We had the good fortune of connecting with Yang Sun and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Yang, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
When I was young, probably when I just entered elementary school, I saw some works of leonardo Da Vinci and Chagall in the school hallway. It was my first time realizing that there are things called paintings in the world. When I came home that day, I told my mom that I saw a nice paintings on the wall, and my mom told me that it was the painters who created those gorgeous scenes, and I can also become a painter in the future. Since then I began to grow interest in painting.

I am a very hard-working painter, but I’m not very sociable with others. I feel there is a lot of emotional that I want to express. I try to write journals, and try to tell my friends. But painting is the only way for me to express myself to the whole world, as there are many feelings that I can’t describe in words. I enjoy expressing my emotion in my paintings and also enjoy letting others to feel it in my paintings. Once my mom told me that she had a colleague who had never learned about painting, while after she saw my works, she was moved. She thought my paintings reminded her of the old factories in our city, the rust that nobody cared about, and the cold mornings. I think that’s the whole point for me to be an artist.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Most of my works come from my feelings about the world around me, specifically, my unease about the irregular changes in the world. This is why I also really like the Chinese poet Munk’s poem, amongst which there is one said “Fate, where will you take me? I’m preoccupied. ‘ My whole practice is about this kind of feeling, and I sometimes look for it in books, movies and documentaries that I’ve seen, to find sentences and stories that resonate with me, and turn them into paintings. I was born and grew up in a city full of industrial atmosphere, full of dilapidated factories. The way I feel and see the changes in the world may never escape out of that homeland in my heart. I think this is something unique to me, which makes me different from others.

I still want to work hard to be an artist today. I think it’s not always easy, which has the main reason in myself. I often feel I’m disappointed with painting the world, and the world is also disappointed with me. In such thinking, I was often halted to create things for a long time. But every now and then, I tried to learn accepting all of it, recognising the fact that every confusion is part of growing up, and then I continued to paint.

In my whole life as a painter, I think the most important thing I have learned is to accept myself, my mediocrity, my mistakes and my desires. Only by learning to face myself calmly, can I face art and my life calmly.

As the most genuine of the feelings I have, I want to let the world know that art is fake, painting is fake, but the emotions and connections we feel from art are real, and that’s what’s fascinating about art.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend comes to the city where I live now, the first stop of course is to take her to my home. Although my cooking is very bad, I will try my best to cook a meal for her, I know she will not be disgusted by my cooking. I will take her to my exhibition, to my studio, because my best friend is not a painter, she has never been to my studio, I will ask her to see where I work and live to reassure her that I have a good plan for my life.
We would hang out and eat in the most prosperous shops because we both love to buy cosmetics and clothes, and we would try to venture out in the city and go to abandoned factories and gardens, which I found the most interesting.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am thankful to so many people on my journey of becoming an artist, and the first is my family. My parents always support me unconditionally, respect my choses, and show me how much they love me. Before I came to the America, my parents told me that they hope I can study well, but more importantly, they want me to grow up and enjoy my life. They never ask me what I can get from doing this, but only ask me whether I enjoy it and whether I am happy about painting. This unconditional love enables me to do everything without fear and confusion, since I know that no matter what I do, my parents will love me and support me in the same way. They don’t love me for my success. They love me just for who I am.

Also, I am grateful to my professor at Massart, James Cambronne, who has been very patient with me on mega level. He was always explaining English words I didn’t understand one by one, acknowledging me on every progress I made, and continuously bringing new perspectives to my painting career.

There must be Jenny Olsen on the list, and she is my best friend in America. When I first came there, I couldn’t even understand the assignment that professor gave me. It was the first time that I’m alone in a strange country, and everyone spoke a language that I wasn’t very good at. And it was Jenny who said to me “You will be totally fine”, and kept taking care of me, until now. Before I went back to China, she invited me to her home, hold me and cried for a while. I also want to cry, but I choked back, as tears was not enough to convey my mixed feelings. Even now, she is still helping me and sending me informations about exhibition opportunities that she thinks would suit me. She made my life as a student in America full of warmth and happiness.

Wisdom of Herman Hesse supported my practice significantly. Amongst his books, the one that influenced me the most is called “Siddhartha”. It uses the way of telling the story of Siddhartha to explore the truth of life and destiny. Siddhartha is a guy who managed to get peace of mind, because he does not love things for what they may be, rather, he loves them for what they are, such as to love a tree or a stone. This idea help me to complicate my painting expression, to pay more attention to describing the emotion I want to describe, and to concentrate on the aspect of feelings I want to highlight the most.

Website: www.yangsunartworks.com

Instagram: rubyyysun

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