We had the good fortune of connecting with Xiao Wang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Xiao, would love to get a better understanding of the role tech plays in your industry?
As a studio-based artist, conventional networking usually means attending art openings, emailing communicating and studio visits. But in recent years, tech has been playing a bigger role. I am receiving more and more benefits from maintaining active and good quality social media accounts and a professional website. For example, just a few years ago, my Instagram account was for private purposes only, I mostly posted random photos from everyday life. It was good enough for keeping in touch with close friends, but it was doing nothing for promoting my work. That changed when I decided to invest in a new account just for my art, I learned to post more professionally and frequently, tag others, adding hashtags and being more responsive. The result has been amazing, I started receiving commissions and collaboration opportunities, sold more works in the recent 2 years than I did in the past 6 years before. I even received exhibition offers from galleries. These are things I couldn’t imagine before I started taking the tech aspect of art career seriously.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
First, a little bit about my art: I am a figurative oil painter working with dramatic colors and thin glazes to render realistic figures and landscapes. My work reimagines the tradition of romanticism that established the dynamic between landscape and ego. Within this dynamic, imageries of nature have served as emotional, spiritual, and political utilities and expressions. In my paintings, the idea of the ego in the landscape is removed from the center of the expression. I paint vegetation with a sublime and supernatural quality by distorting its form and color, depicting plants as uncanny and threatening beings. Simultaneously, I portray human figures with feelings of confusion and resignation, putting them at the mercy of the landscape. I reference visual and conceptual elements from The Symbolist Movement and its legacy in order to create unsettling imageries and narratives. Inspired by the sense of feeling lost and uncertain that the Symbolists explored in the context of the Industrial Revolution, I want my paintings to speak to contemporary anxieties in the face of environmental crisis and moral uncertainty. I am a Chinese artist currently working in Brooklyn, NY. I moved here after living in San Francisco for 7 years in order to pursue an art career, it was difficult for me to move on from the art community that I was part of for so long to a new one that is full of competition and challenges, and I am still getting to know the city now. To me, getting out of the comfort zone is probably the most important thing I have learned until this point. That means applying for unfamiliar opportunities, actively bringing other people to see my work, talking to strangers, going to new galleries, etc. As an introvert, those things are not easy for me to do, but I didn’t realize many of my potentials until I tried them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If it is an artist friend, probably art museums and galleries first, Especially the openings, they are really fun There are a couple of nice spots in my own neighborhood (Park slope) for drinks – Sidecar, Freddy’s, Sea Witch. I really hope they survive the pandemic
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Kathy Sirico – Artist Cecilia Chia – Founder and Gallery director at Glassrice (San Francisco) Sai Li – Tatoo artist