Kristen Liu’s Art

August 5, 2016 2016年8月5日

Born and raised in San Francisco by her grandmother and art teacher mother, Kristen Liu-Wong spent her childhood inside museums or at school with her mum who was finishing a degree in textiles. She looked up to artists in high school who had either begun as illustrators or street artists, influencing her choice to study illustration at Pratt Institute, New York. “It seemed to be a little fresher than the fine art world of Chelsea which is why I didn’t go into painting,” she says.

土生土长于美国洛杉矶,由祖母和身为艺术老师的妈妈一手带大,Kristen Liu-Wong的童年不是就浸润在博物馆里,就是跟着当时进行面料设计深造的妈妈待在学校里。她高中的启蒙艺术偶像不是插画家就是街头艺术家,所以在纽约普拉特学院她选择了插画作为专业。“那似乎比切尔西式的纯美术更有意思一点,所以我也没有学油画。”

Now based in L.A., her bold artwork explores themes of sexuality, power and violence through her personal portrayal of Japanese folk art. In an attempt to reveal all aspects of human nature she paints bright, bizarre narratives – their playful neon colors making a mockery of the darker, grotesque subject matter.


Her unique, surrealist style combines cartoon-inspired science fiction with the eroticism of Japanese shunga prints. Although she is Chinese, “the graphic nature of Japanese shunga is just so appealing that I especially draw upon that influence”. The environments she creates are of an exaggerated aesthetic, but she feels like the actions, circumstances and characters all speak to her personal reality. The scenes are unrealistic yet focus on relatable, everyday themes such as sexuality and vulnerability. This is reminiscent of Japanese shunga, which traditionally portrays the aesthetics of everyday life despite its overzealous eroticism.


Unlike her relatively mild-mannered self, Kristen’s fantastical, fictional space-witches embody sex as well as violence. “I was tired of seeing women portrayed as flat, weak characters with nothing to offer. Women are often portrayed sexually but by men for men – I wanted to show a woman’s perspective of our sexuality”. Their often threatening manner, blemished skin and black eyes offer something visually upsetting to offset their sexuality.


She knows pretty early on in the creative process how each piece will look by quickly sketching a thumbnail of the main figures and general composition. This then translates into a final drawing, which is transferred onto a panel for the painting; the specific colors and patterns are chosen as she goes along. “The artist Jan Yager once said something that really resounded with me: ‘I decided I had to do work that was authentic – of its place and of its time’, so I always try to approach my work with full commitment to try my best and not cut corners.”

她在创作每一幅作品的早期已有整体布局,知道如何通过快速勾勒出主要人物的缩略图进行主题呈现。随后,她将最后的画面放到木板上进行细化上色,具体的色彩和线条在这个实现的过程中诞生。“艺术家Jan Yager曾说过一句深得我心的话: ‘我决心创作真实的作品,无论是在空间还是在时间维度上。所以我总是全力以赴地投入我的工作,不走任何捷径。’”

She says, “I always have a new favorite piece because I believe that you’re only as good as your latest piece. I try to make each painting my new best.” An important mantra to keep motivated, she’s currently involved in a variety of exciting projects including a mural for Nous Tous gallery in Chinatown, L.A. before their opening of Everything You Own is Mine on August 6th. Her biggest upcoming show will be a two-person show in November at Ruckus Gallery Philadelphia – “that is the one that’s really going to be fun, but will also kick my ass.”

她说:“我最爱的作品总是我最新的作品,因为我相信只有最新的作品才能代表自己当下的水平。每一次的创作我都努力做到最好。”为了鞭策自己不断进步,她目前参与的项目内容涉猎广泛,有8月6号在洛杉矶中国城Nous Tous画廊的《Everything You Own is Mine》一展开幕做壁画;而11月的费城Ruckus画廊,将引来她的双人大展,“那真的很有意思,同时也绝对是自我挑战与突破呀。” 
Instagram: @kliuwong


Contributor: Ruby Weatherall



供稿人: Ruby Weatherall