Skin & Detail

March 1, 2016 2016年3月1日

Zhang Shujian is a young Chinese painter from Hunan province. His photorealistic paintings pore over the details and imperfections of the human face. The tactile feel of his work is created by applying many thin strokes, and a rather elaborate multilayering process involving paint and varnish. Shujian’s approach distorts and contorts the human form into abstractions. We spoke to him recently about his inspirations and work process.


Neocha: How did you start as an artist? Did you always draw?  How did you develop yourself in pencil, then eventually in painting?

Zhang Shujian: I started feeling like I was becoming an artist after I began working with a gallery. Of course I don’t mean that you have to be represented by a gallery to be an artist; the artwork is the most important part. I have always drawn and never pursued any other mediums – others just didn’t feel as natural. In art school, I studied pencil drawing and oil painting at the same time so there was never a progression from one to the other.

Neocha: 你是如何开始成为一个艺术家的?你一直都画吗?你是如何开始从用铅笔进行创作,后来发展到画油画的?

张书笺: 觉得和画廊合作后自己才是真的慢慢成为一名艺术家的,当然一名艺术家的状态是最主要的,不是说没画廊合作就一定不是艺术家。我是一直都画画,并没有去做其他的艺术形式,感觉不顺手。用铅笔和用油画都是美院的课程,都是同时进行的,并没有说一定有一个从铅笔到油画的时间过程。

Neocha: Do you use references, models, or people from real life? Who are the figures and faces that inspire your work?

Zhang Shujian: I use images that I find online or use my personal photography as references. There are no specific types of faces that inspire me.

Neocha: 你会用参考,模特,或者你身边的真人吗?什么样的脸和面孔会激发你的创作?

张书笺: 会参考啊,网上的图,自己拍的图,都在用。好像没什么特定的脸会激发灵感,什么样的都有。

Neocha: Who or what were your biggest inspirations when you started? What kind of things or ideas influence you?

Zhang Shujian: I am inspired by the behavior of people around me. The way they move and the things they say are my biggest inspirations. Besides that, critiques on social issues that I see online also have an influence over my work.

Neocha: 当你开始的时候,谁或者什么是你最大的灵感来源?什么样的事或思想会影响你?

张书笺: 身边人的状态、言行就是最大的灵感,包括在网上看到的针对社会时事的评论,都会对我有些作用。

Neocha: Your work is so textured and realistic, yet often distorted. What is your work process like? How do you render such delicate skin tones and hair? How long does it take?

Zhang Shujian: When I see an image that I like, I will first start sketching, then begin reworking it. Once I settle on something, I will then transfer it to a larger frame. When I’m working in a large frame, I slowly make my revisions. It’s a very traditional work process. Afterwards, I’ll start to paint the texture of the skin very clumsily, as if I’m weaving. Then I add multiple washes of color, layer after layer. For the hair, I go find the thinnest nylon brush in the art supply store and draw each strand one by one. On average, I finish one painting per month.

Neocha: 你的作品很有纹理也很现实主义,又非常扭曲。通常你的工作流程是如何的?你如何呈现细微的肤质及发丝?这会耗费你多久时间?

张书笺: 看到喜欢的图片就开始画草稿,做些改动,定稿就上大画框了,不过在画框上画的时候会慢慢的再做一些改动,很传统的流程。然后非常蠢的一点一点的画皮肤的质感,像编织一样,然后一遍一遍的染,染了再画,来来回回好多遍。头发就找画材店里最细的那种尼龙勾线笔一根一根勾。平均一个月一张吧。

Neocha: What are you currently working on and what are you looking forward to in the future?

Zhang Shujian: Everyday I draw, go online, and read books. I like being a recluse at home. I don’t have any expectations. I am mostly looking forward to continuing to paint without restraint.

Neocha: 你目前在忙什么,对未来有何期待?

张书笺: 就是每天画画,上网,看看书,很宅的。没什么特别的期待,能够没拘束的画下去就是最大的期待了。


Contributor: Jia Li



供稿人: Jia Li

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