We had the good fortune of connecting with Peng Zhou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peng, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
I left my hometown and went to another country I never lived before to breakthrough myself at the age of 34.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I had done the painting for about ten years. I keen on being an oil painter. Then, I’ve taken the photo (commercial photography for agencies) for fifteen years, at the same time, I’ve kept make photo art until I went to the States and shifted myself to an artist gradually. That’s my story so far, not too fancy but interesting. Now I’m doing art photography and Mixed-media. My artistic works started with ancient philosophies, and sought the source of commonalities from the multiply civilizations based on multiculturalism, and integrated my own experiences. I create a unique individual style between abstract and semi-abstract. I won’t say being an artist is an easy thing. Generally speaking, at the beginning of the artist’s career, being an artist just like being a craftsman. Then, things become harder and complex. I have got endless doubts, questions, and answers. But in the end, they change. They always change because I keep the change – that’s the challenge. In the past, I devote myself to find an answer I throw it out through my photo series, but I turned in the opposite direction right now. I’m trying to let the answers find me though, in other words, I accept all the answers that I thought its right or wrong in the past. To present artworks always important and necessary, part of my art concepts came from ancient philosophies, which makes it a bit of trouble to convey my messages to the others. I believe the curators, gallerists do much better than me. I want more and more people to see my art, understand my concepts and my unique aesthetic style.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA, NYC, Shanghai, Tokyo… I love these cities so much, but to explore those kinds of megacity a week is too short. If a week, I say Semporna. A tiny town on the island of Borneo, in the Malaysian state of Sabah. It is a paradise, not only for diving but also to enjoy the time without the mobile phone and the internet. I like the seascape, I can sit over the beach and stare at the skyline and glitter, listen to the waves for a long time. You can find local food (seafood is wonderful) on the booths in the street. There are about 13 diving points out of the town, the club people bring you to the point (a little island) in the early morning and pick you up around 3 PM by a speedboat. Make sure you gather with your companies on time in the afternoon unless you plan to enjoy the night without any light, signal, food, freshwater but the amazing night view on that island:)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m very pleased to recommend an excellent artist residency. I just finished my three months of residency project over there. I can tell that the experiences prompt many new ideas on my art and refresher my minds lots through the conversation, events, visiting other artist’s studios. They all make different art forms than me. The residency belongs to Swatch Group and is located in Shanghai, China. It is called the Swatch Art Peace Hotel. They open call internationally and offer the candidates live and work for three to six months at their space. (not during this epidemic period). I still remember my mentorship Michael O’Brien (SCAD) guided me to learn how to understand and develop a photograph series at the beginning of my art creations. Then, I started to do some research. I’d like to say these three well-established artists, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Zao Wou-ki, Cai Guo-Qiang, are my most concerned.