little stories with each and every image. You can check out more of his work in his portfolio or in the small selection of pieces below.
Happy Chinese New Year
"I was born in a small city in Shandong Province. When I was a child, I liked to observe things around me. I drew the things I saw.
We Are Brother
"China is an interesting place with interesting scenery and an interesting culture. There are a group of people like me who love to paint. I hope my work can become a small window to let you see some things I see."
Baird is a graphic and UI designer from Beijing. Baird's work is fantastically vibrant and polished. You can check out more of it below or in Baird's portfolio!
Farm Type Game UI Design
"While the Chinese gaming industry is still relatively new, companies have design skill and original ideas that are unusual. Most companies do projects that work according to the advice of gaming platforms and channels they're made for. There's no innovation in copying games, but doing new art a game can go online and make money.
"At present in China, copyright consciousness is weak and plagiarism can be found everywhere. If a game makes money, there will be many copycat projects. Each platform is inundated with similarly styled games with small differences in art and style. They call it a 'change-surface' project.
"I used to have similar ideas like I said above. I realized I should have more original work and design. Nowadays some large game companies are protecting their intellectual property or some companies are beginning to design original games. Because of this, I feel that the Chinese game industry will be better and better."
China Style UI Design
"I've loved painting since I was a child. My education was influenced by western style; especially the former Soviet Union. My Chinese-style design combines western and modern elements to make it more fashionable.
"I have not added many Chinese patterns or decorations to this UI design. Instead, a decoration on a button gives people and idea of the game's theme and still fits with modern design sense.
Spring Festival Greeting Cards
"The Year of the Monkey card was painted before the festival in 2016. Sun Wukong is the most typical representative monkey in Chinese culture, so I combined his design with something modern and came up with the wicked, angry Monkey King and upset [longevity] peaches."
Alice is a freelance illustrator and painter from Beijing. Her work is often surreal and filled with elements of nature. Check out a small sample of her paintings below or visit her portfolio for more fantastic pieces.
"My country's society and social media has been very supportive. I get a lot of motivation from it to continue creating my art.
You and Me
"My paintings use traditional techniques and media of Chinese painting. I think this is the best answer about how Chinese culture has influenced me. Chinese culture flows in my blood.
"As you know, China has a long history which has given my artistic eyes to see the world around me right now, in 2016: how I'm living, what I'm seeing, and what I'm thinking. Art can help me reveal all of this to others."
Jun / 君
Jun is an illustrator based in Beijing. Her work is vibrant and ever so happy. Check out fanciful pieces by Jun below, or visit her portfolio for more beautiful illustrations.
Year of the Monkey
"My country has influenced my work in many ways. China has a very long history and it is composed of different elements. As I grew up and studied in such an environment, my way of thinking and my way of creating things are deeply influenced by the country.
My Best Friend Got Married
"I learned the way to express my feeling from my country's culture and it reflects in my work directly. I've been trying to put some Chinese elements in my work, but in order to make it become more acceptable worldwide, I'm trying to combine both Chinese and western elements in it."
My Best Friend
Dou Ge / 豆哥
Dou Ge is an artist from Hubei Province, Huangshi City, whose artwork is expressive and masterful. You can check out more of it in his portfolio or in the small selection of pieces below.
"Huangshi is a city of many lakes; the mountains and waters exert a strong emotional influence over those who live there. My work is gently permeated by that same influence."
Nod Young is a creative director and artist from Beijing, China. His work is largely playful and vibrant, combining shapes and gradients in unexpected ways to form fantastic pieces of design. You can check out more of it in his portfolio or in the small selection of pieces below.
Emoji - Le Dudes
"As a natural-born Chinese man, it is nearly impossible to not have been influenced by China. Meanwhile, I have been to many countries in my youth to get in touch with exotic culture. The thing we so called ‘influence’ is a combined outcome.
Back to the Future
"In the past, China's industry and economic development has been a step behind other developed countries; this includes the design industry. As a result, China has a culture of copycat work studied from western culture. Shan Zai, aka copycat is a result of this Chinese imitation culture, a culture of which I am descended.
DKNY: Lost in Metropolis
"If you have a deep understanding of Chinese art, you'll see there is no artwork related to the reality of China. Because Chinese people critique reality, they prefer to create made-up ideas than facing what's real. Chinese people named it Nei Han or "inner depth'. I followed Nei Han to discipline myself, achieving self-actualization in a limited space.
"Of course, there is a lot of Nei Han art in other countries too, but this concept is not making a judgement of standards; just appreciating them. Normally people here praise someone as 'You are so Nei Han'".
Zha Miao ZS / 渣喵壮士
The work of Zha Miao Zhuang Shi is often character-driven and captures a naive style to tell fanciful stories with each image. You can check out more in her portfolio or in the selection of pieces below.
"My work is influenced by traditional Chinese painting and life in my country. I think any creation is dependent on the traditional culture of an artist's own country. The personality and experiences of an individual are also important for an illustrator.
千里眼与顺风耳clairvoyance and clairaudience
"Chinese classical literature gives me a lot of inspiration too. Ancient China's people had rich imaginations, such as a Chinese bestiary."
Many thanks to the artists above who took time out of their schedules to answer my questions and share their ideas with the world. You can follow more of their work in the links below!
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